It’s that time of year…

It’s that time of year where we start to think about holiday shopping, cooking, gift giving and giving back.

We are always looking for fun and new products out there for our friends and family.

If you are tired of buying the same gifts well here are some new, different and innovative products for everyone. It can be such a difficult time for many people – finding the right gift for people is a tricky task. Whether you want to take the person out somewhere special, pick them up a little something small, or Design your photo blankets to give something unique and special, you need the inspiration and ideas to help you.

Melissa had the opportunity this morning to work with some wonderful companies and share holiday gift ideas with stations around the country. Here are some new and fun products to check out!

Baby Einstein: My kids have grown up with this award-winning brand. They have 3 new interactive toys out this year including the Discovery Music Activity Table, Discovery Kits, and their Book of Puppies. Range from $8-$40. Visit for more info.

Pantech Pocket from Pantech Wireless: Available through AT&T’s 4G network, this phone is great for mom’s on the go looking to upgrade to a touch screen option. It has a large screen and keypad, it’s durable and so affordable at $49.99 with a 2 year contract.

a href=”” target=”_blank”>Sleep Number AirFit Adjustable Pillow: Lastly, a great gift idea for anyone on your list is the gift of a good nights sleep. Since they may already have access to something like the best CBD brand in the UK and all of its products to help with their sleeping patterns, the next best thing is this pillow that features a dial that you can use to personalize your sleeping comfort. This is just one of the many options you have out there to increase your comfort. Get inspired by the bamboo sheets here on It’s so innovative, and one of the three pillow options is wrapped in CoolFit Foam that creates a cooler, more comfortable sleep experience. Find at or one of the 400 Sleep Number stores nationwide. They start at $190.

Grease The Video Game: I love games that the family can play together that get us up and moving and this one is awesome. You can sing or dance to your favorite Grease songs and up to 8 people can play. Available for $49.99 for Xbox Kinect and Playstation Move. If you love gaming as a family, you can’t go wrong with games from Nintendo – particularly the Mario franchise. Check out mario and luigi superstar saga rom to see how you get on and then think about branching out into their wealth of other games. Kids and adults alike love them and it’s quite easy to get lost in them for hours. They really are beautifully crafted!

Do you bribe your kids?

BY Denise Albert

I’ve always said that bribe is a bad name for negotiation. But lately, I’ve caught myself bribing my kids for more than just a negotiation. I’ve been bribing before a negotiation even begins. As soon as my latest bribe came out of my mouth last weekend, I realized, I must put an end to it!

I wanted to go to the gym (I mean, I might have access to blogs like but I still need to workout) and even though my 3-year-old son loves the babysitting playroom, he sometimes tries to negotiate with me about the hour long drop off. I didn’t want any issues. So as we were walking out the door I told him where we were going and without missing a beat, I jumped right in offering to stop at the store to buy him the thomas train I anticipated he was going to ask for in conjunction with being dropped off while I worked out.

The moment I paid for another train he didn’t need, I decided my bribes have got to stop!

I can’t be the only one who has used bribery for a little down time, right? I just have to go back to using my bribes better!

Here’s MOMmentary from Melissa, and bloggers Jennifer Brandt and Alex Fitzpatrick.


Come on moms! Children need to understand the word NO.

Have I ever bribed my kids, yes. Do I make a habit of it, no. I believe in raising kids to understand limits and rules.

There is a time and a place for a bribe. For me, it is a mechanism used for situations that are out of your hands. One example would be in a customs line at the airport or any air travel scenario where you are stuck.

My kids also know that their mom cannot be pushed over and if they begin to whine and not listen, I only become more firm on my stance.

I am however easily persuaded for requests from my children that involve “one more book mom” or “can I have just one more kiss good night.” That is when rules are made to be broken.

I bribe my son – Bribe with a capital B! I try to keep this tactic to a minimum but it usually comes in handy during the bedtime hostage standoff when he doesn’t want to brush his teeth and I bribe him (I mean “negotiate”) using the number of books he’ll get. The same goes for TV. TV is great for bribing. Honestly though trying to encourage my son to take his dental health more seriously is not easy! Getting your child to go to the dentist can be a struggle sometimes too. I was actually talking to a friend of mine about this the other day. Her son recently went for his first ever checkup at Oak Street Dental. She told me that she also finds it tricky to get her son to brush his teeth, but since going to the dentist he has shown more interest in taking care of his teeth as he wants them to be healthy and white. She still had to bribe her son with some fun stickers, but apart from that, she has apparently noticed a big improvement in his brushing habits! I suppose it is all about finding what works for your little one without trying to put too much pressure on them. Hopefully, we can get to a point where we can head to the family dentist practice without too many tantrums. The more time that children put into caring for their teeth now, the less likely they will be to need future dental procedures. As so many children don’t take care of their teeth, there can be issues with teeth staining and not being straight. To fix this, some people will have to choose whether to get lumineers or veneers when they’re older. Lumineers tend to provide less than perfect results, so most people do tend to choose veneers. Make sure children take good care of their teeth, or they may have to undergo cosmetic dental treatments to improve their teeth.

