Good Gossip: Mariah Carey, Uma Thurman, Anthony Weiner and a Presidential kiss

Ready for some hot summer gossip? The kind you won’t feel guilty about later? Good Gossip is a roundup of the latest celebrity news, only we filter out the nasty half-truths and give you all the good stuff. This delicious post is sponsored by Great Day Farms, a national brand based right here in NWA. (FYI: Great Day is a sister brand to RingO’s Chicken Rings, and you can get a $1.25 coupon from the RingO’s Facebook page today. Just click HERE and then click the “coupons” tab and print it out. Happy shopping… and eating!)

President Barack Obama and the First Lady Michelle Obama got caught on the Kiss Camera at the Olympic men’s exhibition basketball game between Team U.S.A. and Brazil. Their oldest daughter was there as well and also got a quick kiss on the cheek from Dad. Regardless of your politics, you’ve got to admit that the First Family is awfully cute.

Mariah Carey has signed on to be a judge on the next season of American Idol! (Judges Jennifer Lopez and Steven Tyler have both left the show to continue their music careers. It’s still unclear whether or not Randy Jackson will remain with the show.) Mariah will be paid $18 million for a season on Idol, making her the highest paid judge on any reality TV show. Mariah said she is excited to help find and nurture new talent.

Ever feel guilty about spending too much money on an outfit? Well, this should make you feel better. Several movie costumes went on auction recently and are expected to bring in some serious cash. For example, the red suit worn by Mike Myers in Austin Powers will go on sale and is expected to bring in at least $6,000.  Halle Berry‘s X-Men black leather battle suit she wore as the character Storm will be sold for around $20,000. And finally, the Superman costume worn by Christopher Reeve in 1978 is also on the auction block and will likely sell for at least $60,000. Now… do you feel better about what you spent at the mall?

What happens to a couple after a huge public scandal? Sometimes… they actually make it through to the other side. A recent issue of People magazine has an interesting profile of Anthony Weiner and his wife Huma Abedin, who was pregnant with their first child when the Twitter sexting scandal hit the news in June 2011. Since then, their baby Jordan was born and the couple have saved their marriage. Huma invited a reporter into their home for the interview saying “My husband did a really stupid thing. It was an extremely painful time. But there was love and a commitment to this marriage. It took a lot of work to get where we are today, but I want people to know we’re a normal family.” For now, Anthony Weiner has no plans to reenter politics but also doesn’t rule it out. He said that right now the only “next steps” he is planning on are his son’s first.

Uma Thurman recently gave birth to a baby girl on July 15, 2012. She is engaged to Arpad Busson, a financier. Thurman is mom to two older children, Maya and Levon, who she had while married to Ethan Hawke. Busson also has two other children, Flynn and Aurelius, whose mother is Elle Macpherson.

It looks like things are still going strong for Michelle Williams and Jason Segel. They’ve been dating now for about six months. The actor has been spotted recently with Michelle and her 6-year-old daughter Matilda for a little shopping in Manhattan and then a Broadway musical. Jason picked up Matilda during the curtain call so she could see the stage. (Matilda is the daughter of the late actor Heath Ledger.)

Source: People magazine, July 23, 2012 edition

Good Gossip is sponsored by CCF Brands, a Northwest Arkansas company which makes Great Day All Natural Eggs. These eggs are produced by happy hens who are fed premium vegetarian diets with no animal fats, animal by-products, or antibiotics. Great Day Farms also offers hard-boiled eggs, which you can find in the deli section of the Walmart Supercenter. (Love the hard-boiled eggs because they’re peeled and ready to eat! Perfect in salads.)

Beauty Buzz: How to keep make-up looking fresh in the heat

Dear Andi,

Now that the temperatures are in triple digits, what changes should I make to keep my make-up looking fresh in the sun?

Andi: Ah, sun, sweat, humidity, chlorinated water…all part of summer fun in the sun and all very incompatible with a flawless face. But, no need to give up and bury yourself under a ball-cap and dark shades. Here are a few tips to looking like 103 degrees doesn’t faze you and make all of your sweaty friends jealous!

Instead of foundation, try a tinted moisturizer. It will help even out your skin tone without the weight of a traditional foundation that will melt away in the sun, anyway. Also, since we all know you’re more likely to protect your face from the sun than your body, the tint will help match your face to your tanned shoulders without the extra step of powder bronzer.

If you usually use powder to help diminish shine brought on by oily skin, reapplying in the summer can leave you with a sweaty paste around your hairline. Instead of powder, try blotting papers like Sonia Kashuk Blotting Papers (Target, $6.29) to soak up oily spots. They are small, easy to carry and amazingly effective. Once you try these, they will become a year-round staple. (Click on the photo at right to get more product info.)

Assuming you’re not already flushed from the heat, blush is a make-up must, but once again we want to avoid powders. A cream or gel blush adds a natural flush and will stay on longer since you actually blend it into your skin. It can be a little tricky to apply, so use your fingers to dot it on and blend, and then use a blush brush swirled in circles over your cheeks to soften the edges.

If you’re looking for more glamour (like lounging poolside in Vegas) and need more than just a natural glow, get your favorite mascara in a waterproof formula. This type of formula can be dryer so stick to one coat to prevent flaking. If you have tried waterproof eye-liner lately, you know that most are so hard you would be better off using a number 2 pencil to define your eyes, but Estee Lauder Double Wear Stay-in-Place eye pencil (Dillards, $19) goes on smooth and won’t budge.

This time of year, less is definitely more.

Have a question for Andi, beauty blogger and fellow mama? E-mail it to

Top 10 Reasons to Unplug with Other Blogger Chicks at the Arkansas Women Bloggers conference

After some fabulous post-spiration from Lyndi and Angie,we decided to share our own Top 10 Reasons to Drive out to BFE and Unplug with Other Blogger Chicks at AWBU.

Apologies to our readers who don’t blog. But if you’re considering blogging — or don’t quite have your feet wet yet in the blogosphere — you’re definitely still welcome. AWBU stands for Arkansas Women Bloggers Unplugged and it’s a great way to mingle with some fantastic women who happen to love writing and blogging.

