Thursday, January 31, 2008

chocolate to soothe the savage beast

Today was a crappy, crappy day. How did I get through it? With fistfuls of M&M's, a bite-size Kit Kat or two (or three or four) and a freshly baked batch of chocolate chip cookies. When I'm having a bad day, chocolate is what gets me through. Here are my top five chocolate-related indulgences I am most thankful for this week.

  • sweetriot peaces--sweetriot covers small 'peaces' of the cacao bean in yummy dark chocolate. sweetriot's cacao nibs are all-natural, antioxidant-packed straight chocolate and only 140 calories a serving. Plus by eating sweetriot peaces I'm supporting a company whose mission is "to create a more just and celebrated multicultural world for our next generation."
  • green M&M's--M&M's "The New Color of Love" green candies bring back memories of high school dances and how quickly those green M&M's disappeared. Rumor had it they made you high school students need any help in that department!
  • Stephen's Candycane Cocoa--This is my favorite holiday flavor from Stephen's. Their Candycane Cocoa has tiny bits of crushed candy cane in the mix making for a smooth, creamy, chocolaty, minty late-night treat. Don't forget the marshmallows!
  • chocolate chip cookies--Hot from the oven, of course! One of my favorite chocolate chip cookie recipes (besides the legendary Nieman Marcus one) is from AllRecipes. Make your own batch of Award Winning Soft Chocolate Chip Cookies (make sure you try it with a box of chocolate fudge pudding mix if it's a really bad day).
  • Cocoa Puffs--Whether it's a late-night snack or a treat after my healthy bowl of Total, Cocoa Puffs have been one of my favorite cereals since I can remember. There's nothing like finishing off that yummy chocolate milk once the cereal's gone!
What are your favorite chocolate indulgences? I'm always looking for more to add to my list. Chocolate is the best medicine for a bad mood, and for me it's 100% effective! --Emily

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Catalog Choice is the right choice

Whether or not you believe global warming is a serious issue we should all be more aware of our impact on the environment. At home we do our best to recycle and reuse but we're still working on the reduce part of the equation. We have seriously cut back on our use of disposable bottled water but we're definitely aiding in deforestation with the amount of catalogs we collect thanks to the U.S. Postal Service and the companies spending the money--and trees--to make sure we have the latest in coffee tables and lingerie.

In the recent issue of Real Simple magazine I read about Catalog Choice, a website doing its part to help people like you and I "lighten our footprint on the environment" by eliminating unwanted catalogs in our mailbox. Recently featured on MSNBC's Today Show Catalog Choice makes it super easy to save trees. This free service lets you opt-out by simply searching for a catalog, click decline, and fill in the details. You can create a profile to add other names and addresses you need for the opt-out process and even report infractions. I've already logged on and opted out of about seven catalogs, and those are just the ones I thought of off the top of my head. As I receive other random ones I'll be sure to log on and opt out of those as well.

I'm not saying you need to go totally paperless, though if you can that's totally awesome. I still have a couple catalogs I like to receive, but I go through those cover to cover and then recycle them when finished. Catalog Choice currently has over half a million members having already opted out of 6,270,643 catalogs! The site makes it easy to spread the word, so make sure you do after opting out. As Catalog Choice's site says, "Together, we are going to improve our lives, and conserve our planet's natural resources!" Yes, we are! --Emily

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Too good to be

Usually LeShan does our fashion trend tuesday but due to technical difficulties you're stuck with me, and believe me, I'm as disappointed as you are! LeShan has all the fashion sense and savvy style in this relationship but I will do my best to fill in for today by highlighting a really cool fashion-related site I came across thanks to CNBC's show "The Big Idea" hosted by Donny Deutsch. (By the way, if you haven't heard of this show it's fantastic! Read more about the show and when it airs by visiting The Big Idea: Donny Deutsch on CNBC's site.)

I love jeans. I live in jeans, I buy a lot of jeans, I wear jeans practically every day, so I love the concept behind TrueJeans. TrueJeans "matches you to designer jeans that fit your unique body shape and measurements." It's that simple! With three easy steps you can find your ideal pair of designer jeans. Just measure yourself, choose your style preferences, and then buy jeans that fit. How do they do it? The company partnered with My Virtual Model (MVM), the industry leader in online garment visualization technology, to develop thea proprietary software that helps predict the best fit and size for you.

