Let’s start a Facebook #DanceForBreastCancerChallenge!

Friends! Let’s start a Facebook #DanceForBreastCancerChallenge. Thank you to my dear friend Lisa Sharkey for the suggestion after seeing this video.

Dancing into my surgery took away anxiety & fear & though I have NO dancing moves…my #workwife leads the way & I started dancing this year with her like no one is watching but everyone should!

My kids only allow me to dance in public on my birthday but after surviving Breast Cancer my kids will have to learn to live with me dancing through life. Now we want to see you DANCE because it makes everything better. Because I want to remind you to check yourselves. Read your reports in full (I didn’t). Listen to your body (I had a bump that hurt. It was cancer). Support your friends. Support someone who needs your love and help.

Support Breast Cancer Research and even a dollar helps if you want to honor #myBreastYear and my 2017 Survivor Impact Award with Susan G. Komen

WHO DO YOU WANT TO SEE DANCE?  Give them a Dance Shout Out!

Austria and Musen Family Roots

I grew up as Melissa Musen. I loved the sound of it. I knew that our name Musen was Austrian and that our ancestors were from Austria, but from where?

Shortly after I was married, I became Melissa Gerstein and missed my maiden name Musen. Then I became a mother and as my children grew up they started to ask me questions about my side of the family; the Musen Family.

I spoke with my dad often about his Austrian roots, and we had very little information. He visited Austria years ago and found nothing. He, unfortunately, doesn’t know anything about his past so I’ve been encouraging him to find out more. My mother takes more interest in these things and has recently bought one of the test kits for jewish ancestry after finding out more so I’m excited to find out the results of that. But I was curious about my dad, I wanted my children to see Austria with their grandparents. We decided with lots of planning to set out on an adventure to explore Austria and all its glory.

We boarded Austrian Airlines, all 7 of us! It was my family of 5 and my parents from St. Louis. Even the flight was fun with the activities and sweets they offer kids. You live once and life is short so we went with excitement and the unknown.

We flew overnight and arrived into Vienna with the most beautiful Spring Day! We checked into the Hotel Altstadt, which was one of the most magnificent hotels we have ever stayed at. It’s a boutique hotel with 45 suites that are all individually designed right in the heart of all the Vienna attractions. Everywhere you look you feel like you’re in “old Europe” with an artistic modern flair. According to my son, it was “the coolest” place we have ever stayed.

We headed out and had a wonderful brunch at Café Ulrich and then walked straight to the Ring, which surrounds the historical city. The kids were totally in awe. Everywhere you looked there was such beauty and history. They were a bit tired from the flight so we were able to take a horse and carriage ride with a guide who explained all the history and sights we were taking in. This included Imperial Palace, City Hall and the gorgeous State Opera House. We pushed through the day and had an early Italian dinner and fell asleep dreaming about Vienna.

We woke early and Dad headed to City Hall to find out more about our Musen Family. He found nothing and that possibly our name had been changed. That left us all a bit sad of course. We then had a delicious buffet breakfast that is included at The Hotel Altstadt and met a guide who took us through Judeplatz (old Jewish Vienna). We stopped by the oldest synagogue, took in the Jewish Museum and also found many Easter Markets along the way with candy and treats for the kids. From the foods and sweets to our favorite Café Dilgas, Spring time in Vienna was simply marvelous. We took the kids to Haus der Musik which is an interactive sound museum where we could all learn more about Mozart and other musical composers who came from Austria. Following our afternoon of music, we stopped at Café Mozart, which is where we also found the Sacher Torte. The Sacher Hotels and their chocolate torte is the best chocolate cake I have ever had in my entire life.

Next stop, we headed to Graz. This is the city not to be missed while in Austria. Our children actually loved Graz the most. This train ride to this medieval town in the South of Austria was one of the most beautiful train rides I have ever experienced. We found ourselves taking photos outside the train windows the entire time. You pass through these old villages that make you feel as if you are inside a painting. Graz is like a hidden treasure for families. We checked into the Hotel Wiesler, which is right in the heart of town and quite a special little boutique hotel. We had a late lunch at their restaurant Speisesaal and it did not disappoint. Make sure you order the chocolate ball if you find yourself dining with them.

That afternoon we wandered and shopped in this charming city. The kids found some Austrian gifts that included a dress from Gerstner’s, and a famous chocolate shop, Linzbichler. Of course it was all gone by the time we got back to the hotel. The most incredible thing to do in Graz was to visit the top of Schlossberg and the old clock tower. This was the most memorable day in Graz. The views from the top and the funicular up and down were truly magical. We did visit the City Hall before our next stop to try and find out more about our Musen family and we came up empty handed. I could see that my Dad was disappointed, and I told him we would not give up.