The conference is Aug. 24-26 at the Ozark Folk Center in Mountain View. NOTE: The conference price goes up at the end of the day tomorrow, so make your decision quickly. (You can search for a roomie after you sign up. Conference organizers will even help you with that.)

To help convince you of the conference’s awesomeness, our Top 10 Reasons for why you should get your ticket TODAY:

10. Eat delicious bacon. There will be an abundance of peppered (and regular flavor!) bacon from AWBU sponsor Petit Jean Meats. No worries if you’re a vegetarian or vegan, though. The non-carnivores will have fellow peeps at the conference.

9. Get cute boots. You will be gifted with boots from Country Outfitters (also an AWBU sponsor) and so will one of your readers.

8. Run with the big girls. It has been wayyyy too long since you attended summer camp, right? And, ladies, this summer camp is for grown-ups only. With grown-up conversations and libations.

7. Dance. There will be jig dancing lessons. I’m serious. (I also remember talk of karaoke. Is that still on, Stephanie, Beth or Julie?)

6. Be Yourself. Even though you’re a card-carrying introvert, these supergirl bloggers are down to earth and very welcoming. And they will totally understand if you want to take a quick nap (or freak-out moment) in your cabin. Alone.

5. Grow. Eleanor Roosevelt said: “Do one thing every day that scares you.” Even if you’re a little nervous, step out of your comfort zone and join us. It’s a sure way to grow: yourself, your blog and your tribe.

4. Be impacted. The conference is small enough to be cozy, but big enough to make an impact on you and your blog.

3. Be at home. You’ll be with people who “get” you. If you’re still trying to explain why you blog — or what a blog is — to friends and family, you understand why this point is so important. We promise you’ll be in good company.

2. Learn.The conference will have great sessions on everything from blogger technicalities to making money online to defining your blog goals. Click here to see the list.

1. PLUS: Support — and be supported by — your girls! We guarantee you’ll leave the conference feeling supported and inspired. You’ll be at least four blog posts ahead (or at least have the ideas for them) and will have lots of new women friends to cheer you on when those gems post on your blog.

Remember: The early bird rate ends tomorrow on July 31! And the Motherlode mamas are speaking. We’d love to see you there :)

Devotion in Motion: When Bad Things Happen, Final Installment

And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.  Romans 8:28 (NKJV)

“The Missing Information

By Bro. John L. Cash, “Country Preacher Dad”

When I was about 4-years-old, I went with my mother to the dry-cleaners to pick up some clothing.  When we went inside there was a young boy there, probably about 10 or 11-years-old, who was showing a magic trick to his mother who was working behind the counter.  He had a tiny vase that had a lid on it.  He lifted the lid to show that the vase was empty, and then he placed a red ball inside the vase. He replaced the lid, tapped the lid with a magic wand and said a few magic words, and when he lifted the lid, the red ball was gone.

magic-hat.jpgI was astounded. I’d seen pictures of magicians in books and had seen them on television, but I’d never once seen anyone who could work magic in real life. I couldn’t believe my eyes!

Something just as amazing to me were the reactions of the boy’s mother and that of my own mother. I could tell they weren’t amazed at all. For the rest of that afternoon I talked to my mom about what a wondrous thing we had witnessed, and I could tell she wasn’t impressed a bit. It just wasn’t that big of a deal.

Flash forward a few years. When I got a little older, I bought my own little magic vase at the five-and-dime. I think it cost fifty-nine cents. And boy, was I disappointed when I learned the secret of the trick. When you put the lid on the vase, the little ball got trapped in a false cover in the lid of the vase.  There was no great mystery. It made perfect sense when you had all the information.

I think we’re in the same situation in this life when we attempt to understand the meaning of the suffering we go through. Sometimes things seem so unfair. But, on the last day, I believe we’ll finally see all the facts that the Lord sees all time. Then everything is going to be so obvious. We’re all going to have blisters on our thumbs and knots on our heads from snapping our fingers and slapping our foreheads as we say, “Oh! It all makes perfect sense now!”

We sing a song in our country church that says “We’ll understand it all by and by.” I believe that with all my heart. Right now I can’t understand all the things God allows to happen, but I’m  still choosing to trust Him. And since God is all-knowing, I believe He looked through every plan for the universe that there could possibly be, and this was the best one. And once we have the information He has, that fact is going to be obvious.

In today’s Scripture lesson (at the top), St. Paul says that “all things work together for good.” This promise extends to all who “love God” and who are “called according to His purpose.” Dear mamas, let’s open our hearts to love Him this week, and be busy about doing the things that are pleasing to Him. He is always busy at work for our good.

Dr. John L. Cash is the “Country Preacher Dad”.  He was raised in Stuttgart, Arkansas, and is in the middle of his 25th year of being a country preacher in the piney woods five miles south of the little town of Hickory, Mississippi.  He and his lovely wife, Susan, and his sons, Spencer (age 21) and Seth (age 18) live in the parsonage next door to the Antioch Christian Church. He would love to hear from you in an email sent to

Note from the mamas: If you missed any of the six installments in this series titled “When Bad Things Happen,” click here to read the ones you missed and bookmark this site for future reference. Not only did this series help us, as mothers, understand why bad things happen, but it will also help us attempt to explain it to our children as they grow up. Thank you, Brother John, for tackling one of the toughest writing assignments and making it look so easy. Readers, share your comments on this series by clicking the “post a comment” words below.

The Rockwood Files: A lesson on facing dread

By Gwen Rockwood, newspaper columnist and mama of 3

I’ve performed my first successful surgery, and the patient is recovering nicely. I didn’t want to operate but I was the only one here when 8-year-old Jack ran his hand along the wooden banister and got a splinter in his finger. Tears and wailing started immediately after.

I knew the dramatic reaction wasn’t about the tiny sliver of wood lodged under the skin. It was about the fear, the panic, the dread of getting it out. I knew this because I’m the same way and always have been, which makes me wonder if phobias are as hereditary as eye color. If I had to choose between a splinter and a spider, I’d take my chances with the creepy crawler.

