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Paperless Post Makes Celebrating Easier

Getting Real with Shadra Bruce

This weekend was my 30th class reunion. I couldn’t attend, living across the country from where I graduated and having too many things going on to manage the 12 hours of driving and flying required to get there.

Also this weekend, my granddaughter went to a birthday party. There was face painting and cake and so much fun. She’s 3 and at the beginning of a long age of wonder and fun with birthdays.

Photos Keep Us Connected

In both instances, phones played a big role in making the events fun. In the case of my reunion, I was able to enjoy it vicariously thanks to all my friends who took pictures throughout the weekend and shared them in our Facebook group. It was almost like I was there – except that I could laugh at all the bald heads.

At the birthday party my grandaughter attended, they had a background set up for photo ops for the birthday girl and all her friends. There again, even though I was not there, I had the opportunity to experience the special moment through instant photos.

Embracing the Digital Age

Everyone complains about people being glued to their phones, but I love the opportunity it gives us to share. I have family and friends all over the world, and as much as I love to travel, I can’t be everywhere – but my photos can. I’m closer to my friends and family who are physically far away because we’re able to share this way.

More than Just Photos

When my child graduated from high school this year, I didn’t have to pay exorbitant postage costs or even buy the boring graduation announcements. I created the announcement online, customized with photos and information about their future. It gave me a lot more control and the ability to send it to people I knew would want it without paying international postage fees or having to track down mailing addresses I didn’t have.

Creating Invitations and Announcements Online

I recently discovered Paperless Post, and they invited me to try their service by giving me credits to use on their website. Paperless Post offers already-designed or custom-made invitations, announcements, and flyers as well as invitation and guest management. You just choose or upload a design, add your guest list, and click send.

Here’s how it works (from their website):

Find a free or premium invitation that’s perfect for your event.

Add your event’s details, make or import a guest list, and send with a click.

Track RSVPs and keep in touch with guests on the go.

You can personalize the designs with your own photos and backgrounds and edit the text, too.

Any event you can imagine – both personally and professionally – can be handled with Paperless Post: birthdays, baby showers, dinner parties, wedding invites, save the date reminders, conferences and events, anniversaries, and graduations.

And, because they’re digital, you can add exciting touches like animation.

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Lifestyle Changes That May Reduce Your Risk of Breast Cancer

Courtesy of the Army of Women

What can I do to prevent breast cancer? What is the best way to find my cancer early, before it has spread? These are two of the most common questions women have. Here’s what we know:

There is nothing that you can do to ensure that you absolutely do not get breast cancer. However, studies suggest that some lifestyle choices may help reduce breast cancer risk.

These include:

  1. Eating a healthy diet that is low in animal fat and high in whole grains and fruits and vegetables. There is no data indicating that a specific diet, per se, can help reduce breast cancer risk.
  2. Taking a multivitamin and make sure it includes adequate folic acid.
  3. Having your children before 35, if you have a choice.
  4. Breastfeeding your children.
  5. Avoiding unnecessary X-rays.
  6. Drinking alcohol in moderation and make sure you take folic acid when you do drink.
  7. Losing weight (if you are overweight).
  8. Not gaining weight after menopause.
  9. Getting regular exercise.

Using hormone therapy to treat menopausal symptoms for the shortest time period necessary, it at all.

You should also be sure to:

  • Evaluate any breast symptoms or changes that develop.
  • Have mammograms when appropriate.
  • Consider raloxifene if you are postmenopausal and need to take a drug to prevent bone loss.
  • If you have a family history of breast cancer or for other reasons are at high risk of getting breast cancer, visit our section for High-Risk Women.

To help us learn more about breast cancer prevention, you can:

This post is courtesy of the Dr. Susan Love Research Foundation, dedicated to eradicating breast cancer and improving the quality of women’s health through innovative research, education and advocacy.  To support this important cause and donate, visit

Creating Balance

Paula Deen Ate A Cheeseburger

Getting Real With Kathy Winn

Stop The Presses!! Paula Deen ate a cheeseburger. On a cruise.

A woman with diabetes is eating poorly on a cruise ship. It’s unbelievable!

My response? Who cares. Having grown up with a loved one who was diagnosed with Diabetes at an early age I am going to make a shocking statement: Diabetics Eat Cheeseburgers. They eat french fries. Sometimes they… gasp… eat birthday cake!

Diabetics need to pay close attention to their diets. They need to monitor the foods they eat much more closely than the rest of us do (although shouldn’t we ALL pay more attention to the foods we put into our bodies?) But they do occasionally eat food that is not considered Diabetic Diet friendly.

They are human and they will eat a cheeseburger. With french fries.

Is Paula Deen a great example of how Diabetics – or anyone – should eat?


Has she ever been a good example in that category?


So let’s let Ms. Deen make her own decisions on what she eats and we’ll make decisions on what we (and our families) eat. She’ll live with her consequences and we’ll live with ours. And where are the photos from every other meal from that cruise? Did she eat only lean protein and vegetables for all other meals? Probably not, but we’ll never know so we shouldn’t judge. Do you want someone taking a photo of what you ate on vacation? Me neither.

