BlogHer en 8 Great Mid-Season Shows You’ll Want to Watch <!--paging_filter--><p>It is that time of year again on television. The reign of mid-season premiers continues this spring with some surprising new shows ready to make a big splash in the entertainment world, including shows on both network channels and premium cable.</p> <p><center><img src="/files/mobile/320x320/1a0cb96073f00630124694c95dba1a70.jpg" alt="HBO's Normal Heart" class="m-optimized" /><br /><em>Normal Heart via HBO</em></center></p> <p>Here is a run down of great new shows popping up in the final weeks of April and the beginning of May 2014.</p> <p> <h2>April 22: <em>Faking It </em>(MTV)</h2> </p> <p><center><iframe src="" width="512" height="288" frameborder="0"></iframe></center></p> <div style="margin:0px;padding:4px;width:500px;text-align:center;font-family:Verdana,sans-serif;font-size:12px;"><a href="" style="color:#439CD8;" target="_blank" class="external-link">MTV Shows</a></div> <p></p>A bizarre high school “romance” is formed when two best friends are mistaken for lesbians and become school celebrities. The MTV comedy starts Katie Stevens and Rita Volk as besties who decide to keep the act going in order to enjoy their growing popularity. <p> <center></center></p> <h2> <u><a href=",1">NEXT SHOW</a></u> --&gt;</h2> <p><br /> </p> <!--pagebreak--><!--pagebreak--><h2>April 24: <em>Bad Teacher </em>(CBS) and <em>Black Box </em></h2> <p>(ABC)</p> <p><center><iframe width="560" height="315" src="//" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></center></p> <p>A TV show version of the 2011 flick, <em>Bad Teacher </em>centers on Meredith Davis an attractive but unqualified high school teacher and gold digger who is on the prowl for a new husband. The hilarious sitcom features Ari Graynor reprising the film role of Cameron Diaz.</p> <p><center><iframe width="500" height="281" src="//" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></center></p> <p>Premiering on ABC the same night, <em>Black Box </em>is a television drama about world famous neurologist Dr. Catherine Black who studies the human brain, also known as the “black box.” But as Dr. Black diagnoses and treats her patients, she is concealing the fact that she suffers from bipolar disorder. Dr. Black is played by Kelly Reilly.</p> <p> <center></center></p> <h2> <u><a href=",2">NEXT SHOW</a></u> --&gt;</h2> <p><br /> </p> <!--pagebreak--><!--pagebreak--><h2>April 29: <em>Playing House </em>(USA)</h2> <p><center><iframe width="500" height="281" src="//" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></center></p> <p>A <a target="_blank" href="" class="external-link elf-add-back-link">new comedy</a>, <em>Playing House </em>tells the adventures of two childhood best friends played by Lennon Parham and Jessica St. Clair, real life friends, who reconnect later in life. Mom-to-be Maggie is facing the end of her marriage when Emma, a career-driven counterpart, drops everything to move back to their home town and help raise Maggie’s new baby.</p> <p> <center></center></p> <h2> <u><a href=",3">NEXT SHOW</a></u> --&gt;</h2> <p><br /> </p> <!--pagebreak--><!--pagebreak--><p></p> <h2>May 5: <em>Live Another Day </em> (Fox)</h2> <p><center><iframe width="500" height="281" src="//" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></center></p> <p>Jack Bauer and the characters of <em>24 </em>are back in a 12-hour series event. Kiefer Sutherland, Mary Lynn Rajskub and <a target="_blank" href="" class="external-link elf-add-back-link">co-stars reunite</a> for a continuation of the popular thriller this time set in London four years after the events of the Season 8 finale. Hunted by a new CIA agent, Jack is on the run.</p> <p> <center></center></p> <h2> <u><a href=",4">NEXT SHOW</a></u> --&gt;</h2> <p><br /> </p> <!--pagebreak--><!--pagebreak--><h2>May 11: <em>Penny Dreadful</em>&nbsp; (Showtime)</h2> <p><center><iframe width="500" height="281" src="//" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></center></p> <p> </p><p>An 8 episode series, this psychological thriller brings well known horrors like Dr. Frankenstein, Dorian Gray and Dracula to life. Victorian London makes the backdrop for this scary series that incorporates both classic villains and new adult drama.</p> <p> <center></center></p> <h2> <u><a href=",5">NEXT SHOW</a></u> --&gt;</h2> <p><br /> </p> <!--pagebreak--><!--pagebreak--><h2>May 22: <em>Labyrinth </em> (CW)</h2> <p><center><iframe width="500" height="281" src="//" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></center></p> <p>Premiering on the CW, this little miniseries will cross between modern day and medieval France following the intertwined lives of two women. Though living centuries apart, both are on a quest for the Holy Grail.</p> <p> <center></center></p> <h2> <u><a href=",6">NEXT SHOW</a></u> --&gt;</h2> <p><br /> </p> <!--pagebreak--><!--pagebreak--><h2>May 25: <em>The Normal Heart</em> (HBO)</h2> <p><center><iframe width="500" height="281" src="//" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></center></p> <p>In a start-studded adaptation of the Tony Award-winning play, <em>The Normal Heart </em>is an HBO film which depicts Mark Ruffalo as a gay man in the 1980s leading the charge against the HIV-AIDS crisis in New York City. The drama also stars Matt Bomer, Taylor Kitsch, Jim Parsons and Julia Roberts.</p> <p>Whether you’re tuning in from <a target="_blank" href="" class="external-link elf-add-back-link">Fort Carson, CO</a> or Jupiter, FL, there are plenty of intriguing new shows to capture everyone’s attention.</p> <div class="og_rss_groups"></div> Movies & Television Pop Culture Entertainment #Movies&Television new shows spring 2014 TV Wed, 23 Apr 2014 15:14:53 +0000 JessicaSocheski 1591332 at My Son Interviewed Michelle Obama and Yes, She Was All That And A Bag of Chips <!--paging_filter--><p><em>Yesterday, my son was part of a gaggle of reporters&mdash;seven children between the ages of six and 12&mdash;who had the amazing opportunity to interview Michelle Obama in the White House. The special event was just one part of the 136th annual Easter Egg Roll on the White House lawn. Outside, it was all bright, colorful chaos&mdash;but inside, the kid reporters waiting for the First Lady were laser-focused, going over the questions they'd prepared in advance … and taking in the centuries of history displayed on the walls around them. </em></p> <p><em>In theory, my 10-year-old son, Zack, should be writing this piece. And&mdash;don't judge--he </em>will<em> write part of this piece. But part of the story is that we almost didn't even get there...