At our house, Tom is the official splinter surgeon because he’s less squeamish, but he was away on business which left me on-call for splinter emergencies. I did my best to appear cool and calm so I could talk Jack out of a full-blown panic attack. He didn’t want me to touch it, he said. Didn’t want me to get too close to it in case I accidentally touched it, he said. He was caught between the proverbial rock and a splintery place. His finger hurt because of the splinter and removing the splinter would hurt, too. What’s a kid and his splinter-phobic mother to do?

I gathered the surgical instruments – peroxide, tweezers and a flashlight – and explained the possible courses of treatment to the petrified patient.

“Listen, you’ve got some options here. Number One: You leave the splinter in there and your finger keeps hurting and might get infected. Number Two: You take this pair of tweezers and take out the splinter yourself. Number Three: You let me take out the splinter. What’s it going to be?”

The patient refused all three courses of treatment, opting instead for dramatic 8-year-old angst. I needed to get creative.

“Okay, let’s try this idea. Let me rub some ointment on your finger that will help make it numb, and then you won’t even feel it when the splinter comes out,” I proposed.

“I won’t even feel it?” he asked, hopeful that such an option existed.

“That’s the plan,” I said, hopeful the idea would either work or I’d get the splinter out before he realized it wasn’t working.

With the patient’s consent, I rummaged through the medicine cabinet until I found an old tube of Anbesol I’d once used on a teething baby. I rubbed the amber-colored gel onto the afflicted finger and waited a few minutes.

“Okay, it should be numb now, so let’s take out the splinter,” I said to the patient. “You hold the flashlight and I’ll hold the tweezers.” We both took a deep breath and held it while I grabbed onto the offending splinter and yanked.

“Yes!” I said, holding up the tweezers in victory. “I got it!”

Then there was celebrating and dancing around the kitchen island operating room because the procedure was a success and the patient was alive! For an hour or so afterward, the patient regarded me as a genius and a hero. And I enjoyed the accolades because a mother has to take her pats on the back wherever she can get them.

The operation made me realize the worst part of any unpleasant job is the time that comes before it. Dread makes the task (and the splinter) far bigger than they actually are.

Perhaps the best medicine is to tell ourselves it won’t hurt (much) and then “grip it and rip it.” Relief waits on the other side of courage.

Gwen Rockwood is a mom to three great kids, wife to one cool guy, a newspaper columnist and co-owner of To read previously published installments of The Rockwood Files, click here.

Inconceivable Mama: The sunny side of life

Gilgal Sculpture Garden

By Inconceivable Mama

You may have noticed that it has been quite some time since I have updated you on my status in my quest to become a mother.  I WISH I had different news but our situation really hasn’t changed much since I last wrote.

You see, it is way beyond my nature to be negative.  I am the girl who is always cheering for the underdog, the girl who can find something good even in the worst of situations so to dwell on the downside of things is SO outside my comfort zone.  When I last wrote back in April I was really struggling to put a positive, hopeful spin on my situation.

Fortunately because it was National Infertility Awareness Week, I had something to write about to take the focus off me and my “situation.”  Sadly, in the last two months, nothing new has happened in our journey to parenthood so I have avoided writing anything because I DON’T WANT TO BE NEGATIVE!

As I sat down to write tonight I tried to come up with a list of things I wanted to write about.  The funny thing is that NONE of them had to do with having a baby.  Don’t worry, I haven’t given up.  On the contrary, I believe I am more committed to actually getting pregnant than I ever was yet in making that list I realized that there is SO MUCH in my life to be thankful and happy for.  I don’t have to sit here and dwell on what ISN’T but that I can be thankful for what IS!

I hope that if you too are dealing with infertility (or really any event that rocks you to your core) that you look at what’s GOOD in your life.  Make a list of things that make you happy, make you smile, make you realize that sometimes life is what it is and not what it could be.

10 Things GREAT in my Life:

  1.  My husband and I took an amazing vacation and got to spend some really great quality time together.
  2. I went bowling with my 81 year old grandmother.
  3. I joined an AMAZING gym that has really motivated me spiritually as well as physically.
  4. I have been attending church more regularly.
  5. I learned how to give myself a French manicure.
  6. I got not one, but TWO new puppies.
  7. I was the first person my nephew called after his dog died.
  8. I am 8 books ahead of my reading goal for the year.
  9. I have been selling some of my art.
  10. I have developed some really special friendships this year.

Your turn! What’s GOOD in your life?

Inconceivable Mama has lived in Arkansas for 15 years and is a teacher. She and her Hubs don’t have any kids (…yet) but live on a small farm with dogs, cats, chickens and horses. She is writing anonymously for now. To read previous posts, click here.

*Photo credit: whistlepunch via Flickr


New features on new appliances

You know when you pre-heat your oven and a not-so-pleasant smell starts to fill the kitchen? The kind of smell that reminds you that the last thing you cooked in the oven spilled over the edge and burnt itself on the bottom of the oven? And you meant to clean it up but we all know that running the self-cleaning feature on the oven can heat up the whole house and it takes a while, too.

So we were curious about this new “AquaLift Technology” we heard about on the new Whirlpool ovens. Our friends at Metro Appliances & More (who sell more than 40 different brands of appliances) sent us some facts about this new feature so we could stay up-to-date on the latest “smart appliances” out on the market.

The AquaLift process is designed to clean the oven using less heat and less time. (Traditional self-cleaning cycles use heat up to 800 degrees.) It’s also supposed to be a “no-odor” self-cleaning cycle because the only thing you use in the oven is water. We love that idea because those oven cleaning chemicals can make the house stink and you certainly don’t want the kids breathing in those fumes.

And the biggest perk? The time savings. A traditional self-cleaning cycle takes around two to four hours because you have to clean and then wait for the oven to cool back down. This new AquaLift technology claims to give your oven back to you for use in less than an hour.

The instructions for using this new feature include 3 steps: 1) Pour water into the bottom of the oven. 2) Press “clean” and then “start” and wait 40 minutes while the cycle runs itself. 3) Use a soft cloth to wipe out the mess loosened up by the cleaning cycle. If you’d like to see it in action, click HERE to see a YouTube video on how it works.

