A Year Ago Today, I Was Diagnosed With Cancer — Here’s How I’m Doing Now

One year ago today was the day my life changed forever. I received the call that no one ever wants to get. I heard the words too many people hear, “I’m sorry your biopsy tested positive for cancer. It’s malignant.” In that instant, at age 41, I was a divorced, working mom with two young boys and I also became a #FutureCancerSurvivor. I immediately joined a club no one ever thinks they will be a part of.

Read the entire article at GoodHousekeeping.com

Last Minute Holiday Deals

The Holiday Countdown is on! With only six days to go, we have great Holiday deals for all of the busy moms who don’t always have the time to get all the holiday shopping done. Below we have compiled a list for some last minute deals for your kids. (And who knows you may want to pick up a few items for yourself as well!). The ones we love the most…The gifts that give back…see below for more!

Plus…if you know any families in need this holiday season, please email [email protected]. Within our community, we have a list of families who want to help those less fortunate!

Gifts under $20

Disney Moana Canoe Boat Set | Beados B Sweet Scoop ‘n Mix | H & M Sparkle wallets and purses | Littlest Pet Shop Shuttle Vehicle | Melty Bead Sea Animals DIY Kit | Play-Doh Doctor Drill and FillRetro Trouble Board Game | Shopkins | Yoobi Color Layers Markers | Yoobi Scratch Art Set | Yoobi Sketch Pad 

Gifts Under $50

Animal Planet Animal Alphabet Playpad | Baby Alive Baby Go Bye Bye Doll | Body Glove Mermaid Linden Hoodie Towel | Monopoly Ultimate Banking | My Little Pony Guardians of Harmony | Nabi Compete 2 Pack | The Brushies | Yoobi Duffle Bag

Under $100

Furby Connect | Fur Real Friends Torch My Blazin Dragon | Hatchimal | KIDBOX | Little Bits Rule Your Room Kit | Mega Books American Girl| Nabi Hot Wheels Edition | Nerf Mega Mastadon Blaster | Paw Patrol Zoomer | Punchcase Charging Wallet | StateBags


Discovery Foldable Tent | Yvolution Y Flyer  | WildKin TeePees

‘Tis the Season to Dine

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post by Marie Calender’s. All opinions expressed are my own.

When you are a mom, you never slow down. The holidays are where we vamp up even more. We are running around with those lists, and checking them twice and praying that no one get sick as there is too much to do always. From the holiday shopping to the school functions, to the holiday entertaining, it just never ends. Quite often while planning and entertaining, you can get lost in the stress and forget the most important reason why we do what we do, and that is to spend time with friends and our family. My friend was telling me how they freed up more money for fun with the family by changing their energy provider they got the best deal through a great energy comparison site like SimplySwitch.

There is absolutely nothing more important than spending the holidays with friends and family and relaxed. When you live in New York City, you often make many adjustments to how you entertain and how many people you can entertain. This is all due to the dining space and having limited room. If you are still yet to purchase something like a dining table for the festive period and know you have family coming round, you could look into a site like furniture in fashion to choose a high quality and modern product to fit your dining room. You may have decided that you want to switch things up a bit and go for an antique look, in which case, sites such as antiquesworld.co.uk may be worth checking out. No matter what look you’re going for, as long it is what you had in mind, that’s all that matters.

While the dining room is the center of American family traditions during the holiday season, not everyone has one. In fact, the average New York City apartment is nearly half the size of the US average. Whilst this seems like a problem, it isn’t. There are numerous other places that families can look to dine. For example, those who live in slightly warmer areas might be brave enough to take their dining outdoors. As long as there’s somewhere flat to sit, such as on a patio or some trex composite decking boards, it should be fine to spend some time relaxing outdoors with your family. However, if you live in a slightly colder area, there might be some restaurants around that could help you out. For example, we were thrilled when we learned about Marie Callender’s opening up, #TheDiningRoom.

Guests have the opportunity to reserve the room for up to 15 guests, and what a perfect place to throw our own intimate holiday celebration with some of our closest friends. There is nothing better than comfort food and good wine with your friends, so this holiday season we have decided to #SavorTheSeason with some of our favorite Moms, downtown in Soho.

There are 3 dining rooms to choose from and each of the rooms were designed and co-created by 3 different celebrities, Daphne Oz, Jennie Garth and Stacy London, so visually it is quite stunning. But for us, the most important reason to venture to The Marie Callendar’s dining room this holiday season, is that all proceeds will be donated to Habitat for Humanity New York City. There is nothing more important than giving back during the holiday season, so to be able to dine with friends and savor the most delicious comfort foods like pot pies and desserts and to give back simultaneously is just perfection.