With brands from 7 for All Mankind to Hudson to Paige Premium Denim--and a few even I haven't heard of--you're sure to find a style that will make your measurements look fabulous! Whether you're a size 2 or a size 20 (the site recently added a line of plus sizes) TrueJeans has a pair for you.
TrueJeans offers free shipping on all orders over $100 (that's pretty much a single pair of designer jeans) and a flat rate of $5 on orders less than $100. Plus they have a 30-day return policy on any non-clearance, unworn items. It's designer denim designed just for you, and it's pretty dang awesome! --Emily

Monday, January 28, 2008

MyWares connects women business owners with buyers

If you're a small business owner looking to connect with quality buyers then you'll love today's mompreneur monday site, Started by two women, both small business owners (Stephanie the Seller, Sandra the Buyer) who were passionate about their products, MyWares features only the "best of what we find at the Temporaries." Think of MyWares as your online, 24/7 tradeshow without the booth fees and travel expenses.

Sellers can get their products in front of over 1,200 qualified buyers, and buyers get to discover new wholesale product. Both sellers and buyers go through a screening process ensuring MyWares offers only the best of the best. Product categories include everything from Baby and Fashion to Jewelry and Stationary. MyWares even offers "show specials" on a daily basis (not just at tradeshows). With the ability to reach buyers across the U.S. and the association with smart, savvy, and serious women (just like you!), is worth a visit. And I haven't even mentioned the free Feature Page and inside scoop on events like the Atlanta Gift Show (check out MyWares' info for sellers).

In this business it's all about connections, and has 1200 of them. What are you waiting for? --Emily

Friday, January 25, 2008

now you too can be a Gourmet Momma!

On food for thought friday we usually share one of our favorite tried-and-true recipes, but today I've got something even yummier for you. The fabulous mother-daughter team behind Ragazza Bella Couture has launched Gourmet Momma, a blog who's tagline is "where dinner doesn't have to be a chore!" Really? It doesn't? Because sometimes preparing dinner for a family of five (my youngest is still on rice cereal so she doesn't count...yet) feels like more of a chore than scrubbing toilets or successfully getting three loads of laundry washed, dried and folded in one day. Any site that makes meal preparation easy and tasty is a site I'm going to shout from the rooftop--even if it's covered in 18 inches of snow!

From chef's tips (dark brown vs. light brown sugar) to light and healthy meals to three-ingredient desserts (chocolate, chocolate, and more chocolate, right?) Gourmet Momma is already on its way to saving the sanity of harried moms everywhere. Even their Gourmet Momma's Meatloaf, which uses ground turkey, sounds like something I need to try. That's saying a lot considering my grandma once made a "turkey loaf" that turned me off ground turkey for years. Gourmet Momma's recipe not only sounds edible but light and healthy as well.

If you're looking for something to spice up your weekly routine of pancakes, mac and cheese, and frozen burritos then add Gourmet Momma to your recipe box. As moms we've got enough chores to do...dinner shouldn't be one of them! --Emily

Thursday, January 24, 2008

powerful plastic

For today's thankful thursday I am thankful for those little rectangular pieces of plastic that seem to multiply in my wallet, and I'm not talking exclusively of credit cards. Here are my faves:

  • GAP Silver (the perfect multitasker)--Use it at GAP, Old Navy, and Banana Republic; earn those fun little (sometimes big if I just shopped the Friends & Family discount) rewards certificates; hide those extra clothing purchases from DH
  • Citibank credit card--0% interest for 12 months...need I say more? (I'm a pro at the 0% interest card; we have yet to ever pay interest on a credit card balance.)
  • Costco membership card--6-lb bags of Foster Farms frozen chicken, a month's supply of Dino Nuggets, and $1 churros
  • AAA membership card--Not as flashy as my GAP or Citibank but it sure comes in handy when DH's Audi dies on the side of the road (can you get new transmissions at Costco?)
  • Frequent diner/buyer/whatever cards--You've gotta love those "buy ten get one free" cards. We've picked up free pizzas, haircuts, bakery bread, gourmet caramel apples, and meals from Bajio and Cafe Rio. Now if I could just get one for those $1 churros at Costco...
What are your favorite pieces of plastic in your wallet? Any that get you into trouble? (Yep, that would be my GAP Silver...gets me into trouble all the time!) --Emily

Wednesday, January 23, 2008 helps you help students

This week I stumbled upon a great infant apparel site called "food fight." I knew I would love it as soon as I read their tagline: "hide the evidence...change your shirt." Yep, that's something my kids would so do! Their tees are a lot of fun, my favorites being "Mr. Mischief" and "1-2-3 Not It!" But what really impressed me about food fight is that $1 of every sale goes to a worthy cause, reminds me of, a site where you can donate to an entrepreneur in a less developed country. connects classrooms in need with individuals who want to help. Teachers ask for materials and experiences they feel their students need, you choose which classroom project you'd like to donate to, and then the students send you photos and thank-you notes about the learning experience you helped provide. is a great way to supply public schools with the resources they so desperately need.