Do any of you have a new oven with this feature? If so, please post a comment and let us know what you think of it.

Hope this info helps those of you who may be shopping for a new oven sometime soon. For more info on this feature or other advances in appliance technology, you can always call Metro Appliances & More. They’re always in the know about the latest and greatest bells and whistles on the market. Their phone number is 479-750-2200 and their huge showroom is located between Lowell and Springdale on Highway 71 Business.

Mom’s Choice Winner: New Directions Physician Weight Loss Center

If you’ve ever jumped on the weight loss roller coaster, you likely had lots of company. But we know about a different approach to losing weight here in NWA. It’s a program with proven success and lots of support from doctors and new friends.

The mamas have known Dr. Feezell, director of the New Directions Physician Weight Loss Center, for several years now. He’s funny, personable and serious about helping people meet their weight loss goals, including those who are desperate to find an effective plan because they have a disease like diabetes or just want to be able to play with their kids without running out of steam.

Moms voted New Directions “Best Weight Management Clinic” in Benton County. Congratulations! We asked the New Directions team to share a little more about the program, which clearly has had a fantastic success rate among people in the area:

Who is the ideal client for New Directions? New Directions Physician Weight Loss program is a medically monitored diet program which means that it is the perfect program for obese and severely obese persons with medical issues. Dr. Randall Feezell, Elizabeth Thompson, PA-c and  Dr.Lyndell Horine are skilled in the art of monitoring weight loss progress and REDUCING medications such as blood pressure and diabetes medications.

People who have a smaller amount of weight to lose, say 20 or so pounds, or with specific health restrictions may also join a modified branch of New Directions called an LCD (Low Calorie Diet typically 1000-1400 call/day).  Typically, this client is put on 2 meal replacements daily with snacks and a single meal which are recommended to them by the Registered Dietitian. Class follow-up and check ins tend to be the same, because the focus is the same: lifestyle changes to facilitate long term weight loss maintenance.

You also work with adolescents, correct? We have worked with some adolescents, very often the physicians will have them on a modified program for weight loss with ongoing linear growth.

Why is this program so effective? The New Directions program utilizes a very-low-calorie-diet of nutritionally complete meal replacements. This facilitates rapid weight loss which is itself motivating! Along the way, our clients attend classes weekly to empower them to make Therapeutic Lifestyle Changes in areas of nutrition, physical activity and behavioral health.

What kind of support can your clients expect from New Directions? Lots of support from the health care team and from classmates.  Remember that clients are here weekly to check in and monthly to see the health care practitioner. We actually address “Getting Support” and the importance of this in our class curriculum. New Directions also has a Newsletter to offer support and tips monthly.

Your ad says to mention the phrase “Kids” when you call the New Directions phone number (479-268-6404). What can moms expect with that discount code? Moms and anyone else who use the KIDS code will be able to register for an orientation session free of charge!

Dr. Randall Feezell, New Directions director

Tell us about the program’s director, Dr. Randall Feezell: Dr. Feezell is not only a wonderful boss, he is an amazing physician and patient advocate. After a career in the field of Obstetrics and Gynecology, he realized that in general physicians weren’t able to effectively help patients lose weight AND KEEP IT OFF. He searched for a weight loss program that would help him to achieve this end and found Robard’s New Direction and opened New Directions Physician Weight Loss program almost 3 years ago.  He became board certified as a Bariatric Physician and continues to grow and learn about the effects of stress, hormonal  and environmental changes on weight and health. He is passionate about this program and is “fully vested”  in ensuring our clients’ ongoing success!

We hear you’re opening a new location in Fayetteville. Congratulations! Where will the new clinic be located and will it offer everything that’s already available in Bentonville? The new New Directions Physician Weight Loss office in Fayetteville is located at 2233 N Green Acres Road. Right now we are gradually increasing the amount of time that staff will be available in Fayetteville. However, at this moment, clients have to come to the Bentonville office for: Orientation sessions, physician visits, and Adapting and Maintenance classes. Eventually, we plan to offer the same services in Fayetteville as Bentonville!

Do you have any informational classes for people who are considering starting at New Directions? Yes, we do offer regular orientation sessions for registered guests to learn about the New Directions Program. Dr. Feezell speaks to the group about how the program works and the expectations associated with it. Then I, as the program coordinator, take an opportunity to discuss the cost of the program.  We always have a client on hand to give testimony and to speak realistically about the program.

What do you hear most often from your members about the program’s success? They report that the weight loss phase, called the Reducing Phase, is actually “the easiest phase”. Most of our clients choose this program because of the Therapeutic Lifestyle Change component.  Adapting back to real food and Maintaining weight after weight loss is difficult because of the lifestyle changes that are required. The program is here to support the clients through that process for 2 years via the STAR ( Steps to Avoid Regain) Maintenance program. Our success is measured not by total weight lost, but by total weight kept off.

For more info on New Directions, click HERE to visit their website. You can also call to ask questions or schedule an appointment at 479-268-6404 or send an email to The center is located at Mercy Health Center, 3101 Southeast 14th St., Bentonville. 

Color for a Cause! ONF selling coloring books to assist local lunch program

The next time you stop by Ozark Natural Foods, grab a copy of the new Co-op Kids coloring book for $5.

The coloring book features tons of healthy and fun foods (along with an activity page) and, best of all, proceeds will benefit the Fayetteville Public School lunch program. The goal is to help them purchase healthier and better foods.

The book can be found in aisle 4, next to the baby foods.

The most important thing about this book is that 100% of that $5 goes directly to the Fayetteville Public School Lunch Program. ONF is especially invested in this cause because of the significance of feeding children healthy foods as early as possible.

Marketing director Alexa McGriff said: “For most parents, children are the most important thing in life. You would do anything for them, even at the expense of a luxury for yourself. You clothe them, feed them, teach them right from wrong, and do whatever you can to protect them. Our children are not only important because they are our seed – they are important because they are the future. The young people in the world will one day run the world. They will make the decisions, start and stop wars, run governments, and more.

