I Have Thoughts and Opinions

So, so many thoughts and opinions.
Awww. Manhattan School of Music put balloons on my poster. I find this surprisingly adorable. (at Manhattan School of Music)

Awww. Manhattan School of Music put balloons on my poster. I find this surprisingly adorable. (at Manhattan School of Music)

Can’t stop, won’t stop.

Can’t stop, won’t stop.

In celebration of the last full (official) day of winter, Liv rocks the pistash earmuffs.

In celebration of the last full (official) day of winter, Liv rocks the pistash earmuffs.

Parents: let’s put on a (personal finance) show!

Once upon a time, managing money was something we could see. Mom or Dad would sit at a table surrounded by paper statements and bills, writing checks and balancing the register. Cash was received at a bank branch, maybe even from a teller. 
Money management activities today can be a bit more mysterious, if not completely invisible to children. We may check balances on our phones (indistinguishable from the other million times a day our kids see us looking at our phones), or pay bills online during a few minutes at lunch (if we directly pay bills at all). We get cash from points of sale or ATMs that we hit during our rush to get somewhere else. 
This can leave kids with a skewed understanding of what it takes to direct and manage finances. Money seems to just happen automatically, without much attention. Often there are systems or institutions who capitalize on this inattention, protecting us from accidental oversight or promising to monitor our accounts and alert us if there’s anything we need to know. 
So as parents, one of the most important parts of financially educating our kids involves finding ways to bring money management to life so that it doesn’t just happen behind the scenes. 
It might take real effort to make money management more visible in your family. It’s easier to use the conveniences of automation and mobile access. This is especially true if money is a stressful trigger. We look for ways to minimize our exposure to things that cause distress.
In a sense, when we make money management visible we’re putting on a show. We choose what and how we demonstrate to our children about money. 
Kids pick up on this performance on various levels, and that’s why it’s important to pay attention to scene, script, roles, and routine
For tips to create your own powerful personal finance show, click here to read the full article at The Good, the Bad, and the Money.. 

gohelloflo:

This is why people are freaking out about the Barbie SI ad campaign

When I wrote about the Unapologetic Barbie campaign earlier this week I was still trying to process how I felt about a doll that has widely been criticized for perpetuating body dysmorphia being featured in a men’s magazine. This morning, upon seeing the cover of the 50th anniversary issue it became crystal clear.

Let me start by saying this. My daughter has a lot of princess paraphernalia - including a series of Barbie-like dolls made by Disney. While I don’t love the proportions, I understand that she loves make-believe, dress-up and anything pretty and frilly. I’m completely ok with that. I have a son as well. He prefers to hurl trucks down the stairs but will happily play along with the princesses. My house has toys purchased from every aisle. I let the kids choose what they want to play with. Most - but not all - of the time the play falls along traditional gender lines. 

We have toys in the house because we have children.

And that is precisely what rubs me the wrong way about the Barbie campaign. The Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue is a magazine targeted at grown ups (with a heavy male readership). It features gorgeous women, with impossibly perfect bodies in bathing suits staring alluringly at the camera. Sexy images. 

What’s troubling to me about the Barbie ad is who Mattel is trying to reach with this ad. They are selling a toy - meant for little girls. This juxtaposition sexualizes Barbie and quite literally sells her to us as a pin up girl. 

Mattel will tell you that Barbie has evolved. She’s a Doctor! She has a career! She sometimes wears glasses! And while all these things are true and I embrace the advances, the message this campaign sends is that at the end of the day, all that really matters is that we look great in a bathing suit. 

As a grown woman, I’m able to parse these messages. My 4.5 year old isn’t. 

I’ve long since come to terms with the fact that many of the toys my daughter will play with have impossible physical proportions. But I can not accept that her toys are encouraging her to aspire to be sexy before she even enters puberty. That’s why I’m #notbuyingit

I’m in Money Magazine this month!

"Rather than striving to document every spent dollar for weeks — a tedious and anxiety-producing exercise — make a list that’s simply good enough, suggests New York financial therapist Amanda Clayman. Just go through credit card and bank statements to tally your monthly costs as best you can."

It’s a snow pants thang.

It’s a snow pants thang.

Ice accumulation on a bare sapling. (at Brooklyn Heights Pediatric Dentistry)

Ice accumulation on a bare sapling. (at Brooklyn Heights Pediatric Dentistry)

Might I recommend a half hour of Play Doh time if you’re feeling stressed out? Works wonders.

Might I recommend a half hour of Play Doh time if you’re feeling stressed out? Works wonders.