My Picks For The 2014 Best and Worst Emmys Dresses

Did you watch the 2014 Emmys?  I love the Red Carpet.  I turn into the Fashion Police armed with handcuffs, a baton, patrol car and jailer.  I critique the dress, color, accessories, hair and shoes.   I’m prepared to handcuff the worst dresses and turn on the siren and lights for the best dresses.  I may apply for a job with Joan Rivers and Kelly Osbourne.  


At the top of my list is Halle Berry. My girl is rocking this gown.  Ba-Bam!  The color is soft and the design sexy.  Angelina Jolie take note, this is how a lady shows a little leg.  Your pose at the Oscars just doesn’t measure up.  Honestly, I couldn’t figure out if it was your leg or a stick. Your pose has been burned into my brain for months, but now I can say that it has been replaced. Halle is toned, the hair is flawless and accessories aren’t needed.  Although I wouldn’t complain about seeing her eye candy, Olivier Martinez, as an accessory.  That’s right ladies, I’m middle aged I’m not dead.  
 .   

 

I love this color on Julia Louis-Dreyfus.  The gown was designed by Carolina Herrera.  It’s simple, but sexy.  Her dark hair is a beautiful contrast against the red.  Did you see the kiss with Bryan Cranston? It was so hot, I still have steam on my TV screen.    

 

Top Chef’s Padma Lakshmi looked beautiful in this white gown by Ralph Rucci.  It’s so plain, but less is more at times.  This was one of them.  Her dark hair and skin tone was all that was needed for this pose on the Red Carpet.  

Camila Alves, Matthew McConaughey’s wife, looks fabulicious in this white design by Zuhair Murah.  She is stunning and so is the gown.  What do you get when you have stunning + stunning, perfection. The most amazing thing about this gown, it’s a ready to wear.  

My last pick in the favorite category is Viola Davis’ electrifying cobalt blue number by Escada. Ravishing is what comes to mind.  It’s age appropriate, but the neckline allows it to be sexy.  The color is beautiful against her brown skin.  

 

Lets talk about my worst dress list.  Do you ever wonder how designers come up with their designs?  I have no idea what designer Giambattista Valli was thinking when this hot mess was designed and I have no idea what Lena Dunham of Girls was thinking when she agreed to wear it. There is nothing that I can say except lock both of them up.  This is why I bring the jailer!  

 

I’m picturing actress Sarah Paulson walking down Rodeo Drive yelling catch me if you can and some unknown designer runs up from behind her and shoves her into all of this netting.  She’s trapped, she has to wear it.  This can be the only logical explanation.  There’s room in the back of the police car for one more.  Off to lock up Sarah.   


What were your favorite and less favorite dresses of the 2014 Emmys?  

Do You Choose Looks Over Character In Relationships

 

 

 

While on Facebook yesterday a friend’s post comes through my feed.  The description was “Adorable” and it was a picture of this man who had just been sentenced to 8 years in federal prison for fraud.  I was familiar with the young man, Apollo Nida (below).  He starred on the reality television show Real House Wives of Atlanta.  I looked again to make sure I had read my friend’s description correctly, and yes it was in deed Adorable.  My reaction was Oh My God not another women drooling over a convicted felon.  I commented on her post, and stated “What he is, is a white collar criminal.”  Her response was “True.”  If it’s true, why wouldn’t you speak on that rather than his looks?  I don’t understand our thinking as women at times.  


                                                     

How does a woman who just reads an article about a man who commits fraud, bilks millions from businesses by the use of Identity Thief, and is now leaving his wife to raise two toddlers on her own considered the man “Adorable?”  She disregarded all of this and focused on his looks.  I don’t get it ladies.  I like a little eye candy too, but if he’s a criminal I can’t find the attraction. Did you see the smoke as I was running away, it all goes out the window for me.  