This means that it is extremely important for our children to be taught about and given healthy foods. I would guess that most of you make sure your children’s diets are as healthy as possible when they are at home, but what about during the school year? What are your kids eating in the cafeteria every day? If your child eats breakfast and lunch in the cafeteria, then almost 50% of their meals for the entire week are eaten at school. But you have no control over what the schools are feeding your children. Or do you?”

Alexa said right now, the USDA gives the Fayetteville Public Schools around $1.10 for each student’s lunch, and $0.70 for each breakfast. That number is extremely low. So even though Fayetteville Public Schools’ Child Nutrition Director, Adam Simmons, wants to work with local farmers to get healthy, fresh produce into the schools, he doesn’t have the money to do so. Most local farmers need the money up front for the entire year, and he can’t give that to them because the budget won’t allow it. It is a vicious cycle.

To help solve the problem, shoppers can purchase one of these coloring books or make a donation of any amount at the cash registers by simply by saying you’d like to donate the Fayetteville Public School lunch program.

“We guarantee that 100% of your donation, and of your coloring book purchase, will go straight to the school,” Alexa said. “You can make a difference. You and your kids can color for a cause!”

Northwest Arkansas Mama Doc: Breastfeeding advice on engorgement, clogged ducts, mastitis and more

By Dr. Haley Vo, Mercy physician and mama of 3

So you’ve finally made it through nine long months, anxiously awaiting the birth of the newest member of your family. You’ve got a sweet baby wrapped up in your arms. I really don’t think there’s a more blissful feeling in the world. You gaze down lovingly into those bright eyes and notice your child is looking at you intently, as if she’s trying to tell you something.  Maybe she’s even put her tiny hand to her mouth. That’s when it dawns on you:  she’s hungry! And she wants to eat. From your body. Now.

Pretty daunting, isn’t it?

Somehow during my first pregnancy, I was sure that breast feeding would just happen, like magic. The baby would know what to do. I would know what to do. Then I promptly delivered a 4 pound baby girl 8 weeks early.  Breastfeeding wasn’t magic. It took a lot of work. And a lot of help. But eventually we both got the hang of it.

The second time around, I thought, “Oh, I’m a breastfeeding pro. I can feed my son no matter what! No worries.” And then my son wouldn’t latch on. At all. Insert more work. And more help.

The moral of the story is this:  please seek help. Lactation consultants are excellent resources. Many babies and moms have trouble at first. The hospital can give you names, La Leche League can give you names, your doctor may be able to give you names. Don’t give up!

The most common thing I hear from new moms is that they don’t know if their child is eating enough. Here are two things most doctors look for: Is the baby eating every two to three hours? Is the baby having a wet diaper every time he or she is fed?

And here’s the scoop on poop: Many breastfed babies poop 6-8 times a day. It’s totally normal. It’s also normal for it to be yellow or green and watery. It may look like it has seeds in it. Before you had children, you probably had no idea how much you would worry about poop. I know I didn’t.

“Don’t worry, Mom. We’re here to help you out.”

There is, unfortunately, some discomfort associated with breastfeeding. Early on, many women have engorgement. This is because your body hasn’t yet been able to regulate how much milk it needs to produce. This can be very painful. To relieve engorgement, you can express, either with a breast pump or your hand, a small amount of milk, just until you’re comfortable.  If you drain your breasts completely, your body will think your sweet bundle of joy needs that much milk to fill him up, and it will continue to produce that much, thus creating a vicious cycle.

Another painful condition is called a clogged duct. This happens when the exit track for milk gets clogged for some reason. This hurts a lot! You may notice one breast feels very full, might be firm to the touch, especially in one spot over the clogged duct. It may also be slightly red. This is best treated with warm heat – a heating pad or a rice bag – and continue to feed your baby or pump. It will eventually resolve, but it can be pretty miserable until then. Some women have more trouble with clogged ducts when they wear under-wire bras. If you’re plagued with this problem, try going wire-free and see if it helps.

If bacteria happens to enter the breast, sometimes from a tiny break in the skin, you can get mastitis, which is an infection of the breast. It may make you feel as though you have the flu. Many women get high fevers. The affected breast is red, warm to the touch, and painful. You really need antibiotics for this, so you’ll have to see your favorite health care provider.

One key point during mastitis:  Keep feeding your baby or pumping! The milk is not harmful to your baby, and it’s important that it continues to be drained.

There are a few things that you should know about taking care of yourself during lactation. One of the common things that I see with new moms is complete exhaustion. You have just undergone some of the most drastic changes, both physically and mentally, that you will ever go through. Please know that I think breastfeeding is best. However, I also know that occasionally a mom needs a break. A bottle of formula, here and there, isn’t going to ruin breastfeeding. In fact, resting up may help your milk supply. So every once in a while, go easy on yourself and let your partner do the work!

Here are a few other tidbits: On average, a breastfeeding mom needs between 500 and 600 extra calories a day. That’s more than you needed while pregnant! It’s best that those calories come from nutrient dense foods, such as lean protein, fruits, and vegetables. She also needs to be careful to replace the fluid that she’s losing in milk production.

Keep it up, Mamas! It will be worth it for you and your baby! But when you experience bumps in the road, please seek some help. I promise, we’ve all been there.

To visit with Dr. Vo in person, you can schedule an appointment with her by calling the Mercy Clinic Primary Care Sugar Creek in Bella Vista.  It’s located at 24 Sugar Creek Center and the phone number is 479-876-1414. Same day appointments will be available at the clinic.

If you have a general health question for Dr. Vo, you can email it to and she may answer it in a future post.

Single ticket sales start today for Walton Arts Center’s 2012-13 season!

Single tickets for Walton Arts Center’s 2012-13 season go on sale today at 9 a.m.

The 2012-13 season includes over 40 shows including Shrek the Musical (woo-hoo!), Wynonna’s Rockin’ Christmas, Grammy® award winner Eileen Ivers & Immigrant Soul, Second City for President and much more! (Look for some awesome giveaways here on Motherlode in the coming months!) Tickets can be purchased by calling the Walton Arts Center Box Office at 479.443.5600 or by visiting

For benefits like discounts, free exchanges and early access, subscriptions to the Broadways and 10×10 Arts Series as well as Create Your Own are already on sale!