If you're big into supporting public education and looking for a charitable way to do so, then visit I guarantee you'll find a classroom project that tugs at your heart strings; do something about it and donate! --Emily

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

be a kid again

This Fashion Trend Tuesday I want to show how fashionable it can be to be a kid, while playing with your kids. I searched for some fun items that can be great for mom's who want to feel like a kid again. All kids get a kick out of seeing there mom act like a kid, so here's some ideas to get you started;

Cute pajama's are a must when you want to hang out all day in your pj's. These jammie's from the Pajama Company are so comfortable and adorable you might be tempted to wear them when you go out.

If you want to feel like a kid, smelling like a kid is a must. Demeter Fragrance Library has an array of scent's from childhood like; Brownie, Cotton Candy, Rain, even dirt! And for Valentine's they have the fun scent of those Conversation Heart's. Who doesn't have a childhood memory of those?!

Clog's always remind me of childhood. These handpainted clogs from Tessa Clogs will bring out the inner child in you. They also have them in fun metallic colors as well!

Here's some fun fashion quotes from kids who know there stuff.

"If your mom picks your clothes and you dislike them, tell her they don't fit." Christie age 12

"My Dad will never be color coordinated." Samuel age 11--LeShan

Monday, January 21, 2008

expecting mama prize from A Mom in Red High Heels

A Mom in Red High Heels is offering a fabulous prize package for one lucky reader! It's the biggest giveaway yet with a prize package worth over $300! Our "mama lisa" tee is one of many awesome items in this giveaway. Other items include an apron tee from Rockstarmoms, Sweet Cheeks Lip Lacquer, a Belli Pregnancy gift set and more. So head on over to A Mom in Red High Heels for your chance to win the Expecting Mama Giveaway. Even if you're not pregnant I'm sure you know someone who is--you'll be the favorite at the next baby shower with this gift package in tow! The deadline to enter is January 27th, so don't wait! --Emily

LeShan shows us her red high heels!

Back in November I was able to show off my own red heels on A Mom in Red High Heels' "From the Mouths of Moms," a great new series where you get to read about the beauty tips and tricks of fellow mompreneurs. For today's mompreneur monday I get to highlight another "From the Mouths of Moms" mompreneur, our very own LeShan Bradshaw! After you're done checking out how beautiful she is (the photo doesn't even come close--she's a hottie!), you really need to check out her beauty and fashion advice (she is the one who writes our fashion trend tuesday). By the way, I totally agree with her theory on chipped nail polish and not being able to live without mascara. So head over to A Mom in Red High Heels and Meet LeShan Bradshaw of georgie tees! --Emily

Friday, January 18, 2008

meal planning made easy--and fun!

I stumbled across this great meal planning chart while reading a post on Tales From the Crib (another recent find). The post, Food Finds, mentioned a great meal planner from Future Girl that was not only easy and fun but "good lookin'" as well. I had to check it out and when I did I immediately printed it out to help me get better organized. (I'm planning to start next week...wait, where have I heard that before?) Anyway, I wanted to share Future Girl's meal planning chart with you; you might have set a New Year's resolution to cook a meal or two a week as well (and yes, pancakes count).

A goal without a plan is just a wish.
Antoine de Saint-Exupery (1900-1944)

To get you started, here's a family favorite for food for thought friday!
Cajun Chicken Pasta
1 lb. farfalle (or your choice)
3 skinless, boneless chicken breasts, cut into bite-size pieces
1 - 2 T. Cajun seasoning
4 T. olive oil
2 red bell peppers, sliced
16-20 mushrooms, sliced (1-2 packages fresh sliced mushrooms)
3 green onions, chopped
2 c. heavy cream
1/2 tsp. dried basil
1/2 tsp. lemon pepper
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1/4 - 1/2 tsp. Cajun seasoning

Place the chicken and the Cajun seasoning in a plastic bag. Shake to coat. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add pasta and cook until al dente; drain.

While the pasta is cooking, saute the chicken and olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat until no longer pink (7 to 10 minutes). Add the red bell pepper, mushrooms, and green onions. Saute and stir for 4 to 5 minutes. Reduce heat.