</em></p> <p>"No WAY am I doing that!!" cried my son when I first told him the incredible news that we were going to Washington, D.C. to interview the First Lady. I was completely taken aback. My son is a total people person, very outgoing, highly verbal, irrepressible, even. He has also always taken an interest in what I do for a living, as a journalist, author and editor, sometimes going so far as to say that he wants to be a writer when he grows up. </p> <p>"I do NOT talk to powerful people!" he exhorted, when I asked him why he didn't want to do it. And then he burst into tears, saying, "I would rather go to school every day during the entire summer than do that, Mom!" </p> <p>Wow. And, oh boy. </p> <p>We spent some time talking about it. Then we spent some time not talking about it. And in the end, mom (that would be me) prevailed, gently stating, "There are times when parents need to make their children do things, and this is one of them. It is too special of an opportunity. We can prepare together, and talk through everything that will happen, and you will see: The First Lady is going to be so friendly and nice, and you will be glad you did it."</p> <p>And, of course, that is exactly what happened. With a little stress and anxiety thrown in, in stops and starts, of course. But the event was just amazing. </p> <p><center><img src="/files/mobile/320x320/d756773731ee8754265d504e2f54647a.jpg" alt="Zack at the White House" class="m-optimized" /><em>Zack at the White House.</em></center></p> <p>No need to take my word for it, because here are Zack's: </p> <blockquote><p>As soon as I walked into the White House, I was amazed at the place. We saw a couple different rooms, all filled with historical objects. One of them was the First Ladies' Parlor, filled with paintings of many of the First Ladies through history. In the room where we were waiting for the First Lady, there was even a sword that had been presented to George Washington! But when I saw Michelle come into the room, I was even more amazed. She's a very nice lady and she made me feel right at home. She just acted so nice. I felt almost as comfortable with her as I would with my best friend. </p> <p>When she walked into the room, she told us all to go ahead sit down on the floor. "Let's get comfortable," she said. I had to wait a while before I could ask my question, because all the other kids were asking questions rapid-fire. My favorite question was, "Do you think you will run for President after President Obama's term?" She said, "I'd certainly like to see a woman president, but no, that's not for me. I think I will continue by being of service, continuing the work that Barack and I have started to help all children." </p> <p><center><img src="/files/mobile/320x320/f0ee45d4937ebd311b1514ba192e0732.jpg" alt="First Lady Michelle Obama participates in a Kid Reporter gaggle in the White House Library during the annual Easter Egg Roll on the South Lawn of the White House, April 21, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Lawrence Jackson)" class="m-optimized" /><em>First Lady Michelle Obama participates in a Kid Reporter gaggle in the White House Library during the annual Easter Egg Roll on the South Lawn of the White House, April 21, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Lawrence Jackson.)</em></center></p> <p>Next she talked a lot about "Let's Move," her project to get the next generation healthier and more fit. One tip that stood out was to eat a mostly healthy diet, but to splurge on a treat every now and then. Her favorite splurge? French fries. I agree with her, in that French fries are most probably the best fast food.</p> <p>We were at the White House for the Easter Egg Roll, and I could hear the sounds of the crowds outside the library, which led to my question: "How many people are coming to the Easter celebrations this year?" She said, "In total, about 30,000. They come in shifts all day." </p> <p>Then we all stood up and took pictures with the First Lady, and I got to stand right next to her. I felt totally comfortable. I remembered why I had been scared, but just barely.</p> <p>Then we left the White House and walked through the grounds for the Egg Roll. When we exited the grounds, I got two packages of Peeps. Free Peeps! Or, as I called them: Freeps!! Since it had been a year since I had Peeps, I thought it was a good splurge for the day. They were delicious! </p> <p><center><img src="/files/mobile/320x320/b105988e243588ecfa3d75f43674e8a3.jpg" alt="Freeps" class="m-optimized" /><em>Freeps!</em></center></p> <p>Back to you, mom!</p> </blockquote> <p>The kids, they have a way with words, don't they? And a way with being honest and open: Whether it's "No WAY I am doing that!" Or "French Fries are probably the best fast food." And First Lady Michelle Obama has a magical way with being open as well. Even though it wasn't my interview yesterday, as a spectator I could see how clear and heartfelt her dedication to helping understand how America's children struggle is, and to then find solutions. </p> <p>As for Zack, he got a bit more amazed about what had just happened as the day went on. By the time we were on the train home to New York City, he was chattering on about getting to speak with the First Lady at a volume intended to be juuuuuuuust loud enough for our seat mates to overhear. And he started making plans for what he would tell his classmates in a school assembly on Friday, prattling on both as if it were the most normal thing in the world, and the most <i>amazing</i>. Which is exactly what it was. </p> <div class="og_rss_groups"></div> Family News & Politics michelle obama Wed, 23 Apr 2014 13:14:52 +0000 Stacy Morrison 1592224 at Mommy's Daily Scorecard: 5 Key Performance Indicators I Suck At <!--paging_filter--><p>If you've spent any time in corporate America, you may have heard the buzz word Key Performance Indicator or KPI, which is a fancy way for statistical types to measure the overall success of an organization. Fun stuff right? Today I am identifying KPIs that are most important in evaluating my performance as Mommy. I believe this will give me better insight into the performance initiatives that will help me improve. (Insert sarcasm here.)