The season kicks off on August 18 with two shows of Second City for President, an adult sketch comedy group that is ready to bring laughs to Northwest Arkansas. The traveling comedy group changes up their routine every six to eight months and creates their scripts based on improvisational sessions among cast members.

Here’s a complete season listing by series:

Procter & Gamble Broadway Series:

Shrek The Musical

October 30-November 4

Tickets start at: $39

Billy Elliot The Musical

December 4-9

Tickets start at: $49

Catch Me If You Can

January 8-13

Tickets start at: $39


February 5-10

Tickets start at: $49

Anything Goes

April 9-14

Tickets start at: $49

War Horse

May 22-26

Tickets start at: $49

10×10 Arts Series:

Plena Libre

September 20

Tickets start at: $10

Caravanserai: Majid Bekkas Gnawa Ensemble with Brahim Fribgane

October 18

Tickets start at: $10

Tokyo String Quartet

October 19

Tickets start at: $10

LA Theatre Works Pride & Prejudice

October 26

Tickets start at: $10

Eileen Ivers & Immigrant Soul

November 15

Tickets start at: $10

Cantus and Theater Latte Da present All is Calm: The Christmas Truce of 1914

November 29

Tickets start at: $10

Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet

January 25

Tickets start at: $10


March 1

Tickets start at: $10


March 30

Tickets start at: $10

Artosphere Festival Orchestra

June 21

Tickets start at: $10

Popcorn Indiana American Masters Series:

Don Williams

October 9

Tickets start at: $35

Mannheim Steamroller

December 11

Tickets start at: $59

Wynonna’s Rockin’ Christmas

December 16

Tickets start at: $50

Preservation Hall Jazz Band: Creole Christmas

December 20

Tickets start at: $20

An Evening with Garrison Keillor

March 28

Tickets start at: $38

Coca-Cola Night Out Series:

Second City For President

August 18

Tickets start at: $23


September 7-9

Tickets start at: $48

One Night of Queen performed by Gary Mullen & The Works

March 15

Tickets start at: $25

American Idiot

April 26-28

Tickets start at: $53

Kimberly-Clark Family Fun Series:

Moscow Classical Ballet’s The Nutcracker

December 21-23

Tickets start at: $32


February 15

Tickets start at: $14

Potted Potter: The Unauthorized Harry Experience, a parody by Dan & Jeff

February 16 & 17

Tickets start at: $19

Popovich Comedy Pet Theater

April 6

Tickets start at: $16

Jack Hanna’s Into the Wild LIVE!

May 3

Tickets start at: $19

Kids Series:

Guess How Much I Love You and I Love My Little Storybook

December 14

Tickets start at: $10

ODC/Dance presents The Velveteen Rabbit

January 19

Tickets start at: $10

The Little Prince

February 19

Tickets start at: $10

We’re Going on A Bear Hunt

May 12

Tickets start at: $5


Sir James Galway, Flute and Lady Jeanne Galway, Flute with pianist Michael McHale and string trio

March 14

Tickets start at: $48

Monterey Jazz Festival on Tour 55th Anniversary Celebration

April 20

Tickets start at: $18

Artosphere Festival Finale

June 28

Tickets start at: $10


Letters Home

November 11

Tickets start at: $16

Jim Brickman On a Winter’s Night

December 17

Tickets start at: $25

ODC/Dance presents Unplugged in Starr Theatre

January 19

Tickets start at: $19


February 22 & 23

Tickets start at: $48

Caravanserai: Orchestra of Fes directed by Mohammed Briouel with Francoise Atlan

April 19

Tickets start at: $10

For more information about the 2012-13 season, contact the Walton Arts Center Box Office by calling 479.443.5600 or visit

What We’re Reading + Book Giveaway: Blacklisted from the PTA!

A whole year has passed since Lela Davidson and fans celebrated the launch of her book, Blacklisted from the PTA.

Since then, Blacklisted has won half a dozen literary awards and has entertained folks from all over the globe (especially, we’d venture, fellow mamas who can totally relate to Lela’s hard-won stories).

To celebrate this milestone, Lela asked some good bloggy friends to help her celebrate each day in July. A month-long virtual birthday party, if you will. Today’s our day to wish Lela and Blacklisted a VERY HAPPY BIRTHDAY! Congrats, friend, on a job well done and all of Blacklisted’s success.

Lela has been introducing her readers to some of her favorite chicks in the blogosphere throughout the party (because that’s what happens at parties, right? You meet new friends?) over at her blog, After the Bubbly. These blogging friends — including quite a few here in NWA — have written about everything from delicious snacks, to favorite shoes, to DIY crafts, to a woman’s many personalities, to signature drinks to how you can make real friends on the Internet.

While vacationing at the beach or hanging out poolside this summer, we recommend Blacklisted from the PTA for back-to-back laughs.

Since no party is complete without favors or goodie bags, we’re giving away a copy of Lela’s book! (If you can’t possibly wait to see if you won–  and want to jump over and just buy the book already — CLICK HERE to get it from Amazon.)

HOW TO WIN YOUR OWN COPY OF THE BOOK: To win a copy of Lela’s book, just click on the comment button below and tell us what story you might use if a book was written (or, like Lela, you wrote it yourself) about your life. Would you share the details of your mother-in-law’s passive-aggressive Christmas gifts, the time your dress was tucked into your tights at the theatre or about the day your little darling pitched a fit in Rick’s Bakery and broke 10 bottles of syrup with her kicky, tantruming feet (or was that just me?).

ABOUT THE BOOK: Blacklisted from the PTA is a collection of 62 essays written by local author Lela Davidson. She knows how to mine humor in some of the craziest places, especially motherhood. She shares her life from all angles — and they’re all very sharp.

“Blacklisted from the PTA Lela takes you to Mexican bars, the hockey rinks of St. Louis, ski slopes near Santa Fe, shopping in Dallas, and even introduces you to a few strippers—the novices on the playgrounds of New York City, and the pros in Vegas. Lela says what the rest of us are thinking. Her hilarious observations and subtle satire are always spot on. She’s not afraid to reveal her screw-ups, along with fleeting delusional moments when she honestly believes she is the best mom ever.”

