Prime for the New Mom

 

You’ve heard us say it over and again – with every baby a new mother is born. And,with Amazon Prime day here – I say, let’s be generous and take good care of these remarkable women. Let’s show some TLC ASAP! Here are some of my picks – cozy, confidence building, conditioning and clear path to speaking the language of love and care.  Go for it!

Ankis Cross Band Cozy Plush Home Slippers 

Mario Badescu Moisturizing Lip Balm 

thisworks Deep Sleep Pillow Talk Set

lilu Massager Bra

Amazon Prime Day

SMARTLESS – MUST KEEP LAUGHING

 

Must Keep Laughing

There is little to laugh about these days. I can spell it out, list the horrors – one by one. Rather, I am going to share with you how I am making it through. There will likely be many of you who imagine the answer is Levain Cookies. And that is not a bad guess – in fact, not a bad idea at all….Fiction, while yes, I am lucky to be in an escapist one-two punch of Emma Straub and Linda Holmes’ latest volumes that is not it either. Yoga – is a given – and not really for laughter. And I think you are all aware I am just days away from our new puppy. I have got the good stuff. But this is not what will keep me laughing.

The answer dearest friend of the It’s Working Project is Smartless, yup – The Smartless podcast. As a gen-Xer, the triad of Justin Bateman, Sean Hayes and Will Arnett are like a gift from the way-back machine. These are the boys who were my brothers – the ones with whom I hung in High School and College. Note for the record, I did not date bros – I dated older boys – these were my hangs – concerts and cheesesteaks in Philly-town Bars and learning to drive a stick-shift on Foxhall in DC. These were my absolute favorite people .And now, when the moment calls for this the most – they have reappeared in the form of the Smartless Podcast. And I laugh and laugh… following the credo – Must Keep Laughing!

I am deeply committed, aka addicted to the weekly fabulousness. It is my salve for the insanity of the moment. And WOW – this is great, pitch-perfect, unscripted and familiar. I am hooked and happy. 

Will an hour a week remove the horrors of the day?  Nope, an hour will not. However, it will give me the elusive laugh, out loud and from the core. This is my fix, my addiction – and I suggest you join me!

Smartless is an excellent goal, for all of us…

 

Smartless Podcast

Make It Stop

 

MAKE IT STOP

CHECK

For many, the month of May means an endlessly filling inbox rife with reasons to celebrate and, yes, spend around Mother’s Day. For those who have experienced loss around motherhood, in any of its forms, including: 

  • PPD
  • Pregnancy Loss
  • Stillbirth
  • Loss of Mother
  • Poor Relationship with Mother

Mother’s day solicitations can feel like an onslaught of painful reminders. With each refresh comes the potential of yet another uncomfortable jolt of a range of complicated bereavement, not easy stuff. This year, some wonderfully caring brands have taken a kinder approach. Blue Mercury, Dana RebeccaUrban Stems, 1-800 Flowers, Frye, Blue Bottle Coffee, EtsyMaman, and others have offered to remove anyone who asks from these lists. This reflects not only cultural sensitivity, but authentic interest in the health of the relationship between brand and customer. 

While sites may still push Gifts and ways to honor Moms, at least one’s email is free of the suggestion turned trigger. 

Thank you to the brands who took the time to think this one through. Thank you to the executives who are showing their understanding of consumer-facing respect. And to those who, despite the money to be made from this “holiday,” know that their reputation for care is worth more…

 

Make It Stop

Summer Intern

The It’s Working Project is thrilled to open applications for our summer internship.

Our commitment to anyone on our team is real and ongoing. We want to be a part of your evolution – you will grow, learn and most certainly laugh as you support our work. Ideally, you are a student looking for a credit-earning opportunity. This is a time sensitive project which will afford you not only the experience of deadlines and full-team engagement, it will also provide you with an understanding of all sorts of fabulous experiences including presentations, team meetings, strategic planning and much more. You will have fun, make connections for life and find energy and excitement in your work.