Add the cream, basil, lemon pepper, salt, garlic powder, black pepper, and Cajun seasoning. Simmer on low heat for about 3 to 5 minutes until heated through. Add the cooked pasta and toss to coat thoroughly. Sprinkle with grated Parmesan cheese and serve. Serves 6 to 8. --Emily

Thursday, January 17, 2008

be thankful

Today's thankful thursday is very simple. If you're finding it a challenge to be thankful today, I'm sure you will feel inspired with Josh Groban's song Thankful --LeShan

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

New York Nitty-Gritty

I have never been to New York but it is definitely on my list of things to do very, very soon! Until then I've enjoyed checking out this really cool photo blog called New York Nitty-Gritty. I'm no photographer but I think the photos are truly artistic and capture a wonderful sense of the city's different personalities. Plus, photo blogs are a nice change from the standard text-heavy ones. So for wonderful web wednesday check out New York's photogenic side and visit New York Nitty-Gritty. --Emily

Monday, January 14, 2008

fashion mom

I decided to make today's fashion trend tuesday about fashionable moms...ya ya you've seen this one before right?! I'm not talking about the mom that gets to dress to the nines and do lunches, important meetings, or do the mani/pedi. I'm talking about the one that rarely, if ever leaves her house unless it's a trip to the park, and the only one to take note of the fact that she got out of her p.j.'s is her toddler. So, to get you jazzed about not going anywhere--here's some fun fashion ideas for every mom!

Idea #1: Making cookies with the kids? Try on a fun camillia apron;

Idea #2: Cleaning the bathrooms can be so glamorous with these latex gloves;

Idea #3: Managing bed head is done in a cinch (and a twist) with this adorable hair snug;

Idea #4: Being a mom certainly keeps you on your toes, so you'll need your fairy tale slippers;

and of course you'll need your accessories! I like the funky colors to "mix" things up!

So have fun playing dress up, you used to LOVE it when you were young, and hey we are all still young at heart!!!--LeShan

highlighting Heather from Mom 4 Life

For today's mompreneur monday I wanted to highlight this great interview from Mom2Mom Lounge, a "blog and online magazine written by moms, for moms. The Lounge is filled with quick n’ easy reads that matter to moms." This particular easy read is an interview Mom2Mom Lounge did with Heather Ledeboer, the mompreneur behind Mom 4 Life, a successful business (and one of our favorite online boutiques carrying the georgie tees' line). Besides being inspired by the Mom 4 Life story you'll learn Heather's favorite mom-invented products and gain some great insight on how to balance work and family. "Success selling mom invented products from home!" is a quick read yet an important one for all of us work-at-home moms! --Emily

Friday, January 11, 2008

quick comfort food

I don't know about you but as for me with the start of a New Year, January feels like one long Monday.

Being short on time and long on stress I am in need of comforting and something quick. Here's one of my families favorite easy meals, great when served with some rolls. Now that you have your comfort food, here's a thought..."This is no time for ease and comfort. It is time to dare and endure."--Winston Churchill

Stuffed Green Peppers

6 large green peppers
1 lb ground beef
1/2 c chopped onion
1 14.5oz can of chopped tomatoes (I like the italian flavored)
1/2 c long grain rice
1/2 c water
1 tsp salt
1 tsp Worchestershire sauce
1 c shredded cheddar cheese
1 11oz can of corn

1. Cut tops off of peppers, discard seeds and membranes save the tops. Chop up enough of tops for 1/4 c, discard the rest.

2. Cook the whole green peppers uncovered in boiling water for 5 mins. Invert to drain. Sprinkle the insides with salt.

3. In large skillet cook beef, onion and peppers. Add undrained tomatoes, uncooked rice, water, corn, salt, Worchestershire sauce and dash of pepper. Bring to boil then let simmer covered for 15-18 mins. or till rice is tender. Stir in cheese.

4. Place the peppers in large baking dish, stuff peppers with mixture. Bake covered in 350 degree oven for 30-35 mins.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

personal pharmacy

After dealing with sick kids for over a week today's thankful thursday is all about my favorite cold-related products. Whether I'm trying to bring my five-month-old's fever down from 103 or calming my two-year-old's coughing fits, I couldn't do it without a little help from what I like to call our "bucket of drugs" in the hall closet.