From December 12 to 17, people can reserve a dining room to host a party for their friends and family. We are so excited to head downtown to #TheDiningRoom by Marie Callender’s and slow down and try to unplug for a little and #SavorTheSeason with our friends.

Stay tuned for posts from #TheDiningRoom Party and check out, mariecallendersmeals.com for holiday recipes, tips and more and make sure to follow us on Facebook and Instagram @TheMomsNetwork and on Twitter @TheMOMS for some of our behind the scenes at The Dining Room. Cheers!

Why Him?

December 2016

The MOMS hosted an advanced screening of Why Him? and a hilarious MOMS night out at Dolby 88 Screening Room.

Mom influencers enjoyed make up applications, and eyelash extensions from Blushington and we are sure they were the perfect touch to get everyone ready for headshots by Jonathan Breton.

Why Him? hits theaters Friday, December 23rd!

Holiday Survival

I am always looking for shared experiences that my entire family can take part in, and there is nothing like the virtual reality experience. Verizon makes the Daydream View virtual reality headset and controller for experiencing high-quality, immersive virtual reality. Which can be used with your Google Pixel or compatible Moto Z phone, simply place it into the headset and the VR mode launches automatically.

Go from being snowed in to swimming with a school of dolphins, virtually visit the Taj Mahal, or stand at the edge of a volcano. As a mom I also love that I can the Verizon Daydream View as an education tool for my kids. We don’t have to leave the house to visit the Metropolitan Museum of Art, we can explore the Met’s most famous paintings in a virtual museum in our pj’s. The virtual world does a great job of engaging with them and great to have so much educational and stimulating content from the comfort of our own living spaces. I hear a lot of businesses are using this kind of headset for VR Training as well, for the exact reasons I’ve stated above.

Of course the #1 holiday survival tip that I am sure everyone will agree on is ensuring everyone is fed! Those of you hosting know the holidays can be very stressful and when guests arrive, sometimes unexpectedly, the last thing we want to do is mess up a neat kitchen. When I am looking for a simple and convenient solution that is always a crowd pleaser I turn to Pizza Hut.

With the addition of the Amazon Echo into our home, ordering is about to get so much easier. Starting December 15th we can order Pizza Hut using an Amazon Echo. All you have to do is tell Alexa that you want Pizza Hut and you can place an order! How cool is that? It’s so simple to get this kind of assistance in your life, simply download alexa app for pc and for your other devices, it is really that simple. Along with convenience this time of year we also love a great deal. Right now at pizza hut you can get ANY large pizza for carryout, including specialties and unlimited toppings for just 10 dollars.

With the season and holiday gatherings, also comes many colds, and illnesses. Our best efforts to avoid getting sick is to ensure we are washing our hands and getting enough rest. We’re currently looking into vitamin c powder because it’s meant to be good at fortifying the immune system so it’ll be a good way to prevent sickness. But, sometimes it is just unavoidable, so if you do start to get body aches, headache, fever, chills, or fatigue – don’t wait to see what might happen. Be proactive.

At my house, we immediately reach for a homeopathic medicine called Oscillococcinum. It’s great because it reduces the severity and the duration of flu-like symptoms. I’ve picked up quite a few different hacks over the years to help make flu season more manageable. One of the humidifier benefits is reducing flu symptoms so we’ve always got ours on during the holiday period. My mom also makes a soup that instantly makes you feel better so that’s our go-to whenever someone is feeling under the weather. All of this is because I’d rather have a short and simple flu than a long one. That’s for sure. And Oscillococcinum is recommended for everyone in the house – from 2 to 102. My kids love the sweet-tasting, quick-dissolving pellets, which makes medicine time much easier as well.

This post is in partnership with Pizza Hut, Verizon and Oscillococcinum.

The MOMS on PIX11: Getting Your Kids to Unplug

The MOMS, Melissa Musen Gerstein and Denise Albert, share their thoughts on getting children to unplug. Check out Melissa of “The Moms” simple tips.

Melissa’s Take:

  • First start the conversation now with your kids that everyone will be downsizing their tech and devices over the holiday. Talk about how this time together where no one has school and how the holidays are about family should be important and precious moments.
  • Set up a game or movie night and everyone checks in their devices. This takes discipline and it’s up to the parents to enforce this. Make a calendar of plans so that the kids can see what’s ahead
  • Buy your kids journals so they can write about their holiday and Xmas memories. Kids can get into scrap booking too.
  • Remove all social media Apps for a week. “I challenge everyone to do that–even Mom.”
  • If you’re going to family parties and events all devices should stay at home or in your purse and away from distraction.
  • Make sure your out of office is on even if you are only taking a day or up to a week. Everyone is always reachable with our phones so make sure your work knows that you are not working. You are doing the family thing.
  • Remind yourself if you are tempted to email or check in that taking time away makes for more productivity when you return. You will be recharged and ready to go. It’s healthier.