Good luck in the giveaway! Happy Birthday, Blacklisted!



Mealtime Mama: {Healthy} Ice Cream, Cookies and Fruit Dip

Eating Innately is a great food blog written by local mom and chiropractor Dr. Mandy Warren. She focuses on healthy ingredients and often uses videos to help her readers with recipes.

Two of her favorite desserts are (healthy) Vanilla Ice Cream and Mini Chocolate Chip Cookies. She also recommends her Fruit Dip for summer get-togethers.


Homemade Vanilla Ice Cream

“You’ve gotten love some ice cream especially in the summertime when it’s nice and toasty outside. Ice cream makes me happy. And my ice cream maker makes me real happy. If you don’t have an ice cream maker ask for one for your birthday. It is such a treat and I <3 mine! It is so stinkin’ easy to whip this up, pour it in the ice cream maker and take a walk (this will make you feel better before you eat 2 bowls) and when you come home, voila! It’s ready!”

2 cans coconut milk (Native Forest brand is BPA free)

1 1/2 C almond milk

1 tbsp vanilla

6 dates, pitted

Directions: Blend all ingredients in the vitamix and then pour into your ice cream maker. It takes my Cuisinart about 25 minutes or so for some nice soft serve. I topped mine with crumbled mini chocolate chip cookies (See recipe below). Yum!

Mini Chocolate Chip Cookies

“I have made these 3 times in the past 3 days, and I have to confess, I’ve only shared a few…um, ya, they are kinda addictive! I used chocolate chips once and cacao chips the other times. I like them both ways.”

2 C almond flour
1/2 C coconut flakes
1/2 tsp baking soda
pinch of salt
1/4 C coconut oil, liquified
2 tbsp honey
1 tbsp vanilla
1/3 C cacao nibs or chocolate chips

Directions: In a food processor mix almond flour, coconut flakes, salt, and baking soda. Add coconut oil, honey and vanilla and mix again until it forms a dough ball. Remove the blade and add the cacao nibs. Spoon tbsp size balls onto a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake at 350 for 7 minutes. Try not to eat them all in one sitting. Yum!

Fruit Dip

“I’m still loving my strawberries so of course I use them to dip in this delicious dip, but you can use whatever strikes your fancy This is easy peasy to make and will be a nice after dinner treat. It also makes a nice dish to take to a potluck with some fresh fruit. I hope you love it!”

1 1/2 C cashews (soak for a couple of hours)
1/2 C water
3 tbsp coconut oil
2 tbsp maple syrup
1 tbsp vanilla
pinch of salt

Directions: Place all ingredients into the vitamix and blend on high until smooth. Refrigerate for a couple hours to firm it up. Mmm mmm good!

About Dr. Mandy: I love love LOVE to be in the kitchen experimenting with healthy recipes and as luck would have it Denny loves to eat. He is the world’s best critic because so far everything on this blog has gotten an A+++! I wanted to have a way to share this information with as many people as possible because we are so bombarded with canned, packaged, enriched, genetically modified, sugar infested, trans fat…(and the list goes on) recipes. These recipes are ALL 100 percent healthy and good for you. I use REAL ingredients! We were designed to eat fruits and veggies, nuts and seeds, and wild game, free-range, grass fed and finished meat. So here are some DELICIOUS ideas to make that innate diet come to life. I want to support you as much as possible so please email me if you have questions about anything on this site. With Love in the Kitchen, Dr. Mandy


Empty-Nexter: I’m running. Won’t you join me in the race?

By Carrie Perrien Smith

It’s an election year. Most of us are armchair politicians if we bother to pay attention. Only about twenty percent of us even bother to vote if we are registered at all. As a society, we barely qualify as spectators in the political process.

But real people just like us run for elected offices. Some of these offices take a little time and others are full-time jobs. The primaries are behind us. However, you might be interested in one of the elected offices on the ballot on November 6 — like the city council position that I’m running for in Rogers.

What about You?

You have opinions and ideas. Have you ever wondered if you could make a difference as an elected official? Maybe it’s time you stick your toe into political waters. Really. Just hear me out.

Our kids are hopefully launching their own lives and raising their own children. You’ve run fund-raisers, organized projects, and managed a household and a budget most likely while juggling a career. I sometimes introduce myself as the chief administrative officer of the Smith house. It’s good for a chuckle but we take that valid experience for granted.

Lots of women like you and me don’t think we have what it takes to hold political office. Maybe it’s because we don’t think that what we did in the community counts as public service in comparison to military service, law degrees, or other appointed and elected offices. But it is time that we took those hard-earned skills and started using them to spark change in our country at the city, county, state, and national level.

The Numbers Tell It All

The Center for American Women and Politics (Eagleton Institute of Politics) at Rutgers University released a report in April detailing women in elective office. Click here to read the full report. According to the report, women make up:

  • 16.8 percent of the 112th U. S. Congress
  • 16.8 percent of the U.S. House of Representatives
  • 23.3 percent of statewide elective executive offices (such as governors, lieutenant governors, secretaries of state, and commissioners)
  • 17.6 percent of mayors in cities with over 100,000 people
  • 23.7 percent of state legislatures (some states are higher than others)

And this is progress. The report says that the number of women serving in state legislatures has more than quintupled since 1971. Ladies, we are underrepresented in elected office. Now what are we going to do about that?

Let’s give a nod to one cause that still looms over progress despite the efforts of Baby Boomer and Traditionalist women who paved the way. Elected offices require a lot of work that a woman with a young family isn’t likely to consider a priority. That is fair. To be honest, there are few leadership responsibilities more impactful to the next generation than leading and managing a family. It is a high calling to prepare our children to be adults that contribute to our community and our economy. There is one common exception: women with young families will often consider running for school board because they feel it is time invested in their kids’ education.