  • Children's Motrin (aka ibuprofen): For some reason Tylenol (aka acetaminophen) just doesn't work for us; never has, probably never will. If I get a fever or serious headache while pregnant, I'm sunk!
  • Be Kool: This little gel pad easily adheres to a child's forehead and is totally painless to remove. No band-aid-like screams of pain when you remove it and the gel cools fevered brows for up to 8 hours!
  • Triaminic Thin Strips: No more messy liquid and they taste great! No, I haven't personally tasted them but my picky two-year-old doesn't turn up his nose when they're offered. Not sure cough suppressants really work but if you want to give it a go, this is a great way to do it.
  • Cool-mist humidifier: Okay, this doesn't fit in my "bucket of drugs" but it's still important. No danger of hot water or steam burning my ever curious children. And the fan lulls Mom to sleep!
  • Vick's VapoRub: I absolutely love this stuff as do my children. It really does seem to soothe coughs and aid in breathing with even the stuffiest of noses. Plus Vick's even makes a version for babies called BabyRub. (My kids love this stuff so much I swear half the stuffy noses are false claims!)
  • Diet Coke: What?! Yes, I said Diet Coke. This is Mom's drug of choice when she's operating on less than 6 hours of sleep a night and wiping snotty noses for the other 18+ hours. Also not found in the "bucket of drugs" but easily found in the fridge.
What are your favorite tips, tricks, or products when it comes to helping your children get over a nasty cold? --Emily

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

beauty comes in all shapes and sizes

Last night my husband stumbled upon a link on Digg showing a mother's belly during and after her pregnancy with triplets. (The link was here but has been temporarily removed.) That link led me to the site The Shape of a Mother. I went to the homepage of the blog and was impressed with its message:

It occurred to me that a post-pregnancy body is one of this society's greatest secrets; all we see of the female body is that which is airbrushed and perfect, and if we look any different, we hide it from the light of day in fear of being seen. …It is my dream, then, to create this website where women of all ages, shapes, sizes and nationalities can share images of their bodies so it will no longer be secret. So we can finally see what women really look like sans airbrushes and plastic surgery. I think it would be nothing short of amazing if a few of our hearts are healed, or if we begin to cherish our new bodies which have done so much for the human race. What if the next generation grows up knowing how normal our bodies are? How truly awesome would that be?
I haven’t had a chance to browse through the site very much but wanted to share it with all you mothers out there who are way too hard on themselves (me included). We all need to learn to love the skin we're in, even if it's been stretched beyond recognition. I find The Shape of a Mother a poignant reminder that Heidi Klum is the exception, not the rule. --Emily

Note: Hundreds of women have submitted their pre- and post-pregnancy photos and stories, some of which show nudity (pride goes out the window in labor and delivery). Just wanted to give you a heads up (or heads down, in this case...).

Monday, January 7, 2008

more like a "mom" monday

Yep, it's 10:35 p.m. on what would typically be our mompreneur monday and I'm finally getting around to posting. That's because today's mompreneur monday was more "mom" monday than anything else, and I'm learning--as you've probably guessed by my recent posts--that's the way the cookie crumbles sometimes. And, boy, has it crumbled!

With colds making their way through all four kids (my two-year-old just can't seem to kick it), this mompreneur has put business on the back burner for the past few days, and I may have to do so for a day or two more. It can get a little frustrating not checking items off my georgie tees to-do list, but guess what? I've found my little business world
keeps on turning even if emails sit in my Inbox for more than a few hours and our blog has only three new posts this week instead of five. (I'm sure you've all learned this already but some of us, after giving birth to four children, are working with a significantly smaller than usual amount of brain cells and epiphanies like this take some time.)

I'm signing off now to go comfort our littlest one who thinks 10:30 p.m. means party time rather than sleep time. Maybe next Monday I'll have something more "mompreneur" to offer. Or maybe this post was
a good little reminder that wiping a snotty nose and cooling a fevered brow trumps a company to-do list any day. --Emily

Friday, January 4, 2008

comfort food

With the cold weather and more snow on the way (thanks, Mr. Weatherman) I love fixing those tried and true recipes otherwise known as comfort food. Most of them are my mother's recipes, and that's probably why they're so comforting; they're a delicious reminder of family dinners way back when. For food for thought friday I'm sharing two of my mother's recipes that have now become my family's favorites.