Bribery doesn’t have to be a dirty word…It’s all in the way it’s presented. Of course I bribe my boys. In fact, when done correctly I believe it actually is an effective tool in rewarding good behavior. Truth be told, I can’t imagine a trip to the grocery store without the promise of getting to choose a pack of gum in the check out line…as long as the boys behave. The key is, if they don’t behave then you have to follow through and no matter the howls or screams or disapproving looks of customers who clearly forgot what it is like to have young children, they don’t get to choose their gum treats. Bottom line, bribes work…I mean, what’s an allowance other than a bribe to do some household chores, right? Santa? He’s a bribe when you think about it, we get a good month or so out of him. An upcoming trip to Disneyland is always worth the price of admission! Bribery is such a harsh description…let’s just call it incentive.

Gifts that give back

BY Denise Albert

We love giving. But there’s nothing better than giving gifts that give back. This year, our gift guide includes items that give back. We’ve picked a wide range and hope if you still have gifts to buy, you’ll consider doing it to help others. Whether it’s jewelry or a pair of personalized photo socks (calcetines faciales personalizados for Spanish speakers), there are tons of gift ideas just waiting for you. The wide range of gift ideas that are available to us in the market is sure to give you innovative concepts. If you have pets, you could also consider getting your pet face on pillow – I’m sure if you have pet lovers around, they’ll love the gift! Pet lovers that are truly in love with their pet actually would probably prefer something for their pet, not themselves. For example, Fetching Ware and many other dog accessory brands are available to buy from, whether you are looking for a collar or a harness – there is so much to choose from. Treating your dog lover friend to a gift for their dog will really mean a lot to them… and their dog!

But if you’re really done, how about taking your kids along for an afternoon of giving?

Today, Melissa and I appeared on NBC’s Nonstop Day of Giving. To us, the most important message for our kids this time of year (and all year round) is to help others. We’re hoping our mom missions are passed to our kids in an easy to understand way.

We hope our kids understand that every dollar counts and now through the end of the year, thanks to a very generous donor, every dollar given to Robin Hood will be matched – up to $20 million – but ONLY if we raise the WHOLE $20 million. So give! And if you’re really done giving all new, it’s easy to grab your kids and go through what you don’t need or haven’t used and call Baby Buggy!

And if you’re already done giving and shopping, perhaps you’ll buy early and save for next year. Remember – these are all gifts that give back – and what’s better than that?!?!

Jamie Wolf Signature Jewelry Collection
Jamie Wolf left the New York City Ballet to pursue her passion of design and fashion, but never forgot where she came from. The ten years she spent as a dancer has influenced the aesthetics of her designs. Jamie Wolf’s collection combines true timeless femininity while working with a classically beautiful and sophisticated edge, and 50% of all sales from the signature collection donated to the New York City Ballet

Warby Parker Frames
Warby Parker ensures that with every pair of glasses sold, someone in need will be given access to affordable glasses. Knowing that you will be changing someone’s life who doesn’t have the opportunity to do so themselves makes this thoughtful gift an extraordinary find! “Buy a Pair, Give a Pair.

A|X Armani Exchange Dance 4 Life T-Shirt
The Holiday season is about giving back, and A|X Armani Exchange Dance4Life T-Shirt does just that! Model Doutzen Kroes partnered with the brand and for just $35 for this unisex and chic t-shirt. The best part — 100% of the profits supports dance4life education initiatives and their efforts to create programs that inspire, educate, and mobilize young people to lead the global dance4life movement to stop the spread of HIV and AIDS.
Every Mother Counts, “Give Tradition
Christy Turlington, Founder of Every Mother Counts, has curated a “Give Tradition” themed sale for Gilt! The sale features Christy’s favorite items for men, women, kids, and home. It’s a great chance to pick up last-minute gifts hand-selected by one of the world’s most beautiful people. After years on the catwalk, Christy now devotes a great deal of her time to her charity, which strives to increase education and support for maternal and child health. Moreover, kind people like her are often known to stand for a cause and encourage others for becoming donors supporters, and volunteers. Though it is unclear how Christy reaches millions of people so easily, it could be assumed that she takes the help of SMS marketing software applications (which could be available at Tatango and similar websites). Since SMS marketing is known to be quite effective in dealing with the complex needs of non-profit fundraising, it could be possible that she takes the help of such technological tools. Anyway, it goes without saying that the world is in desperate need of people like Christy who are more inclined to charity.