Sterling K. Brown

December 2016

Sterling K Brown sat down with The MOMS while in New York City to talk about his new hit NBC Show, This Is Us.

Brown talked about balance and his new fame and being recognized now, and how he is managing it all and also dished on his hometown St. Louis with fellow St. Louis mom, Melissa.

TSA Agents Aggressively Harassing Cancer Patient

I was in such shock last night that I didn’t include all of the details. Here are more of the horrific details since so many of you have asked. Thank you all for your love, your personal stories and your support. I truly hope this doesn’t happen to anyone else!

I have never been so humiliated or felt more violated in my life. I went through the scanning machine at the airport without incident. I had already told them about my metal port and my medical cream which I removed from my bag for them to see and test as I have done on prior flights. I don’t know what was different this time but TSA agents aggressively attempted to do a body cavity search in public. I was TSE precheck and once through the scanner they asked me to take off my shoes. I explained I didn’t have socks on and that my cream is for an infection from my current treatment, including on my feet. So if they wanted to put my shoes through x-ray, I would have to sit down because I would not put my bare feet on the floor. They allowed that. They then started to tell me they would apply pressure from head to toe and I got very upset because I wear a wig. I didn’t want them to touch it, move it, or ruin it. So I ripped it off for them to pat my head without damaging my wig (that I paid for and insurance didn’t cover!) I don’t ever go out in public without it. I have shown pictures on social media as I feel it empowers others but I’m not comfortable in public (I have taken it off at 2 breast cancer related work events for a second to show other cancer survivors and those in it now!) They also put my shoes through and then wouldn’t allow me to put them back on until after the full body search. After at least 20 minutes of sitting there because they were debating how to proceed, I told them my feet were freezing. Also a side effect from chemo. They refused to help me. The woman reached behind me and forceable and aggressively put her hands down my jeans in the back. At some point they offered me a room but wouldn’t let me put my boots on to walk there, which I can’t do barefoot especially because of my open sores and rashes from my treatment on my feet. When I kept asking why they needed to do all of this, they kept saying because I wanted to bring medical cream on the plane. (They NEVER said there was any reason due to my scan so that made no sense!) On the video you see the woman shove her hand up my crotch and then try to go down my shirt. That’s when I said (again) I have a medical port and had a lumpectomy. Many of you have remarked about how calm I was. I have to admit, after the video ends (though I do have it on video), I lifted up my shirt. Rather then have them touch my breasts and port “with pressure” as the TSA agent stated. That’s when they said they were calling law enforcement and I asked them to please do so. Finally, a supervisor arrived. The only way I was allowed to proceed was when the supervisor was kind enough to have more compassion and possibly think the 2 agents went too far and took me into a private room for a regular soft pat down. After that, it still didn’t end. Even though all of my bags went through x-rays without incident as well, they opened my bags, removed everything and another TSA agent joked about all of the eyelashes I had. I told her, it’s because I don’t have real ones from my cancer treatment. I would have thought at that point, the humiliation would have ended. The 2 TSA agents in my video went too far. I hope no one ever experiences this. I should also point out that according to the TSA website, what these agents did was improper procedure – they are not allowed to touch skin and should be gentle over clothing (contradiction to what you hear on video). I should NOT have been required to remove shoes because of my medical condition and they were supposed to ask if I have a tender area and didn’t and didn’t listen when I told them I did. Luckily, Melissa Musen Gerstein and I had a wonderful flight on American Airlines with an incredible crew and 1 very special flight attendant, Latane, who made everything better for the night.


Since I have been chronicling my journey for the past year, I have been in touch with so many people around the country. I have called it my Cancer Community. You have helped me. I hope I have helped some of you. My community consists of other #FutureCancerSurvivors, survivors and/or their spouses, partners or parents. We all connect in different ways but Cancer is the core of this group.

For the Full story please visit Good Housekeeping.

SING Mamarazzi

December 2016 | LA and NYC

The MOMS hosted Bi-Coastal events for the holiday hit movie, SING, starring Matthew McConaughey.

One thing is for sure, you will leave wanting to just SING! Do you sing with your kids? Check out photos from the event below.