</p> <p><center><a target="_blank" href="" class="external-link elf-add-back-link"><img src="/files/mobile/320x320/64ed64f3d37e40e8c0f147e837826be3.jpg" title="Mommy's Daily Scorecard: 5 Key Performance Indicators I Suck At" alt="Mommy's Daily Scorecard: 5 Key Performance Indicators I Suck At" class="m-optimized" /></a></center></p> <p>KPIs are often presented to management in the form of a balanced scorecard, a structured report that managers can use to bore themselves into an under-the-desk nap a la George Costanza, or evaluate how the organization is performing with regard to strategic objectives. It is important that this report have many shapes, graphs, and colors. Repeated use of donut charts to view organizational metrics is totes responsible for the growth of most billion dollar companies. Totes. Just ask</p> <p>Lets look at a few of my Key Performance Indicators, the boards recommendations, and my responses.</p> <p><center><br /> <h2><u><a href=",1">NEXT: {MONEY TALKS}</a></u> --></h2> <p></p></center></p> <!--pagebreak--><!--pagebreak--><p> <h2>FINANCIALS</h2> </p> <p><center><a target="_blank" href="" class="external-link elf-add-back-link"><img src="/files/mobile/320x320/c6562c49cd403ea628693f63fbdb8957.jpg" title="Mommy's Daily Scorecard: 5 Key Performance Indicators I Suck At" alt="Mommy's Daily Scorecard: 5 Key Performance Indicators I Suck At" class="m-optimized" /></a></center></p> <p><strong>Recommendations</strong>: Focus on increasing blog monetization as it has the most potential for future income.</p> <p><strong>Mommy Commentary</strong>: Have you read my blog? Apparently not.</p> <p><center><a target="_blank" href="" class="external-link elf-add-back-link"><img src="/files/mobile/320x320/7f860c311ea4cb88c524c92fff9d2dd6.jpg" title="Mommy's Daily Scorecard: 5 Key Performance Indicators I Suck At" alt="Mommy's Daily Scorecard: 5 Key Performance Indicators I Suck At" class="m-optimized" /></a></center></p> <p><strong>Recommendations</strong>: Just because you get the 30% off Kohl's coupon AND Kohl's cash doesn't mean you HAVE to use them.</p> <p><strong>Mommy Commentary</strong>: Ummm...yes it does. Have you even done the math? It is like they are paying me to take stuff.</p> <p><center><br /> <h2><u><a href=",2">NEXT: {ARE THEY HAPPY?}</a></u> --></h2> <p></p></center></p> <!--pagebreak--><!--pagebreak--><p> <h2>CUSTOMER SATISFACTION</h2> </p> <p>Customer Satisfaction Facial Index</p> <p><center><a target="_blank" href="" class="external-link elf-add-back-link"><img src="" title="Mommy's Daily Scorecard: 5 Key Performance Indicators I Suck At" alt="Mommy's Daily Scorecard: 5 Key Performance Indicators I Suck At" /></a></center></p> <p><center><a target="_blank" href="" class="external-link elf-add-back-link"><img src="" title="Mommy's Daily Scorecard: 5 Key Performance Indicators I Suck At" alt="Mommy's Daily Scorecard: 5 Key Performance Indicators I Suck At" /></a></center></p> <p><strong>Recommendations</strong>: Implement procedures to work toward customer facial index that reflects satisfied, content customers.</p> <p><strong>Mommy Commentary</strong>: So... more bribes and threats?</p> <p><center><br /> <h2><u><a href=",3">NEXT: {HOW EFFICIENT ARE YOU?}</a></u> --></h2> <p></p></center></p> <!--pagebreak--><!--pagebreak--><p> <h2>EFFICIENCY</h2> </p> <p><center><a target="_blank" href="" class="external-link elf-add-back-link"><img src="/files/mobile/320x320/04e9662b4adc3bd7dff0483b09ab977a.jpg" title="Mommy's Daily Scorecard: 5 Key Performance Indicators I Suck At" alt="Mommy's Daily Scorecard: 5 Key Performance Indicators I Suck At" class="m-optimized" /></a></center></p> <p><strong>Recommendations</strong>: Coffee warm ups are wasting time. Eliminate coffee.</p> <p><strong>Mommy Commentary</strong>: So what I hear you saying is 'Mimosas'?</p> <p><center><br /> <h2><u><a href=",4">NEXT: {HOW ARE YOU IMPACTING THE ENVIRONMENT?}</a></u> --></h2> <p></p></center></p> <!--pagebreak--><!--pagebreak--><p> <h2>ENVIRONMENTAL PERFORMANCE</h2> </p> <p><center><a target="_blank" href="" class="external-link elf-add-back-link"><img src="/files/mobile/320x320/472c2007b0c5d9e0ca28aa22fb338f64.jpg" title="Mommy's Daily Scorecard: 5 Key Performance Indicators I Suck At" alt="Mommy's Daily Scorecard: 5 Key Performance Indicators I Suck At" class="m-optimized" /></a></center></p> <p><strong>Recommendations</strong>: The optimum diaper change time is within five minutes of a poop or 20 minutes for a pee. Please work to meet these standards.</p> <p><strong>Mommy Commentary</strong>: So I guess when I see the toddler's poop grimace during Sprout's <em>Sunny Side Up</em> show, I should try to change him sometime BEFORE Caillou's lunchtime marathon? I'll try to step it up.</p> <p>What are your mommy KPIs?</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Cheers,<br />Susan Maccarelli<br />Blogger:&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank" title="Pecked To Death By Chickens" class="external-link">Pecked To Death By Chickens</a></p> <div class="og_rss_groups"></div> SAHMs Working Moms Family Mommy Humor mommy KPI mommy performance Wed, 23 Apr 2014 12:46:56 +0000 Pecked2DeathByChckns 1592182 at "You Have Dense Breasts": This Information May Save Your Life <!--paging_filter--><p>When I was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2010, I was told by the mammography radiologist that I had dense breasts. &nbsp;This was the first time I had ever heard this, and I'd been getting mammograms for 10 years.</p> <p>In fact, I had never heard of dense breasts before and asked him what he meant. &nbsp;He explained "Your breasts are really dense and so the mammogram isn't able to see if there are any other lumps or suspicious areas in them." &nbsp;I pressed for more information and he then explained that when breast tissue is dense, it's more fibrous instead of fatty which makes it very difficult to see anything in them, even with a mammogram.</p> <!--break--><!