 Several weeks ago this picture went viral of another convict.  Women went crazy over this guy, he’s charged with a felony and he’s an alleged gang member.  They actually helped raise money for his bail.  I find it hard to believe that we as women can be so superficial, and than we wonder why we end up with superficial.  You know the men who leave us drained, bruised, and beaten if not physically than emotionally.  We don’ bother to look beneath the surface, we’re mesmerized by those chiseled cheeks and baby blues.  When we finally wake up, we’re left with children to raise on our own and wondering how we’re going to make ends meet. We’re surprised when they end up back in jail.  Isn’t that where they were when we found them.  

In the case of Apollo Nida, (top photo), his wife is an attorney and just received her licence to open a Mortuary. An educated woman, but she married him after he was convicted of felony charges charges years ago.  Not only did she marry a felon, she has two toddlers with him. Now she will be raising the boys on her own, because he is returning to jail. His reason for returning to a life of crime was because his wife was making more money, and he was trying to keep up with her.  He had no respect for his wife or his children while he was committing these crimes.  He slept beside his wife and pretended to be a role model for his children everyday for years.  He has now been exposed once again for who he is. Was his wife really fooled or did she get caught up in his looks too and turn the other cheek?  Only she knows.   

I believe that people deserve second changes, and many who have committed crimes are capable of turning their life around, but there are also those who will never change.  How do you know what you have?  Sorry I don’t have the answer to that question.  Relationships and love are a risk, so we must dig deep and move slowly so we can find out who that person really is before your start drooling, giving up your money and committing yourself.  Getting beyond looks should be number one in my opinion.  Now don’t get me wrong there has to be a physical attraction, but I need to get to know you on a spiritual level as well as your values, your background, credit history, relationship with family etc.  I have a list that I use now.  I honestly can’t say that I was very smart in selecting a mate in my past, but my eyes are wide open now.  

Ladies, we have to be smarter in choosing a mate and what we say.  Move beyond the physical and look at who he is.  Ask questions, look at his childhood, but most importantly look at his heart. If a man shows you who he is, believe him. When you read an article or post and the man is handsome, but has wronged his family don’t overlook his character.  It makes others question you or at least wonder what’s going through your head.  Know that you deserve better than a man who only has his looks going for him.

Lupita Nyong’o Redefining Beautiful

America has a new image of what is beautiful!  Yes, a dark skin African American woman is gracing the cover of People Magazine.  It’s quite refreshing for me as an African American woman to see Oscar Winner, Lupita Nyong’o taking her place among the likes of Julia Roberts , Cindy Crawford and Halle Berry.  I will always remember how beautiful she looked on the red carpet for the Golden Globes.  I thought the color of her dress against her skin color was breath taking.   (See Lupita in the bottom picture). 

Unfortunately,  women of color are rarely seen as beautiful. Like it or not, this is the truth.  Sure we’ve had Vanessa Williams and Halle Berry, but never a woman who is the color of milk chocolate and has natural hair, a wide nose and full lips.  I don’t purchase People Magazine, but I will purchase this particular issue.  I want my granddaughter to know that she can be seen as beautiful and not have blond hair, blue eyes and white skin.  Not that I don’t see women who have these attributes as beautiful, it’s important that our daughters have roles models in all colors, shapes and occupations too and we need to start promoting more of them.  After all this is America.  A melting pot of diverse people.   

 

Beauty is in the eyes of the beholder, but as an African American we struggle to find beauty within ourselves.  We never see it on television and we rarely see it in magazines or books.  I think Lupita summed it up nicely, she said she first equated beauty with what she saw on television too, “Light skin and long, flowing, straight hair,” She says. “Subconsciously you start to appreciate those things more than what you possess.”  Her statement couldn’t be more true.  It starts to affect your self-esteem and who you are.  You start thinking that you will never have those attributes, so you must be ugly, unlovable and the list goes on.  

I decided that I would work on  my granddaughter’s self-esteem early as I did with my daughter.  I told my daughter that she must constantly tell Zarriah that she is beautiful and praise her regularly.  She must grow up to be confident in herself just in case the world doesn’t see her that way.  If you’re not a woman of color, you may not be able to relate to this; however, it is an important issue for mothers and grandmothers of color who are raising daughters and granddaughters. 