After Graz, we adventured onto Salzburg, the “City of Mozart.” Yes, also the home of Sound of Music but home to so much more. We took the train and headed straight to The Sacher hotel for breakfast. It was like stepping back into time or into an old painting. The interior decoration was top notch as was the exterior of the hotel and the surrounding buildings. Austrians really aren’t afraid to use deep and strong or dark colors on their walls, or bright yellows either. And it worked! It made me reflect on the house back home, I was thinking about redecorating with the likes of Quality Calvary house painting or another similar company. Did I dare ask to paint the walls with the oranges and reds that the hotel used? That was something to think about for another time, for now I was hungry. We had coffee and a delicious brunch and then walked across the street to The Mirabell Palace and Gardens, which was an original shooting location for The Sound of Music. And it was every bit as breathtaking as a palace should be. The gardens were BEAUTIFUL, and the trees definitely look like they’re maintained by people like these Certified Riverside Tree Service Experts – no tree looks that immaculate by itself! Following the gardens we went to Hohensalzburg Fortress, which is the biggest preserved castle in Central Europe. We took the funicular up and walked around admiring the Alps and the views! We also visited the Marionette Museum, which was one of my “favorite things”, and I actually tried to work one of the puppets, it was like being in that famous scene in The Sound of Music.

We toured as much of Salzburg as we could. But to be honest, you could easily sit in a café and have a glass of wine and look out at the Alps all day too. We did that at the end of our day.

For our last night in Vienna we stayed at the Pension Sacher apartments, which is a wonderful alternative when traveling with a family. They are located in the heart of Stephansplatz right in the center of Vienna, with full kitchens and views of St. Stephen’s Cathedral. They even have a washing machine, which is quite handy when traveling abroad with children. It’s even handier considering our washing machine back home has been playing up for some time now, it was nice to get some fresh clean clothes. I think the next thing I’ll be looking to do when I’m home is search about on the likes of https:www.jack-appliance.com and elsewhere to find some repair quotes. Anyway, back to our lovely vacation, on our last evening, we celebrated my baby’s birthday, which topped off the entire trip! She got to celebrate for 30 hours since we left Vienna on her birthday and arrived back home to New York City on the same day. The captain on Austrian Airlines even wished her a Happy 8th Birthday too. Maybe we will get to celebrate her birthday again one day in Austria. Maybe we will be able to find our Musen family ancestors one day too. But what we do know is that Austria is our greatest family trip thus far and we cannot wait to return to #FeelAustria again.


…as Christy Turlington Burns joins us. (It’s been 6 years since we first met at one of our first events ever!). Did you know she almost died after giving birth?

Since then, she is saving moms around the world because Every Mother Counts!!! How does she get her kids involved? Would she change her experience? Is she guilty when she travels? (Hint hint hint – she tells us something about her husband Ed Burns that will make us love them more!).

Also The MOMS DO YOUR HOMEWORK! On each Podcast, The MOMS share helpful information to make your life easier. A new app. A story in the news that will change your life. A safety tip. A parenting tip….and MORE! Don’t miss this on every PODCAST! PLEASE SHARE and email [email protected] to join the show! https://itun.es/us/KN9Fib.c

This Mom, a Recent Quadruple Amputee, Is Now Fighting to Survive

In June 2016, Ilysa Winick contracted a rare blood disease that caused her body to go into septic shock, shutting down her vital organs. Now, she needs your help.

I’ve learned so much this year. My journey began in December 2015, when I decided to call myself a #FutureCancerSurvivor. I’m now almost done with treatment (though it really never ends) and can call myself a survivor. I recently wrote that though it was my worst year, it was also #myBrEaSTyear. I’ve learned throughout my journey from so many of you. Your openness inspired me. Your own challenges taught me. Your survivor stories makes me want to keep hearing and sharing more. Your stories of survivorship will help others survive.

So I decided to share just of few of your stories on my latest episode of The MOMS podcast.

Read the Full story at GoodHousekeeping.com.

#myBrEaSTyear celebration

I choose my family. I choose my friends. Thank you Amanda Uprichard for making my dream shirt. Thank you Nelson Braff for this special night at Southern Hospitality. I planned this last minute party though treatment is not done for a month but it was on an off NBA night for my dad. I keep my mom pretty busy between my work as our attorney and the kids but she changed her plans too.

Luckily David Blaine was in town prepping for his upcoming tour. My brother had a home Ranger game. My #workwife and I took a break from Mamarazzi and our podcast. While missing some, so many of my friends celebrated with me. The biggest stars…my two boys…who worked the room like pros and clearly like a good party..like their mom.

Thank YOU. All of you.  

#survivor #futurecancersurvivor ? Jonathan Breton (and thx Hanky Panky too).