--break--><p><center><img src="/files/mobile/320x320/7ca55f96646fbb3bc364330917a6ecc5.jpg" alt="breast exam" class="m-optimized" /></center></p> <p><center><i>Image: <a target="_blank" href="" class="external-link elf-add-back-link">Breast Exam</a> via Shutterstock</i></center></p> <p>Over the years when I've had my annual mammogram, I've often had to have multiple films done or a complete 2nd set of films because the radiologist couldn't get a good read from the first set. &nbsp;But no one ever told me that the reason they couldn't get a good view of my breast tissue was because I had dense breasts. I always just assumed it was the typical process to have multiple sets done, or to have to go back for 2nd sets periodically.</p> <p>After the radiologist at the Imaging Center told me I had dense breasts I went online and searched for information.</p> <p>What I learned was that women with dense breasts need to be aware so that they can be even more careful about doing self exams, getting annual mammograms and asking for additional options (ultrasound or <a target="_blank" href="" class="external-link elf-add-back-link">MRI</a>) if they have any suspicious or unusual mammogram results.</p> <p> <blockquote class="tr_bq"> <ul> <li><a target="_blank" href="" class="external-link elf-add-back-link">Forty percent of women</a> have dense breast tissue</li> <li>Mammography often misses cancer in dense breasts</li> <li>Dense tissue is comprised of less fat and more fibrous and connective tissue and appears white on a mammogram</li> <li>Women with dense breasts can be <a target="_blank" href="" class="external-link elf-add-back-link">six times more likely</a> to develop breast cancer</li> </ul> </blockquote> <div></div></p> <p><b>Please note: If you do have dense breasts, it doesn't mean you have or will get breast cancer</b>.</p> <p>It simply means that because dense breasts have less fatty tissue and more non-fatty tissue, it's harder for mammograms to&nbsp;<b>detect</b>&nbsp;breast cancer in them.</p> <p><b><a target="_blank" href="" class="external-link elf-add-back-link"></a></b>&nbsp;is a wonderful resource that suggests that women with&nbsp;<a target="_blank" href="" class="external-link elf-add-back-link"><b>dense breasts&nbsp;</b></a>develop a personal screening plan with their physician, which should include: </p> <p> <blockquote class="tr_bq"> <ul> <li>Monthly breast self exams</li> <li>A yearly breast exam by your doctor</li> <li>A digital mammogram every year starting at age 40&nbsp;</li> <li>You and your doctor may also decide to include an ultrasound and <a target="_blank" href="" class="external-link elf-add-back-link">MRI</a> of the breast in your annual personal screening plan if you have any unusual or suspicious mammogram results.&nbsp;</li> </ul> </blockquote> </p><p>There are also several other sites listed below with information about breast density, several provide downloadable brochures:</p> <p> <blockquote class="tr_bq"> <ul> <li><a target="_blank" href="" class="external-link elf-add-back-link">Are You Dense</a></li> <li><a target="_blank" href="" class="external-link elf-add-back-link">Dense Breast Tissue: You Need To Know</a>&nbsp;</li> <li><a target="_blank" href="" class="external-link elf-add-back-link">Harvard Health Publications: The Breast Density-Breast Cancer Connection&nbsp;</a></li> <li><a target="_blank" href="" class="external-link elf-add-back-link">American Cancer Society Breast Density Fact Sheet&nbsp;</a></li> </ul> </blockquote> </p><p>At your next annual mammogram, please remember to ask the radiologist if you have dense breasts. <b>It's not actually mandatory that it be noted on your mammogram report in many states, so make a point to specifically ask your radiologist, because they may not tell you.</b> (No one told me until after I was diagnosed with breast cancer.)</p> <p>Information is power and the more information you have the more you can be your own advocate.</p> <p>Finally, if you do have dense breasts, according to&nbsp;<a target="_blank" href="" class="external-link elf-add-back-link"></a>&nbsp;there are several lifestyle choices you can make to keep your breast cancer risk as low as it can be:</p> <p> <blockquote class="tr_bq"> <ul> <li>Maintain a healthy weight</li> <li>Exercise regularly</li> <li>Limit your alcohol intake</li> <li>Eat nutritious food</li> <li>Don't smoke (or quit if you do smoke)</li> </ul> </blockquote> </p><p>Claudia Schmidt blogs at <a target="_blank" href="" class="external-link elf-add-back-link">My Left Breast</a></p> <p>You can also follow her on Twitter <a target="_blank" href="" class="external-link">@claudoo</a></p> <div class="og_rss_groups"></div> Wellness Health #Breast cancer #Breast cancer #Women #dense breasts Wed, 23 Apr 2014 12:06:31 +0000 Claudias122 1586404 at How Much Do Braces Really Cost? I'll Tell You. <!--paging_filter--><p>When the twins were six, we started talking about whether or not they'd need braces. It was an interesting topic for me, because I've never had them. I was excited. By the time they were nine, we knew the direction we were headed in, so I called a few orthodontists in Texas to get an idea of the process and cost. Here's what I didn't expect to find out&mdash;it's a secret. It's like Fight Club. Seriously.</p><!--break--><p>I actually said to one receptionist, "Just tell me this ... are we looking at $2,000 per kid or $10,000 per kid? Ballpark the norm for me, sister." Nothing. OB-GYNs can. Dentists can, why not ortho? They literally wouldn't tell me <em>anything</em> about the cost or process; just make an appointment for consultation. It was annoying, but I lost interest and decided to wait until we moved to Massachusetts.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a target="_blank" href="" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;" class="external-link elf-add-back-link"><img src=";container=blogger&amp;gadget=a&amp;rewriteMime=image%2F*" alt="" data-orig-src="" border="0" width="320" /></a></p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>Here we are, ready for braces again, and the ortho offices here won't talk about it, either. Obviously they don't know <em>exactly</em> what the cost or circumstances will be on a case-by-case basis, but now that we've gone through it, I know that it's entirely possible to generalize for the sake of planning. I can't tell you how many times during our consult that the assistant said, "This is the typical time frame, cost, visit frequency, etc." Of course she wasn't willing to talk to me about it until my kids were in the chair having molds made. We're doing two at a time, for crying out loud. Do we pay for it all up front?