YOU:

Motivated. Energized by a great idea. A high-level problem solver who takes pride in a job well done. Eager to engage with a small and passionate team best known for their pride in all they do. You are a super organized individual who would bring a lot of smarts and care to the digital side of It’s Working Project.

RESPONSIBILITIES:

To include: developing a category strategy for stories. Implementing strategy via tactics on and off site. Updating all legal usage forms to comply with changes and upcoming book projects. Analysis of existing site and SM initiatives.

 

This work can be done remotely. We are based in Chevy Chase, Maryland. Hours based on your class requirements though no less than 15 per week. We are an equal opportunity employer and deeply committed to the power of true diversity.

Send your resume to: INFO@FORTYWEEKS.COM

 

IWP Summer Intern

National Pretzel Day

 

What could National Pretzel Day possibly have to do with professional growth? It turns out – a great deal.

 

Philly Pretzel
Philly Pretzel

 

The year is 1986. I am an intern at Philadelphia Magazine. I am living the dream. CP shades clothing with shoulder pads, hair choppy and heavily highlighted, commuting via Septa (sometimes a ride from my Dad) and feeling extra lucky for the gene pool in which I am swimming. Let’s be honest, I really wanted to work in the Promotions Department. As the youngest cousin I was given a hard “no” – I was disappointed. The coveted Promotions internship would come the next summer. 

 

This year was my year to learn Circulation. My leader was a woman named Pauline Gramiack. And this year, the Year of Our Lord 1986, to keep this all in pre-historic context, was one in which circulation came via subscription and via newsstand sales. And, the only way to evaluate and identify growth opportunities in newsstand sales was to sit in dark, dusty spaces within each distributor’s warehouse and read the microfiche (please google it – you would not believe me if I explained it anyway). And so I did. I was interested in the outcome, I was going to lift those numbers, something fierce. I had Don Henley and Bruce playing in my head – this was serious. Simply put, the amount of magazines moved was dependent on the numbers of magazines delivered to newsstands. And that number was impacted by the men (ya that is what it was, again – please not now) who drove the trucks. 

 

I identified my target. I asked to have time with these truck drivers. I was invited to bring in breakfast. BINGO. 

 

I gathered all the Philly foods I could – Tastykakes and Pretzels to name a few. I was all fired up. Ready to bring on my charm and my call to action. I was young and full of energy. To put it a slightly differently – I was young and I had a lot to learn.

 

What I learned from the experience: Always ask questions. These may have included – who else will be with me that morning? How long will I have to present? How often do the drivers participate in these events? And the big one, Will any other magazines be in attendance? 

How I learned this: I showed up with dozens of pretzels (with mustard, obviously)  served old school aka full of street germs on cardboard, in all of their Philly-glory. This a gift from, and on behalf of Philadelphia Magazine. Ski Magazine arrived with oversized t-shirts. And Penthouse Magazine – well they had Pets. You know stunning, scantily clothed women there to flirt their magazine into increased newsstand sales. 

Penthouse Pet, you get it.

 

And so, that is it folks. That is how National Pretzel Day will always be a not so subtle reminder of the process of learning. And, how we take bruises as a part of our growth. Of how EQ includes knowing what to ask and knowing when the holy Philadelphia soft pretzel is about to be cast aside in favor of some curvy and captivating pet.

 

 

Shower the Day Away

 

I was so very impressed with KOVAL president, Dr. Sonat Birnecker’s advice. She suggested that mothers take long showers as it might be the only time you get to yourself.

Well, I couldn’t agree more. My pre-bed shower is always much-appreciated, and hard-earned. Not only is there quiet – in my case, it is an opportunity to curate the mood, bring the day’s tension and the adrenaline down and dream of, well, a dreamy night’s sleep.

For me, this includes a selection of products. Beware, these are my gems and as such – on the luxe side of things (read as not inexpensive and worth every cent). Here are some quick hacks to manage your way out of being priced out.

SAMPLES – ask and ye shall receive… really, just ask at your local Blue Mercury, Sephora or other keeper of the goods.
NEW CLIENT DISCOUNTS – some of my favorite brands including REN, Indie Lee, ShhhowerCap and others offer discounts for first-time clients, go that route.
WISH LIST – keep your list handy – you never know you will ask how they can support you.