I was elated when I found out Lupita will also be promoting Lancome Paris products.  I spend tons of money on Lancome as it is my make-up of choice, so it’s nice to see the Brand reaching out to a more diverse clientele.  We have a long way to go in this country in defining what is beautiful, but we’re off to a nice start.  

Photos courtesy of People Magazine

8 Reasons Dads Are Winning Custody

 

Dads are winning custody.  Times have changed and most courts are no longer awarding child custody to moms just because they’re mom. Many years ago moms getting custody was the standard.  They were given custody in divorces or in relationships that didn’t work out.  This is no longer the standard.  There’s a new generation of men, and along with them comes a new attitude, a new perspective and a battle for their children.  News Flash – they’re winning.  

I’ve watched four of my nephews over the years win custody of their children. Yep, four.  I’m proud to say they’re doing an excellent job of raising their children too.  When the first nephew went to court, I thought his chances of winning were slim. He came ready for the game, hit the ball out of the park and walked away with his son.    

The second, third and fourth nephews followed with custody battles for their children.  They all came out winners. The first nephew that I talked about shares custody with his son’s mother; however, she knows that she better walk a straight and narrow line or on it’s on again and he will win.  As a matter of fact, his son is now old enough to tell the court who he wants to live with.  If he has to choose, it will be his dad.  The second and third nephews have have full custody of their sons and the fourth has shared custody of his daughter as well.      

Here’s a few reasons why dads are winning custody from my perspective:

1)  They established paternity in the hospital, and ensured they were involved in all aspects of their child’s upbringing.  They were involved in feedings, changed diapers, and provided financial, emotional and physical support from day one.  

2)  Women today have outdated thinking.  They still think the man owes them, they don’t realize the importance of being self-sufficient.  Not one of my nephews relies on the system for food stamps, medical care or anything else for their children.  They buy food, clothes, provide insurance, pay for recreational activities etc.  They are not handing money over to mom for child support, they pay for the purchases directly and track the expenses.  Judges are impressed with the bookkeeping, and the majority of the time the money spent exceeds what they would be required to pay in court.     

3)  Men are involved in their children’s recreational activities, attend parent and teachers conferences, assist with homework etc.  There’s no mommy or daddy duties.  They can perform as well as mom.   

4)  They established joint custody early.  They have their children from infancy at least half of the week.  They are smart enough to have established days of custody and times documented.   Because they have joint custody and have the children at least 50% of the time, they are not obligated to pay child support or pay very little.  Their money goes toward the expenses in their own homes for their children.  

5)  They are able to provide a stable environment that is not subsidized by taxpayers/the state. The first nephew owns a home, two have townhouses, and the fourth is working on purchasing a home.  Judges love saving the state money.    

6)  They are involved in community service, coach their children in sports, and strive to set examples.  Their children are taken to shows, professional games, have yearly birthday parties, summer vacations at the beach, involved in other family activities and attend church.  

7)  They consistently strive to improve educationally and professionally.  Two of my nephews have opened a business together while raising their children.  None of them are stay at home dads. They know they have to work in order to provide for their children and themselves.  They’re doing it all, and each of their children are excelling all around.  Judges are impressed with their ability to parent and provide.    

8)  They obtain legal representation who come out swinging.  None of my nephews played dirty in their efforts to seek custody.  They won on their ability to parent, their character and their desire to be in their children’s life.        

It’s a new day, and if we as women don’t change our thinking and get in position to win many may find themselves on the outside looking in.  Not all men are interested in finding out if the grass is greener on the other side when they have children and their marriages and relationships don’t work. Some are making their children a priority, and they don’t need a women to assist them. They have family and community support, and they’re putting it to use in a positive way. 