Grosgrain Kids
Searching for the perfect gift for your daughter, granddaughter, or friend? Everyone will love these handmade barrettes, headbands, and hair accessories organizers for girls. Everything is affordable! And a portion of the profits is donated to the Children’s Tumor Foundation. With every purchase, you help contribute to raising awareness and funds research to help end Neurofibromatosis. For a limited time only, get 20% off the entire site when you enter the coupon code DEC20!

Hearts For Hearts Girls
Know a girl who wears her heart on her sleeve? A Hearts for Hearts Doll is the most perfect or selfless gift! Every Hearts for Hearts doll represents a real girl from a real place around the world. The girls’ stories will take you on a journey, and their ideas to make life better, for her family, community, country, and the world around her will pull at your heartstrings. Starting at only $29.99 for each doll, a portion of the sales is donated to programs that support girls in that doll’s country.

Nest For Empowering Women
The intricate design on this pretty leather wallet was hand-tooled in Indonesia. With plenty of pockets and credit card slots, it’s ideal for helping her manage her money, and it will also help female artists in developing countries earn theirs. The proceeds from this wallet and all other items sold on Nest go directly to micro-loans that help female artists and designers pursue their passions and provide for their families. $49

ONEHOPE – Pink Perfection Gift Basket
Incredible strides have been made in the fight against breast cancer, which explains why there are more women living with breast cancer, surviving, and remaining cancer free than ever before. With the Pink Perfection Gift Basket, ONEHOPE donates 50% of its profits towards breast cancer research. Also amazingly, a portion of your purchase goes to a charity of your choice. What better way to help give back! $75.

More gifts that give back

BY Denise Albert


There’s nothing better than giving. We know that first hand. Last week, we hosted a blogger party at 77 Kids. There’s nothing better than giving to our peers, especially with great gift ideas, so thanks to 77 kids we were able to give shopping sprees to over 50 bloggers and their kids.

We brought our kids to our holiday event which featured DJ on the rise DJ Fulano, his mentor (and DJ to the stars) DJ Cassidy.

And Cassidy is not only a mentor to Fulano but a great gift to all kids who are looking for inspiration. Cassidy even let the kids know some of the ins and outs of becoming a DJ if they so wished to in the future, he even highlighted points in which it can be easier to “make it” with fewer resources, such as options to put equipment on dj finance, so new and upcoming DJ’s can afford some top-of-line equipment to improve their music production quality, plus loads more! He was the perfect gift for the day for our kids who couldn’t wait to talk about music and ask him questions about what he does.

In our spirit of giving back, we are also donating some of our items to other kids.

And last week we suggested custom gifts idea that gives back and many of you asked for more. Some of us would like to give the gifts personally, but not everybody can afford the time. You can turn to courier services to send the parcel on time, as some services like startrack couriers can get them delivered interstate and internationally. So with that in mind and in the spirit of giving – we’ve put a few more together for you….

So if you still have shopping to do, or if you want to get a head start for next year, take a look.

A great webstore selling gifts for kids, cares about giving back. They want every child to feel as fortunate as theirs do. So, this December, they are letting our customers be gift heroes! They have 3 awesome hero-themed gifts and will set aside 5% of retail sales of these products to purchase toys for children in need.

Good Deeds Gifts & Bid for a Dream Holiday Auction
t_image003-2_1.jpgBloomingdale’s has now launched Good Deeds Gifts and theBid for a Dream Holiday Auction. Purchase Bloomingdale’s Little Brown Teddy Bear by Gund for only $18, ornaments from Radko, designed by celebrities such as Heidi Klum, Kim Kardashian, Al Roker and more at only $40 a piece, or the Theodora & Callum multi-print scarf for $175. A portion of each sale will all benefit the Child Mind Institute this holiday season!

t_25_17_SKIP-Silver-Pendant-Large.gifSKIP of New York
Deirdre Imus suggests the jewelry from Skip of New York. The No Place Like Home silver pendant is the perfect gift to mark any milestone. You are giving someone a beautiful gift that signifies home and the love it represents so they always carry it with them. Offering two sizes and starting at only $175, 100% of profits from Home Collection jewelry sales go to SKIP of New York to help make the dream of home real for thousands of sick and developmentally disabled kids.

The go to book guide for everyone

BY Denise Albert

Do you have someone in your life who has been a guide, a support system or even just the person to run an idea off of? For me, it’s been Lisa Sharkey. Since my first job out of college, she’s been my go-to for everything ranging from job choices to a contractor for my new apartment.