And now the goods:

Fresh
Sugar Scrub
I was an early adaptor to the line, and this was their first product. I like to take my time and let it both scrub and moisturize. The smell is incredible. And the grains feel just right.

REN
Moroccan Rose Otto SugarBody Polish
This delight is ever-so-lightly scented making it nearly impossible to overdo…just pure relaxation.

Aromatherapy
De-stress Mind Bath and Shower Oil.
Use sparingly, like a careful ritual. A small amount goes a very long way. Fills the shower with the most perfect scent – consider it an invitation to let go of the day and make your way to sleep.

 

Indie Lee
Sleep Body Wash
No words, just ahhhh! This is my most recent find and new love. I combine the shower product with a few fabulous sprays of their Pillow Mist and declare the day done.

 

Finally, the perfect showercap. Come on – who washes their hair everyday? I know!!! And yes I own, gift and suggest this to anyone who will listen…I hope you are listening! Right now I am crazy for the Novel and the Stir – how about you? And better still, I found a discount.

 

Sunday Morning – DC

 

Last was a busy week. Among the moments, I had the great fortune of two extraordinary phone calls with the powers that be at Vivvi. One was a drop in with co-founder Charles Bonello and one an overdue with new hire Jessica Pallay now editorial director. Lucky me!

 

As a long-time fan of Vivvi there is always much to catch-up on. And with Jessica , the fun of the conversation is in the journey. She is a writer who joins in with her optimism and curiosity ready to go! Do you miss New York?  Yes I truly do… And how about  DC? DC is a place where they advocate though rarely execute. Realy there is no action. Not a shifting culture type of town. Not the private sector type. Not the amplification, branding, defining strategic play. Nope, DC thinks differently. Here the dialog is incredibly stimulating, empowering and it does create a feeling of possibility (some days). And New York?  And of course, I miss my incredible network of friends and associates. I miss my other world. And I miss the spontaneity of it all. 

 

And for now, for this moment, deep in winter, on the cusp of the two year anniversary of Covid –  I am in DC. 

 

It is Sunday Morning. Compass Coffee in Spring Valley, DC is full. I am waiting. If I were to close my eyes maybe, just maybe the smell of lovingly roasted and brewed coffee would help me to pretend I was in New York, waiting at Birch Coffee for my morning fix. But my ears are open too – and I am flooded with those uniquely DC idioms – 

I heard this on NPR

He applied for the fellowship

She is freelance grant writing while she waits for a position to open up at the NGO

 

And one more, so deeply DC, from my husband, Bob Mazer:

I think we will make it just in time for Meet the Press!

And he is right, we will!

Are you Listening to a Podcast or Just Ignoring Me?

 

ARE YOU LISTENING TO A PODCAST OR JUST IGNORING ME?

Maybe Both…

Dog walking is absolutely a time to think about something else. I actually love the cold – bundled up and walking Ms. Addie is such a great gift. When people throw around the idea of self care, I am one of the first to remind, that it includes space just for you.

 

ARE YOU LISTENING TO A PODCAST OR JUST IGNORING ME?

 

Though even in that space, it is hard to find the still. Thus the walk and listen…

So I have a plan that involves meditation for true quiet and self-focus (that would be Peloton, thank you Aditi, Chelsea and Kristen). And Podcasts for the walking win. Learn a little, lose yourself a little. Here is what I am listening to these days:

 

No Stupid Questions – A reminder I have a mind-crush on Stephen Dubner –  as in he was a central part of my last big birthday. Here he pairs with Angela Duckworth (she is all kinds of fabulous and spends her days teaching and researching at Penn), authoring GRIT and keeping this podcast rich on humor and sharp POVs. Posting weekly, I am never (or have not been so far) disappointed.

No Stupid Questions Podcast

Women at Work – Oh how I love this brilliant and dedicated threesome. Amy, Amy and Emily are my IT GIRLS! Together they share insights on what is happening, where we might be going and yes, how – as in options. It is a well curated bag of it all – the good, bad and SOS calls for action. The conversations are careful to consider multiple points of view and the guests add a extra layer of valuable insight.