When I say educate yourself and get in position, it doesn’t have anything to do with being a Welfare Queen or any other stereotype from the 70’s and 80’s.  This type of thinking is what I’m talking about in Reason 2 and why men are winning. There’s nothing wrong with seeking assistance to get on your feet, but it should not become a way of life.  The world has changed and you need to become aware of what’s happening around you.  Society is now seeing things differently, and men are seeing their roles differently.  

Not only have I watched four nephews seek and win custody, 2 of the four were awarded to their father in a custody battle 25 years ago.  I’m not on the outside looking in, I’m on the inside witnessing the battles go down.  So I speak to you from first hand knowledge.    

You must put on your suit of armor and gear up for the fight if you believe you could end up in a custody battle.  It is rare that a storm hits without warning.  These are not men who are involved in drugs, abuse alcohol, beat their partners, or hang out in clubs. I’m talking about real men who are willing and capable of raising their children.  From one mother to another, are you prepared for the fight?  

You may also like:  Dads Are Winning Custody

  




When You Start to Mirror Your Mother

 

 

parenting tips, mother and daughter relationships, grandparents

 

When I became a mother, I vowed to do things differently from my mother.  After all, who wants to be their mother. Did you swear that you would never turn into your mother?  Even as she was baking wonder breads,  maintaining a perfect house, sewing on a button or placing a band aid on a scrapped knee, I didn’t want to be my mother. I had no idea what motherhood entailed at that point in my life. Over the course of the years, I have learned that parenting and keeping a marriage together are tough jobs. Once you step into the arena of parenting and marriage, it changes your life forever.  There’s no manual on parenting or how to have a successful marriage.  Life is simply trial and error.  

I grow up in a traditional household, my father worked and my mother took care of 7 children and the home. Yep, I said 7.  She cooked, cleaned, did the laundry, and made sure homework was done.  Additionally, she attended PTA meetings, got us to bed on time, and sent us to Sunday School every Sunday.  She washed clothes in a wringer washer, hung them on a clothes line, ironed, cleaned windows with vinegar and water, and cooked meals in stockpots.  

I remember taking clothes off the line when they were stiff as boards because they were frozen. I also remember the best smelling sheets.   It was a good life for the most part.  Nevertheless, I still did not want to be my mother.  I just wanted to be me whoever that was.

True to form I kept my word.  I stayed home with my daughter for awhile, but Corporate America was calling my name.  My mother thought my choices were awful. Microwaved food, traveling around the country, and divorcing was not something a traditional woman did. As time went on she accepted my choices, and I didn’t feel guilty about not becoming my mother.  We both realized that times change; where I come from doesn’t make me who I am.   

Many woman were breaking the traditional ideology.  When my daughter was in ballet, dads were bringing their daughters to class.  Men and women were sharing the responsibility of getting kids to their destination and managing the home.  Men were cooking, washing dishes, doing laundry and women were mowing lawns.  Women were entering the workforce, bringing the bacon, frying it up and still taking care of their homes. 
Some were bringing in more money than their husbands. Many were holding it down without a husband.   

I’ve enjoyed my years in the workforce, but I’m entering a new chapter in my life.  I have decided to leave the work force within the next year.  My career has been a journey.  I’ve learned many lessons along the way. Working outside the home has taught me leadership skills. It has also allowed me to become a better business woman. Most importantly it has taught me that I no longer want to be apart of the work force.    

My mother is aging, but I hope she remembers some of the yummy recipes that she fixed when we were children. I’m looking forward to making jams, getting my grandchildren for the summer, and traveling across this great country.  I’m looking forward to scrap booking the thousands of pictures that I have stored.  Last, I’m looking forward to enjoying a cup of coffee on my deck as I’m listening to the birds tweet and bunnies play.  

 

10 Reasons To Love Spring

reasons to love spring

                                                                 Mallards in my wet weather streambed

Spring has finally arrived!  I am so ready for warmer weather.  First, snow hit us hard this winter in my part of the world.  Snow is great for removing impurities from the air.  Furthermore, it is beautiful when it is falling and fresh.  Snow loses its luster for me when it needs to be shoveled or plowed.  It turns into work.