You Bring More to the Table Than You Think

Women have some advantages over men that provide us the opportunity to not only get elected but to make a difference in that elected role. We have strong relationship, creative, communication, and organizational skills. There is research that proves we are more likely to use those skills to lead professional, youth, women’s, and civic organizations. That active involvement expands our networks and develops our leadership skills. With those in place, it’s just a matter of determining where we’ll serve and stepping out into the public eye.

So Now What?

You’re probably thinking, “Okay Carrie. I hear what you’re saying and I’m in. So how do I get started?” I’m glad you asked. I’ve been in training for my race for almost a year. Here is what I have learned in my own journey so far as a newbie candidate.

  • Decide what you are passionate about. At our age, we are aware that life is too darn short to waste our time on something we lack passion for. I decided to run because I felt like small business owners were underrepresented on our city council. I also wanted the city to develop a revitalization effort for the older part of town.
  • Attend the public meetings for the office you want to hold. I started attending city council meetings as soon as I thought I might want to run. It has helped me understand the process, the dynamics of the council, and the issues they deal with. I learned what they were and were not talking about. It also helped me understand the demands of the role.
  • Join a local political organization for women. This is one of the first things I did. I have to admit I look forward to being in a room full of opinionated women with big personalities. Since I’m new to politics, it has given me a great opportunity to learn from them.
  • Work on a campaign for another candidate. You’ll learn the process and get a chance to experience being on a team, interacting with the public, and planning the process.
  • Attend every political forum you can. Sitting in the audience can give you a chance to listen to candidate messages and watch how they present themselves. You can learn a lot by watching how audience members react to each one.
  • Get mentors and ask a million questions with an open mind. I’m new to politics so I didn’t really know what I didn’t know, you know? I was surprised how many people I already knew through my community service that had answers to my questions. If they didn’t know, they knew who to direct me to.
  • Identify potential leaders who would make great politicians and encourage them. As I started talking about my own desire to run for city council, I found several other friends who were considering running in their cities. They each would be great in that same role. We’re learning from each other.
  • Develop your message and your public speaking skills. Decide what your platform is going to be and start writing about it. Speak about it to everyone you can so you can gather feedback. Each time is like a little audition for the important opportunities to speak that lie ahead. Join a Toastmasters Club so you can develop your speaking skills and confidence, as well as your message.
  • Tell your friends when there is a candidate you believe deserves their vote. I know that simply telling my Facebook and Twitter peeps the great things about my favorite candidates influenced their vote in the primaries. Heck, it even influenced them to take the time to vote, especially in an obscure runoff election.

Your Involvement is Important

Your voice counts whether you are helping a candidate, running for an office, or just voting for your favorite candidates.  There may be no time more perfect for women to run for elected offices and bring their skill, talent, and fresh perspective to the table. But please, seriously question if you have a passion or a mission that deserves for you to take the risk of stepping into the public eye. If you don’t, who will?

Carrie Perrien Smith is mama to Darcie and a pack of black dogs (Snappy, Jazmin, and Midgieboy — in pack order), grandma to Robert, wife to world-traveler and Walmart-blue-bleeding Tom, daughter to Wayne and Phyllis, speaker bureau and publishing company owner, Business: Engaged! small business radio show host, Rogers city council candidate, community activist, singer in a party band, and home improvement junkie. Follow her on Twitter @soarwitheagles or contact her at

Devotion in Motion: When Bad Things Happen, Part 6

3 Then she left, and went and gleaned in the field after the reapers. And she happened to come to the part of the field belonging to Boaz, who was of the family of Elimelech. ~ Ruth 2:3

“The Divine Domino Effect”

By Bro. John L. Cash, “Country Preacher Dad”

When my mother was a young woman in the early 1950’s, she worked as a secretary. One day when she came to work, there was a young man under her desk. He had a can of paint and was painting her desk.  paint-brush.jpgThe young man had beautiful blue eyes, and my mother was quite taken by him. Evidently the young man liked her too, because he came back and painted her desk every day.

He put so many coats of paint on her desk that it never dried properly. Finally the people in the office had to put her desk in the alley so someone could scrape the paint off of it. The young woman and the young man  (from under her desk) started dating, and eventually they got married. Later on, my sister Cathie was born, and 5 ½ years later, I was born. We’re the children of the secretary and the man from under her desk. And we became a joyful family.

Now think with me for a minute. What if my dad had not painted my mom’s desk? What if he had called in sick that morning? What if my dad’s boss had ordered another man to paint my mom’s desk? My goodness! I would have never been! You’d be reading another columnist right now. The events of the past make possible the events of the future, in sort of a “Divine Domino Effect.”

If you’ve never read the Book of Ruth in the Old Testament, you really ought to. It’s a short little book and a beautiful love story. And it’s a great example of how God blesses the events in our lives — even the dominoes.jpgdifficult ones – through the Divine Domino Effect.

When the story opens, Ruth is childless, and she’s a widow. She is also living in the time of a famine, and she and her mother-in-law are near starvation. But then, as the lesson text (at the top) says, “she happened to come to the part of the field belonging to Boaz.” And she marries Boaz, and they have a baby. And Ruth’s great-grandson is King David. And David’s descendant is the Lord Jesus, who is the Messiah, the Saviour of the world.

It’s not too much of a stretch to say that salvation came into the world by way of the major reversals Ruth had in her life. And though it seemed to Ruth that she “happened” to meet Boaz, I will always believe that this was part of God’s eternal plan. You see, often what we think of as the normal flow of events or coincidences are really the fruit of God’s planning and direction. Albert Einstein once said “Coincidences are God’s way of remaining anonymous.”

So if you’re going through something hard this week, keep your chin up. Don’t focus on what’s wrong at the moment, but realize that today’s events are leading to something wonderful in God’s eternal purposes. He loves you dearly and has a wonderful plan for your life.

Dr. John L. Cash is the “Country Preacher Dad.” He was raised in Stuttgart, Arkansas, and is in the middle of his 25th year of being a country preacher in the piney woods five miles south of the little town of Hickory, Mississippi. He and his lovely wife, Susan, and his sons, Spencer (age 21) and Seth (age 18) live in the parsonage next door to the Antioch Christian Church (where the Lord surely blesses His children.) He would love to hear from you in an email sent to