Women at Work Podcast

Table Manners – I am mad for this mother daughter duo. Jesse Ware and her super fabulous and perhaps too honest mum, Lennie are all kinds of off-the-charts delicious!  They are equal parts fans and foodies. And the best part – they are so much fun their guests seem quick to catch the vibe and enjoy the laughter, love and always libations (bubbles, yes please!) in the room!

Table Manners Podcast

Miracle and Wonder – The triad of Paul Simon, Malcolm Gladwell and Bruce Headlam are having the best time. It feels like we are all curious and cannot wait for the next episode. Paul is generous with this genius and backstory. I adore that he really does not want to put down his guitar or keep anything about his childhood, relationships and world-view to himself. I am likely to listen again. It is really that good! 

Miracle and Wonder Podcast

 

Pop Culture Happy Hour – you don’t know what you are missing – which is why I listen. If I don’t know about what to watch, listen to, try, etc. –  now I do. And if I have, the crew adds a new perspective.  Most recently an episode on Abbot Elementary really helped me to reframe the show in my own mind. I am a fan of Linda Holmes – new book out this Spring y’all – and she gathers an amazing, quirky and smart crew to her party.

Pop Culture Happy Hour Podcast

Long January

LONG JANUARY

 

Somehow this month, this January feels endless. Or so it seems. 

Short days, long dark nights.

I am cold and somehow cold leads to a non-negotiable need to linger longer and longer on the couch (it is a tete-a-tete, I need to be honest and it is the one of the most perfect purchases I’ve made).

The couch calls for my beloved blanket (Yes, get one from Anthro ASAP) and the blanket calls for a book.

Then the dog. Then music. The candle lit and sending good vibes everywhere. Then a nap. Then the best idea ever – popcorn and chocolate for dinner. 

 

So for those of you who have defined better for yourselves and perhaps feel you are not meeting the mark – consider me your true North – I can absolutely make you feel better about whatever you may not be getting done. 

 

In the meantime – here is a short list of the things that are keeping me in the spirit of listening to my love of the sensory…

 

 

  • Playlists like my current fave by me THIS TOO SHALL PASS including Dolly Parton (Happy Birthday) with Linda Ronstant and Emilou Harris- When we’re gone, long  gone – the only thing that will matter is the love that we shared and the way that we cared- when we were gone, long gone. 

 

So I must ask – what is on your January short list? What can you share with the rest of us? All ideas welcome!

 

XXOO

JSB

 

The Gift of Your Story

 

Sometimes I imagine that I have nothing else to do but listen. Listen to stories of how we find ourselves making our way from here to there. From one life phase to another. Be it slowly and methodically or rapid fire and unexpected. Or more likely, some combination of both. What we see coming or maybe what we missed. What we registered days or weeks later and what we felt in our  bones long before the actual moment in which the ground shifted right under our feet.

 

These are your stories of Caring. Caring about all that you feel connected to  – partner, children, parents, career, home, community, siblings, friends, maybe even self. Self – the one who loves to run or cook, read or cycle, garden, paint, renovate or shoot images — there is so much that brings joy. Sadly this so much is what ultimately leaves us gasping for breath while the now well understood and inevitable Panini Press continues to come in hot, making impact with little mercy (I’m melting). Remember the sandwich generation — that sounds nice! 

 

So I listen and I share. These stories are a gift. They are intimate and powerful. They are authentic and they are honest. They are what I love the most about connecting with each of you and you to each other — the shared stories. 

 

I am asking for you to share your stories. Ask your friends and family to do the same. We know that we are here, in the Panini Generation. We know that the demographics of older parents (30 year old average) with older parents (living longer as well) means that at the very least – parents will be actively involved with caring for both their children and their parents within the same decade and then onward. 

 

We need your stories so that we can support each other through sharing.

 

That is the gift of sharing. Share here.

 

 

The Gift of Your Story