Second, I love having something to look forward to.  So, spring brings me back to life after a cold dreary winter.  Have you noticed that things come alive in the spring?  The earth gives birth. At least, that’s how I feel about spring.  Also, I feel alive and excited.  Why, because the birds will be singing, trees will be blooming, flowers emerging, lawns turning green and the list goes on.  As a result, this is why Spring is a favorite time of year for me.

The one drawback is my allergies, but lets not dwell on this con.  Here’s a few other reasons to love spring:

 

  1. I never know what I will find in my backyard – Like the mallards swimming in my wet weather stream bed and the Robin’s egg below.
  2. Winter clothes are traded for lighter clothing and brighter colors –  Sweaters, boots, winter coats and hats are traded for lighter clothes.
  3. Days become longer – Longer days mean more time outside.
  4. Vacations and getaways are considered  – Vacation spots are considered.
  5. Backyard BQs are planned  – The grill is prepared for Memorial Day.
  6. I plant my summer vegetable garden –  My house will be filled with garden pots and grow lights.
  7. Yard sales, flea markets and farmer’s markets await me.
  8. Shop for bargain plants – I love incorporating flowers and flowering shrubs into my landscape.
  9. Clean out closets and refresh my house – Brighter colors and lighter bedding is used.
  10. Remove debris from the yard and clean the deck for summer enjoyment  – Summer furniture is cleaned and placed on the deck and in the yard.

 reasons to love spring

                                                                   A Robin’s egg that has fallen from the nest

Finally, I hope that you enjoyed my list of reasons to love spring.   Leave a comment and let me know what you look forward to when spring arrives.

When Mom’s the Bread Winner

single mothers, single parenting, money management

Are you the bread winner in your family and feeling guilty because you’re not a stay at home mom?  If you’re a single mother, your chances of being a stay at home mom are slim unless you hit the jackpot with child support payments.  I felt guilty leaving my daughter when I headed to work., but someone had to bring income into the home so bills can be paid.   

Unfortunately, being a single mother is not easy. However, you must get over your guilt if you’re feeling any.  I missed my daughter’s first step and her first time being successful using the potty because I was working. I finally had to make peace with my situation and accept the fact that I had to provide for us.  After all,  the child support I was receiving barely paid for her child care let alone pay the other bills.  

I wondered how me working outside the home would affect her. I wondered if she would grow up thinking that moms who stayed at home or who had husbands who provided was abnormal.  I wondered if not having her dad in the home as a role model would affect her.  So many things went through my mind.  When I growing up my mother took care of the home while my father worked. You know the traditional woman versus man duties.  Mom cooks, cleans, does laundry and dad works, mows the lawn, fixes the pipes.    

I soon realized that times had changed.  The work force was full of women who had husbands and children, and still managed to run their homes.  The work force was also full of divorced or single mothers who also ran their homes, had children in school who were doing well and some had gone on to become lawyers, doctors and whatever else they choose.  I realized that the household that I grew up in was no longer the norm in society.  Women had moved up and on.  They had become multitasking moms and no longer fell into that traditional stay at home role.  

I also decided that I would never be my mother!  I love her for everything she did when I was growing up, I learned a lot.  She thought my sister and I going into the work force and becoming non-traditional mothers was strange.  Now she sees that it’s the new normal.  