Chicken Divan
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 can cream of mushroom or cream of chicken soup (I prefer cream of chicken)
1/4 to 1/2 cup milk (enough to make it creamy but not soupy)
2 cups cooked, cubed chicken
1-1/2 to 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1/8 to 1/4 tsp curry powder or to taste
1 package frozen broccoli (florets or chopped, your choice)
Cooked white or brown rice

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9x13-inch pan or similar casserole dish. Mix mayonnaise, soup, milk, chicken, cheese, and curry powder. Cook broccoli according to package directions. You can either layer the rice in the pan or leave separate. I prefer to layer. In greased pan layer rice (I use about 4 cups), then broccoli, then chicken mixture. Bake 350 for about 35 to 40 minutes. until heated through and bubbly on top.

Mom's Meatloaf
1 lb ground beef
1 egg
1 can French onion soup
12 to 14 saltines, crushed (or more for a drier meatloaf; I've used up to 20)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a regular loaf pan. Mix above ingredients in a large bowl and place in greased pan and bake for 1 hour or until cooked through. This is a very simple yet very yummy meatloaf. It's a big hit in our family!
What does your family consider comfort food during the winter months? What recipe is a tried and true favorite handed down from your mom or grandmother? In parting here's a quote from Ogden Nash perfect for this time of year. --Emily
A family is a unit composed not only of children but of men, women, an occasional animal, and the common cold.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

which came first, the parents or the kids?

Have any of you seen the show Super Nanny? I'm a huge fan because the "nanny" Jo, is always spot on with her advice. Last night was the season premier and if you happened to miss it, let me give you a quick run down of the second family featured. They had 2 teenage daughters that were 17 and 14, then 3 boys under the age of 4. Both parents worked full time jobs and left the 2 girls to watch and care for the young boys while homeschooling themselves, along with doing all the cleaning and cooking! Just to watch the two teenagers try their best to manage a household while trying to school themselves and care for their younger siblings, left the Nanny (and myself) in tears and speechless.

For thankful thursday I want to express my gratitude for competent and loving parents around the world. There are so many great parents doing it all for their kids and my applause goes out to them! I am also grateful for all the people who have positive influence on children such as teachers, friends, neighbors, etc... the impact it has lives on forever. I know that we cannot always put our children first because that would mean putting ourselves last, and that's not healthy either. It's about being able to find a healthy balance and letting our kids know that when it really matters they do come first.--LeShan

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

tag, i'm it!

For wonderful web wednesday I'm going to participate in a popular phenomenon among bloggers, and that's the game of tag! Bloggers get tagged with various questions or posts and then it's their turn to post and tag others. I've been tagged before but haven't had a chance to join in the fun, but I did get tagged this past week by Tammy from A Mom in Red High Heels and I had to play along.

Here's the assignment:

1. Link back to the person who tagged you. (Tammy)

2. Imagine you could send a letter back in time to yourself, when you were 13 years old, what would you write to yourself?

3. Tag 5 people to inflict this on. (LeShan, Jennifer, Daria, Megan, Heather)So here goes (wish I really had this letter when I was 13!):

Dear Emily,

Those early teenage years are going to be tough ones, and Junior High and hormones won't make it any easier. Don't listen to those who will tease you for getting good grades and being well liked by your teachers, but then again don't let those good grades and being teacher's pet go to your head. You'll have a lot of good friends--don't let them down by indulging in silly gossip or backbiting, a common ailment of most teenage girls. Be a bit more open minded and loving of everyone you meet, and as hard as it will be, try to be a friend to the friendless. They're the ones who need a friend the most.

On the lighter side, those turquoise stretch jeans with matching turquoise and black paisley button-down top is not the fashion statement you think it is. And just because Claire's offers an eyeshadow compact with every color of the rainbow and then some, it doesn't mean you should actually use the yellow eyeshadow. Oh, and I think Mom figured out quickly you were applying blue mascara on your way to school. Moms just know these things. Those matching gym clothes with your name on them? Don't worry, high school will offer more options.

Keep true to your values as hard as it will be sometimes. Choose good friends--they will be a bigger influence on you than your parents. Continue to compete with those other honor students. Graduating second in your class may not be cool as a senior in high school but it's pretty impressive once you get to college. Most importantly, remember who you are and what you stand for. Thirteen isn't easy but being true to yourself and your values helps a heck of a lot. And don't worry, you will find a boy who will love you just the way you are and eventually have a 13-year-old girl (three, rather) to whom you can impart your own wisdom. Hopefully by then you'll have acquired some!

Love your family, love your friends, and love yourself. You have more than enough love to go around.


Why don't you try writing your 13-year-old self a letter? It's not as easy as you might think but it is a wonderful moment to reflect on those experiences that helped mold you into the person you are today. Junior High is never easy but we somehow survive. Remembering how you did so is a great way to start off the new year. --Emily