&nbsp; Do we schedule the initial appointment months before we hope to start the process? Weeks before? Day of? How long do kids usually wear braces?</p><p>I checked out three local orthodontists here, because I like to shop around. Our kids are currently split between two dental offices for the same reason, to see which is a better fit. The neurosis doesn't escape me. I made the appointment, figuring we were prepared to move forward immediately, or in three months, and knowing that our insurance covered a small portion but we had to cover the bulk of the cost. So, especially for military families with the same dental insurance, here are the nitty-gritty details.</p><ul><li>If your kids have all of their adult teeth, no current dental issues like cavities, and are otherwise healthy, you can make the braces appointment for the next available day after your consult. That was a week later for us.</li><li>For a <span style="text-decoration: underline;">typical</span> situation, overcrowding, bite alignment, etc., the average time frame is 18-24 months. The more serious the issue, the longer it may take. Adults tend to take longer and cost more.</li><li>For a <span style="text-decoration: underline;">typical</span> situation, the average cost is between $4,000 and $5,000 per kid.&nbsp;</li><li>Active Duty insurance (MetLife) covers about $1,700 per kid. It's a one-time deal, per child. If they need braces again later, there's no coverage.</li><li>If you don't want to pay it all up front,&nbsp; you go on a monthly payment plan. You can usually adjust it to meet your needs.&nbsp;</li><li>You have to make a down payment, and that dictates the monthly payment. For example, the down payment is $1,000 per kid, and your monthly payment is $100 per kid for 20 months. Personally, it would've been nice to know we'd need to throw down $2,000 cash that day. The Sailor needed a drink after that phone call.</li><li>This price should cover all appointments, gear, adjustments, etc. throughout the process. If at the end of 26 months [or whatever your ortho decides] they're still not finished, you re-visit the cost.</li></ul><p>&nbsp;</p><p class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a target="_blank" href="" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;" class="external-link elf-add-back-link"><img src=";container=blogger&amp;gadget=a&amp;rewriteMime=image%2F*" alt="" data-orig-src="" border="0" width="320" /></a></p><p>The overall cost of braces didn't throw me, but I did wish that one of the five orthodontist offices I called in Texas and Massachusetts were willing to fill me in. We've met a lot of adult military "brats" (I hate that term) over the years whose parents never took them to the orthodontist. Like I said, the office isn't forthcoming, it's expensive, and it's cosmetic. I think it's important, though. Of the people we've known who never had their teeth fixed, most were openly insecure about it and hesitant to go through the process as adults, especially because it's usually more expensive and invasive at that point. My two cents: get your kid's teeth fixed. The smile is one of the first things you notice on someone, and you don't ever want your child to be afraid to smile.</p><p>If you're on Cape Cod and looking for an orthodontist in the near future, message me and I'll tell you who we saw. I've been so impressed with the experience, office and staff. In case you're curious, the twins did great. They're sore and complained about eating for the rest of the day, but overall they have a good attitude about it.</p><p>Jessica @ MBB</p><p><a target="_blank" href="" title="" class="external-link elf-add-back-link"></a></p><div class="og_rss_groups"></div> Tweens & Teens Money Health Work/Life Family braces Money Teens & tweens Tue, 22 Apr 2014 20:56:46 +0000 Jessica Rachel O 1591353 at It's Been 26 Years but I'm Still a Drunk <!--paging_filter--><p>Although it’s been 26 years since my last drink, I am no less a drunk. The passage of time does not diminish this fact. In a strange paradox known only to alcoholics, the years actually fuel the denial that whispers to us, “I really wasn’t <em>that</em> bad.”</p> <!--break--> <p>The day I put the cork in the bottle of white wine for the final time, I thought my life was over. I would never laugh again, never go to another party, never tell another joke or have another good time. </p> <p><center> <img src="/files/mobile/320x320/1a538dd817b56549032d72b02ed8c400.jpg" class="m-optimized" /><br /> <em>Image: <a target="_blank" href="" class="external-link">ell brown</a></em></center></p><p> Life was going to be one long dental appointment, and just a matter of time before I died from the pain and boredom of such a bleak existence. </p><p> This couldn’t have been further from the truth, but life can only be understood in the rearview mirror. Point of fact, alcohol had robbed me of my laughter, as it had robbed me of my marriage, my career, my looks … my life. </p><p> But for years, it appeared to be otherwise. I had a brilliant career. I was the funniest person you ever met. I was audacious and the life of the party. I could drink you under the table. I could soldier through a wicked hangover (which, if I had today, would send me to the ER). </p><p> But ever so slowly, my best friend turned on me. I made a fool of myself on airplanes, bars and hotels in foreign cities. I had lost my moral compass. I began to lose track of time. There were gaps, starting with days and ending in decades. </p><p> “I was so drunk” preceded most sentences, as I tried to piece together the events of the night before. “What did I do?” Or worse, “Who did I do it with?” Driving in a blackout, the wrong way on the freeway, drunk-dialing, “black line fever”… telling off clients. I drank to dead parents and living bosses. I created chaos and havoc, just so someone could clean it up. What’s that definition of insanity? I was the poster girl. </p><p> I drank to forget the person I had become because of drinking. </p><p> I was born into this world wanting more. Whatever it was, it wasn’t enough. I wasn’t enough. I never fit in. I always