Now, if I need a book, a topic to write about or even a babysitter (her kids!) — she’s still the one. I don’t know how many times I’ve told her to broaden her horizons and to look for additional publishing options, similar to Amazon publishing, so more people can make the most of her words of wisdom. But she just wants to focus on her writing for the time being. That’s fair enough, I guess. And lucky for all of us, as a Senior Vice President and Director of Creative Development at HarperCollin, she’s also the one to go to for any sort of expertise about your next good read.

If you’re in the spirit of giving and don’t know what to get for people in your life, she’s done your work for you.

What do you get your boss? Or your cousin? What should you get your boyfriend, would he be happy with something like these five senses gift for him or would a book be the perfect gift? Not sure about your mother-in-law, or uncle — well there’s something very specific for everyone below.

Holiday Gift suggestions
from HarperCollins Publishers

Fiction and nonfiction for your…

GBC.jpgBoss: Great By Choice, Jim Collins
Ten years after the worldwide bestseller Good to Great, Jim Collins returns with another groundbreaking work, this time to ask: why do some companies thrive in uncertainty, even chaos, and others do not? Collins and Morten Hansen enumerate the principles for building a truly great enterprise in unpredictable, tumultuous and fast-moving times.

Father: State of Wonder, Ann Patchett
From the NYT bestselling author of Bel Canto and Run, a major and explosively ambitious new novel, set in the Amazonian jungle, both a gripping adventure story and a profound investigation of difficult human choices

t_9780061732379.jpgMother: Dressmaker of Khair Khana, Gayle Tzemach Lemmon
The story of a fearless young entrepreneur who brought hope to the lives of dozens of women in war-torn Afghanistan, written by a former reporter for ABC News.

Son: Through My Eyes, Tim Tebow
Former University of Florida star quarterback, first round draft pick of the Denver Broncos, and devout Christian, Tim Tebow, tells the story of his faith, his life, football, and how he and his family keep up with the beautiful game, with the help of Sportsbooks from time to time.
Great book for the whole family. Parents will enjoy reading along with children and discussing Tim’s dual spiritual and athletic journey.

Daughter: Everygirl’s Guide to Life, Maria Menounos
Maria Menounos, host of Access Hollywood and a young star in both the entertainment world and news industry, shares her experiences and practical tips that every girl, famous or not famous, wealthy or not wealthy, can apply daily, toward achieving a more successful, prosperous and healthy appearance and life.

t_EverythingBeautifulBeganAfter.jpgGirlfriend: anything by award-winning British author Simon van Booy. Try:

  • Everything Beautiful Began After: Love story set among the ruins of Athens.
  • Love Begins in Winter: A collection of stories from award-winning writer Simon Van Booy, that with tender empathy finds beauty in sadness, and pain in love.

Boyfriend: Lost in Shangri-La, Mitchell Zuckoff
One of the last untold stories of World War II, the extraordinary mission to rescue male and female survivors of a U.S. military plane crash in an isolated corner of the South Pacific, and the ancient indigenous tribe members that aided those stranded on the ground in this “Shangri-La.

Grandfather: How I Got This Way, Regis Philbin
In what is essentially a memoir and a primer for living the good life all rolled into one, this beloved TV icon shares the secrets to success and happiness as he has learned them from his innumerable celebrity encounters, friendships and of course, from his relationship with his loving wife and family.

t_261120_108038222549398_579594_n.jpgGrandmother: How to Love an American Man, Kristine Gasbarre
When unlucky-in-love-Krissy moves back home to mourn her grandfather’s death and take care of her newly widowed grandmother, she learns her grandma’s valuable lessons on love and, when she applies them with a nudge from Grandma, she allows herself to fall for a man with an old-fashioned approach to romance.

Mother-in-Law: Dear Cary, Dyan Cannon
For the first time, with heartrending honesty and emotion, actress Dyan Cannon tells the story of her May-December relationship and marriage to Hollywood legend Cary Grant.

Father-in-Law: Red, Sammy Hagar
One of rock music’s most successful and notorious singers, tells the story of his life in music–from his raucous solo career to his to his decade-long journey as lead singer for Van Halen and everything in between.

Cousin: Out of Oz, Gregory Maguire
The world of Oz comes full circle in Gregory Maguire’s fourth and final novel in the New York Times bestselling series THE WICKED YEARS.

Uncle: The Sisters Brother, Patrick DeWitt
A darkly comic novel about the picaresque misadventures of two hired guns, the fabled Sisters brothers, set against the back-drop of the great California Gold Rush.

t_9780061740237.jpgAunt: Emily Post’s Etiquette, 18th Edition, Peggy Post
The most trusted name in etiquette returns to tackle the latest issues of the twenty-first century-from texting and tweeting to iPhones and Facebook-in this completely updated and gorgeously packaged new edition.