As my daughter got older, we had several discussions about her father and me having to work to provide. She soon realized that she too was better off without him in her life, and stands by her decision to this day. He’s now on the outside looking in, and wishing he had a relationship with her and his grandchildren.  She understood that I wasn’t the only single mother in the world.  She had friends who had single mothers too. I continued to provide and she continued to excel because she had all the love and the necessities that she needed without a father in the home.  Here are a few lessons that she learned:

  • A mother’s love is the strongest love on this earth
  • She had a strong mother who taught her to be a strong woman and mother
  • Welfare and other public assistance is not an option when you’re able to work
  • Always work to better yourself and don’t blame others for you decisions
  • We don’t live in a perfect world
  • Break circles when you need to  
  • There are children who have fathers in the home who are drunks, drug addicts or who just don’t contribute and live off their wife or girlfriend

If you’re the bread winner and sole provider for your child or children, you’re doing your job as a mother.  You will find that it gives you a sense of purpose, and they will respect you for everything you’ve done for them.  Single mothers raised these leaders and celebrities:    

  • Judge Greg Mathis
  • President Obama
  • President Clinton
  • Mary J Blige
  • Pierce Brosnan
  • Tom Cruise
  • Al Pacino
  • Barbara Streisand
  • Mariah Carey 
  • Halle Berry
Our children may not grow up to be presidents and celebrities, but we don’t have to feel guilty as single mothers and neither do our children.  Stand proud, stay strong and earn that bread!  
 

5 Tips To Becoming A Confident Woman

 self-improvement, self-confidence, self-esteem

Have you seen women that exude an air of confidence and self-assurance.  You get the feeling that they can conquer the world and achieve anything.  You admire them and wonder how they reached that level.  You secretly wish you had half of their skills and success.   

I was there at one point in my life.  As a single mother, I wanted to be successful.  I wanted to achieve a six figure salary and I wanted to know how to get there.  I wanted to be strong as a mother, as a leader, a mentor and manager.  I’ve had a mentor through out my life and I’ve been a mentor.  I accepted the fact that I couldn’t achieve success on my own, I needed guidance and advice.  
Our role as mothers, spouses, partners and influencers is huge.  We need to display confidence to our children, our spouse or significant other and those that we influence in our life and on the job. Building confidence is a process.  It doesn’t happen over night, but if you continually enhance your skills you will become a confident woman.
Here are a few traits that I believe all women need to become confident:
  1. Define Your Belief System – These are your core values that remain unchanged.  They can include but are not limited to being ethical, family-oriented, reliable, trustworthy.  Define them and stand firm
  2. Be Consistent – You must be consistent in all areas of your life for the most part, but be flexible when needed.  If you’re inconsistent you won’t be taken seriously by your family, co-workers or anyone else that you influence.    
  3.  Become An Achiever –  Set goals and make a plan to achieve them.  It’s important to be an example for your children in this area.  Achieving goals requires stamina and hard work.  
  4. Be Positive – I read daily affirmations to help me stay positive.
  5. Have a sense of humor – You will make mistakes along the way.  Be able to laugh, pick yourself up and move on.
If you don’t want to obtain a mentor, surround yourself with positive people who have arrived at the destination that you’re trying to achieve.  Ask for advice when you need it.  Unfortunately, there isn’t a road map how to achieve success in your business or on how to be a good mother.  Becoming confident and believing in yourself will help you achieve your goals in all areas of your life.  Your spouse, partner and children will see it and believe it.  Take the first step and everything else will fall into place.

 

8 Reasons to Use Gift Bags

Image-Reasons-To-Use-Gift-Bags


Do you use gift bags or wrapping paper when you give gifts?  I used to love wrapping gifts, and I was pretty good at it.  I spotted a gift bag while shopping for wrapping paper one day, and decided to give one a try.  I have never looked back and from the looks of this gift table others think the same way.

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Guest Bloggers Wanted

 

Mother to Mother is looking for guest bloggers.  If you’re interested in being a guest blogger, please contact me at rhonda@mother2motherblog.com  I’m looking for posts on parenting, tips to overcome life’s struggles, recipes, budgeting, tips on furniture makeovers, decorating, travel,  gardening etc.  
 
Mother 2 Mother has high standard for guest posts.  Articles/posts must be professional, grammatically correct, the content must flow and the post must be a unique (not be published on another blog).  Bloggers must be established.  
 
For additional information, please contact me at the email address above.  Looking forward to working with you.