felt too fat or too unattractive, or too talkative, or too dumb. But when I discovered booze, there was a brief respite. I never really liked the taste of alcohol, but I sure liked its effect. </p><p> From the first time I stole my mother’s vodka, replacing it with distilled water so it wouldn’t separate, I was scamming, stealing, conning or planning my next drink. I drank Slo Gin Fizzes, Kahlua and Bloody Marys. Then in my Hunter Thompson years, I drank Wild Turkey and Cuervo Gold with the worm, right out of the bottle. I was just a girl being one of the boys, ever the self-loathing people pleaser. </p><p> And at the end, I was drinking white wine spritzers at 10 a.m., just to “take the edge off” that job interview. I figured if I put seltzer in it, I wasn’t a drunk … the convoluted rationale of the alcoholic. </p><p> They say an alcoholic directly affects ten people! Let’s see, by my calculations, there is nobody in the world not affected by the pain the alcoholic inflicts on the ones who love them. Wrap your arms around the drunk and you’re wrapping your arms around the bottle. I now know the anguish of those who tried to help me, and that is real pain. </p><p> People ask me, “How did you stop drinking?” My answer is — I have no idea. I know the steps I took, but I have no idea how the obsession was lifted, but it was, and I can only call it a nanosecond of grace. I got to the end of my rope and I let go. It was a flat-out miracle. </p><p> Not surprisingly, the further I got away from that last drunk, the more I started to laugh. Color drained back into my black-and-white life. I would spontaneously laugh at the dumbest things. I hadn’t realized my laughter's absence and how much I missed it. </p><p> I started collecting the lines that saved my life, and they wound up in three books of aphorisms, which most people tell me they keep in the bathroom. </p><p> If we can find humor in a thing, we have already begun to heal. To discover that I was an alcoholic was not only the source of my greatest sorrow, but of my greatest joy. </p> <p><em>Originally posted on <a target="_blank" href="" class="external-link elf-add-back-link">Purple Clover</a></em></p> <h2>More From Purple Clover</h2> <ul> <li><a target="_blank" href="" class="external-link elf-add-back-link">Playing in the Band</a></li> <li><a target="_blank" href="" class="external-link elf-add-back-link">Watch This 80-Year Old Salsa Dancing Grandma Shut Simon Cowell Up</a></li> <li><a target="_blank" href="" class="external-link elf-add-back-link">Before They Became 'Mad Men'</a></li> </ul> <!--pagebreak--><div class="og_rss_groups"></div> Health Work/Life Tue, 22 Apr 2014 20:23:55 +0000 PurpleClover 1591222 at Plan Some Fun for Your Mom this Mother's Day <!--paging_filter--><p>For anyone who does not realize this: Mother's Day is a big deal. It is a chance to tell your Mom how much you love and appreciate her.</p> <p>And for me (with the help of a little technology), it is the chance to drive her a little crazy.</p> <p>Let me back up a bit. I love my Mom. She is a talented woman, <a target="_blank" href="" class="external-link elf-add-back-link">a fantastic writer</a>, a hands-on grandmother who loves to try new things. She is up on her DIY craftiness as well as technology. So, I use that love of technology to drive her crazy just in time for Mother's Day.</p> <p><center><img src="/files/mobile/320x320/ae1734079d4b5d268f118458be2a894a.jpg" title="Plan Some Fun for Your Mom this Mother's Day" alt="Plan Some Fun for Your Mom this Mother's Day" class="m-optimized" /><br /><em>Credit: <a href="" target="_blank" class="external-link">ninahale</a>.</em></center></p> <p>You can play along with your own Mom:</p> <p><strong>Game 1</strong><br />Text your Mother a picture of yourself every day for two weeks leading up to Mother's Day. See how long it takes her to ask you what you are doing. Respond with, "I just thought you wanted to see more of me." This works especially well if you have children, because she doesn't want to see you, she wants to see her grandchildren. Bonus points if your Mom calls you weird.</p> <p><strong>Game 2</strong><br />Works the same as game one but with just pictures of the cat.</p> <p><strong>Game 3</strong><br />Send your Mom a text about the things you love about her every day for a few weeks leading up to Mother's Day. They can be sweet (Mom, I love the way you would brush my hair out until it shined.), or a funny remembrance (Mom, I was just thinking about the time that frog came into the house and you threatened to kill all of us if we didn't handle it - classic!).</p> <p><strong>Game 4</strong><br />Play I Spy with your Mom via phone. Call her when you know she isn't able to answer and say, "I spy with my little eye something pink." Then hang up. Repeat the next day, even if she doesn't call you back with an answer. It's good form to take anything she says as a correct answer; she did call you back after all. (Cool Moms call back.)</p> <p><strong>Game 5 - for moms who don't enjoy text games</strong><br />Cut up a picture of the two of you and send her the pieces in the mail for her to assemble like a puzzle. Bonus points to you if you leave one piece out and wrap it up for her next birthday/holiday.</p> <p>The point of all these silly games is to go beyond the flowers and cheesy cards. Make Mother's Day fun for you and your Mom. As for me this year, I actually can't say what I'm going to do, because my Mom reads my blog. And that would ruin the surprise. (Love you, Mom!)</p> <p>What Mother's Day gift are you wishing for this year?<br /> <a target="_blank" href="" class="external-link elf-add-back-link">Tell me at Sorry, Mom. I didn't listen</a>.</p> <div class="og_rss_groups"></div> Family Mother's Day Tue, 22 Apr 2014 19:20:10 +0000 LMarkman 1590672 at David Lebovitz Releases the Delicious Cookbook 'My Paris Kitchen' <!--paging_filter--><p><a href="">BlogHer Food '14 keynote speaker</a>, blogger, and author <a target="_blank" href="" class="external-link elf-add-back-link"><b>David Lebovitz</b></a> has just released his newest book, <a target="_blank" href="" class="external-link elf-add-back-link"><i>My Paris Kitchen</i></a>, a cookbook filled with stories about Paris and over a hundred recipes, for everything from first courses to dessert. Starting with apéritif hour, there are salted olive crisps, green olive, basil and almond tapenade.&nbsp; It moves on to soups, salads, and main courses like mustard chicken, counterfeit duck confit (which produces crispy-skin duck without all the mess of traditional preserved duck - and couldn't be easier to prepare).&nbsp; And ends with sweets such as chocolate and dulce de leche tart, hazelnut praline éclairs, and a Bûche de Noël (yule log cake) to finish off the year.</p> <!--break--><!--break--><p><center><img src="/files/mobile/320x320/f9718e9084e5224763aaef02fdb69620.jpg" alt="dave lebovitz" class="m-optimized" /></center></p> <p>Nick from <a target="_blank" href="" class="external-link elf-add-back-link"><b>Macheesmo</b></a> published his first cookbook, <a target="_blank" href="" class="external-link elf-add-back-link"><i>Love Your Leftovers</i></a>. "<i>Love Your Leftovers</i> will show you how to create foundation dishes, in decent quantity, when you have the time -- perhaps on a lazy Sunday afternoon -- and then repurpose those leftovers to make other delicious dishes throughout the week. Cooking this way saves time and money and allows busy people to eat well every night."</p> <p>Dee of <a target="_blank" href="" class="external-link elf-add-back-link"><b>deeconstructed</b></a> launched her first e-magazine, <i><a target="_blank" href="" class="external-link elf-add-back-link">DIY Daily</a>, </i>and is enjoying&nbsp;great feedback from her readers. She&nbsp;&nbsp;plans to publish a new magazine each month with the same number of articles as number of days in the month to coincide with the magazine's name.&nbsp;The articles will vary in topic but will all tie back to DIY home improvement.</p> <p><i>BlogHer Publishing Network members -- do you have news to share? <a target="_blank" href="" class="external-link elf-add-back-link">Click here to share it</a>. Or check out all the <a href="">BlogHer Publishing Network member news</a> in the series.</i></p> <div class="og_rss_groups"></div> Blogging & Social Media BlogHer Publishing Network News David Lebovitz BlogHer Network Member News Tue, 22 Apr 2014 15:04:28 +0000 The BlogHer Publishing Team 1591943 at Video Games For Women: 6 Apps That Aren't Candy Crush <!--paging_filter--><!--break--><!--break--><p><em><strong>Finding mature stories and hot men in games.</strong></em></p> <p><em><img src="" alt="Woman Playing Game on Tablet" width="320" class="m-optimized" /></em></p> <p>More women are gaming than ever before.&nbsp; According to the <a target="_blank" href="" class="external-link elf-add-back-link">Entertainment Software Association (EWA), 45% of all video gamers are now women</a>.&nbsp; Interestingly, if you ask many women over 35 if they are a gamer, they usually say no.&nbsp; When you say ‘gamer’, they picture teenage boys jiggling a video game controller with race cars or soldiers in camo on the screen.</p> <p>In fact, two such women sat next to me on a plane recently. They were both in their late fifties and, when they asked me what I did for a living, I said I designed computer games. One woman said her youngest son was really into video games! The other just nodded knowingly.&nbsp; Ten minutes later, one was on her phone playing Bejeweled and the other was on an iPad playing a hidden object game.&nbsp; Guess what, ladies—<em>you are gamers</em>.</p> <p>Many women have gotten back into both reading and game playing thanks to their tablets and phones.&nbsp; eBooks can be purchased and downloaded within seconds of hearing about them. Casual games are perfect for grabbing a quick break, and their bright colors and overdose of rewards are addictive.&nbsp; (YOU WON!!!&nbsp; OMG YOU ARE THE SMARTEST PERSON IN THE ENTIRE WORLD!!!)&nbsp; Who doesn’t want to feel like that?</p> <p>But if you’re burnt out playing word games or farming on Facebook, if you’re worn out your eyeballs hunting for forks and false teeth in incredibly busy scenes, what else is there?&nbsp; Where are the games that deal with <em>your</em> favorite interests and topics—and evoke real emotion, games like your favorite books or TV shows?&nbsp; Where’s the romance? The modern female protagonist? <em>Damn it, where are the hot, sexy men?</em></p> <p>The answer is: they’re out there. And as the number of women gamers grows, so does the gaming industry’s interest in providing mature entertainment geared toward women.&nbsp; Here are some you might want to try that are available for PC or tablet.&nbsp;</p> <h2><strong><em>If you like… Historical Romance&nbsp;</em></strong></h2> <p><a href="" target="_blank" class="external-link"><em>Everlove </em></a>by <a title="Silicon Sisters Interactive" href="" target="_blank" class="external-link">Silicon Sisters Interactive</a> (on iPad and Android). Designed especially for women who like to curl up with a good romance paperback, <em>Everlove </em>is a kind of interactive graphic novel in which a session of regression therapy results in Rose, our heroine, going back to medieval times. There she has to solve a mystery and has the potential for four possible romantic liaisons, depending on which guy you decide to pursue. The story unfolds based on the choices you make like in a ‘choose your own adventure’ book.&nbsp; There are a few hidden object and puzzles scenes too.&nbsp;</p> <p><img src="" alt="Everlove by Silicon Sisters Interactive" width="320" class="m-optimized" /></p> <h2><strong><em>If you like… Detective Shows, History, or “Slashy” male-male bromances</em></strong></h2> <p><a href="" target="_blank" class="external-link"><em>Moebius: Empire Rising</em></a> by <a href="" target="_blank" class="external-link">Pinkerton Road</a> (PC/Mac currently, coming to iPad and Android).&nbsp; Full disclosure: this is my own game, but as a female designer interested in story-based games for women, I feel it belongs on the list. <em>Moebius: Empire Rising</em> is a light adventure game with an exceptionally smart and aloof male protagonist (think <em>House</em> or BBC's&nbsp;<em>Sherlock</em>) who’s an expert in history. When he gets recruited by a secretive government agency to try to match women who are being murdered to famous women throughout time, things get a little crazy. It’s a mystery/thriller with a paranormal edge and two hot male leads who just might belong together. Can you ship it?</p> <p><img src="" alt="Moebius: Empire Rising by Jane Jensen (Pinkerton Road) and Phoenix Online Studios" width="320" class="m-optimized" /></p> <h2><strong><em>If you like… The Walking Dead, Zombies, or Disaster Movies</em></strong></h2> <p><a href="" target="_blank" class="external-link"><em>The Walking Dead</em></a> by Telltale Interactive (iPad, Android, PC, Mac, consoles). This game is like a TV show you control by exploring scenes, talking to other characters, and making choices. The male protagonist has to survive in a world overrun by zombies while keeping an orphaned little girl safe. Like the <em>Walking Dead</em>&nbsp; TV show and comics, it’s less about zombies and more about everyday people coping with—and trying to survive in—their changing world. The gameplay isn’t hard, it’s not a ‘shooter’, and the story stays emotion-based rather than purely about action.&nbsp;</p> <p><img src="" alt="The Walking Dead Game by Telltale Games" width="320" class="m-optimized" /></p> <h2><strong><em>If you like… erotica and psychological drama</em></strong></h2> <p><a href=";ign-mpt=uo%3D4" target="_blank" class="external-link"><em>Tender Loving Care</em></a> by <a href="" target="_blank" class="external-link">Trilobyte Games</a> (iPad). This is a FMV game (Full Motion Video) with live actors, originally released on DVD in the 1990s. A man struggles to help his wife recover from a tragic accident and hires a live-in nurse. The nurse turns out to be blond and sexy and perhaps up to something nefarious. There’s lots of sexual tension in the early chapters, and the sexual ‘history’ you can find around the house adds to the mood.&nbsp; The gameplay is very dated, consisting mostly of clicking around a house and watching video scenes as the clock progresses. But the heat is on, there are some steamy scenes, and it drew me in so much I played through it in one marathon sitting.</p> <!--pagebreak--><!--pagebreak--><p><img src="" alt="Tender Loving Care by Trilobyte Games" width="320" class="m-optimized" /></p> <h2><strong><em>If you like… ghost stories and psychics</em></strong></h2> <p>The <a href="" target="_blank" class="external-link"><em>Blackwell</em> mysteries</a> by <a href="" target="_blank" class="external-link">Wadjet Eye Games</a> (PC, coming to iPhone/iPad this spring). This series includes <em>The Blackwell Legacy</em>, <em>Blackwell Unbound</em>, <em>The Blackwell Convergence</em>, <em>The Blackwell Deception</em>, and <em>The Blackwell Epiphany</em>. Rosa Blackwell is a strong heroine who has inherited her family legacy: the ability to see dead people and a jazz era ghost, Joey Mallone. Over the course of five games, their friendship grows and Rosa gets more comfortable with her calling to help confused spirits make peace with their deaths and cross over into the light. The pixelated graphics are retro, but the storytelling and themes are very modern. The earlier games are a bit short and rough, but by the end the series develops to a powerful conclusion.&nbsp;</p> <p><img src="" alt="The Blackwell mysteries series by Wadjet Eye Games" width="320" class="m-optimized" /></p> <h2><strong><em>If you like… family drama and mystery</em></strong>&nbsp;</h2> <p><em><a href="" target="_blank" class="external-link">Gone Home</a>&nbsp;</em>by <a href="" target="_blank" class="external-link">The Fullbright Company</a> (PC/Mac/Linux, coming to consoles). In this first-person exploration game you are Katie Greenbriar, a 19-year-old returning home after a year abroad. But your family isn’t home—mom, dad, and little sister Sam seem to have left in a hurry. Where did they go, and what have they been through during Katie’s year away? You explore the house room by room, moving at your own pace to examine everyday items and find letters, notes, and diaries that tell the story of the Greenbriars’ missing year. What starts like a spooky horror film develops into a touching story about a Sam’s turbulent year in high school, her budding sexual awakening, and a family in crisis.&nbsp;</p> <p><img src="" alt="Gone Home by The Fullbright Company" width="320" class="m-optimized" /></p> <h2><strong><em>Bring It On</em></strong></h2> <p>There’s strength in numbers—strength being defined as purchasing power in this case.&nbsp; As more women enjoy gaming on their laptop or tablets, we can hope that more game developers and publishers will make games with us in mind. Personally, I’d love to see romance, <em>True Blood</em>-ish sexy paranormal drama, sweeping story narratives, and female leads written from a woman’s point-of-view. What do you want to see?&nbsp; Let us know in the comments.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Jane Jensen</p> <div class="og_rss_groups"></div> Feminism Pop Culture Technology Games News & Politics Entertainment adventure games sex and entertainment women and gaming Tue, 22 Apr 2014 15:01:07 +0000 Jane Jensen 1589658 at 4 Ways to Add Spring Fever to Your Sex Life <p>Spring is here, which means you're making a mad dash to clear cluttered closets and darkened corners of your home of dust, debris, and unwanted objects. We often take the time to clear our physical spaces of things that have become stale and dull during these months of rejuvenation, but in this year of shifting energy, why not make a pledge to do some spring cleaning of your sex life as well!? The space around us often reflects our inner space, so it only makes sense to clear your sex life of old routines and mindsets and usher in fresh and new ideas to match your new and improved environment!&nbsp;</p><center><img src="/files/mobile/320x320/283e6b605d4e5bc56639e841360eba07.jpg" alt="spring" class="m-optimized" /><em><br />Image: Nha Le Hoan via <a target="_blank" href="" class="external-link">Flickr</a></em></center><p>Sex during the winter months can often turn into a mundane song and dance due to the low energy of the winter solstice, but now that spring is here, it’s time to spring into a more lively sex life!</p><p>&nbsp;</p><center><h2><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><a href=",1">Here are my tips on how to revitalize your inner sex goddess!</a></span> --&gt;</h2></center><p>&nbsp;</p><div class="og_rss_groups"></div> Dating Marriage and Commitment Sex Love & Sex love sex spring Tue, 22 Apr 2014 14:40:51 +0000 Sexpert_Tyomi 1584070 at