And if you are looking for an AMAZING recipe, I highly recommend Paula Deen’s Pumpkin Gooey Butter Cake recipe.

Just don’t eat it with a cheeseburger.

Let's Talk Raising Healthy Kids

When Sharing Is Not Okay – It Is Flu Season!

Getting Real With Kathy Winn

I work in the healthcare field. I don’t provide health care, but I work on the administrative side. Still, I spend a lot of time in the field intermingling with those that are waiting to see their doctor for a check-up – or heaven forbid – got sick with the flu.

I don’t consider myself a full-blown germaphobe. After all I have two boys that I lovingly refer to as walking petri dishes. But I do get a little over-the-top cautious when cold and flu season comes around. Why? Because once it’s in the house, it’s in the house. Even though I follow the kids around disinfecting everything they touch, it always seems to spread from one person to the next. And then we are fighting over the humidifier, staying awake at night coughing (or worse), and using our body weight in tissues.

So in an effort to keep my community a little more cold/flu germ-free this season, I’m passing along the following information. The CDC says to take three actions to fight the flu:

  1. Take time to get a flu vaccine.
  2. Take everyday preventive actions to stop the spread of germs.
    • Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough of sneeze. Throw it in the trash after you use it. (Somehow my pant leg seems to entice my toddler more.)
    • Wash your hands often with soap and water.
    • Try to avoid close contact with sick people.
  3. Take flu antiviral drugs if your doctor prescribes them. Let’s all hope we don’t get to this one.

Remember to keep the kids home from school if they are sick (and stay home from work, we really don’t want you here if you’re sick). And please disregard the grown woman walking around disinfecting everything you touch.

Get Real With Us –

Are you getting a flu shot for your kids this year? Have you had your flu shot?

Let's Talk Stress Management

Organizing This Mom’s Mind

Getting Real With Kathy Winn

I recently had an enormous panic attack related to scheduling and missed deadlines. Not the deadlines associated with (daytime) full-time job. No. This had more to do with my full-time evening, weekend and every other minute job. I had forgotten to make arrangements at one childcare location. I didn’t know soda cans were supposed to be taken (and due) for the Halloween art project. I was three emails behind from the elementary school teacher. And I knew there was a bill I was forgetting to pay. It was a stressful hour and half as I ran through the house checking lists, drawers and emails to get back on track.

So what did I do? I did the same thing I do at work – I scheduled it all. I sat down and made a calendar for each of the next three months. I sorted through emails (yes, ALL the emails) in my personal inbox and made a list for all supplies, dates, and upcoming events related to children’s activities. I figured out which bill I had missed (along with some help from an email from the principal telling me my son was “overdrawn” in his lunch account) and wrote out the checks or paid them online.

I’m not sure how long this new found home organization will last, but it’s a goal to make it through the rest of this year without missing another art project or school activity. M.C. Escher said “We adore chaos because we love to produce order.” I’m not sure I adore the chaos part, but I certainly love to cross the “to-do’s” off my list.

Get Real With Us…

How do you stay organized once the school year is in full swing and the calendar starts getting overloaded?

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Saving Lives with ENERGY

MomsGetReal is proud to be a partner & supporter of the efforts of the Army of Women and we gladly dedicate this blog space to sharing their messages whenever possible. Please read & share this – it could save lives!!

A message from Army of Women

Studies suggest that women who are overweight are at increased risk of having a breast cancer recurrence. This is a problem that a group of researchers think they can do something about! Their Exercise and Nutrition to Enhance Recovery and Good Health for You (ENERGY) study was created to help breast cancer survivors develop healthy behaviors that can improve and promote long-term weight control.

We first sent a Call to Action in June to recruit 800 female breast cancer survivors to participate in the ENERGY study. The research team needs many more women to sign up! They have expanded their eligibility criteria and are now accepting women diagnosed with Stage Ic, II, IIIa, IIIb, or IIIc, who have a BMI of 25 or greater. If you match these criteria, have completed treatment, and live in San Diego, St. Louis, Birmingham, or Denver, please read on to learn more about the ENERGY study.

If this study isn’t the right fit for you, don’t stop reading just yet. We need you to think of women you know in these cities who might want to join this study. Got someone in mind? Forward the Call to Action!

What’s the study about?

This study will examine the effects of a program that was created to help overweight breast cancer survivors lose weight by increasing their physical activity level and developing healthier eating habits. A total of 800 women will be participating in this study across the United States at four research sites.

What’s involved?

If you sign up for the ENERGY study, you will be contacted by phone to answer questions about your breast cancer diagnosis and treatment, medical history, and current and past physical activity. If you appear to be eligible, and if you decide to join the study, you will be asked to go to the study site for a screening visit (described below). If the screening visit confirms your eligibility and you decide to join the study, you will then be randomly assigned (like the flip of a coin) to one of two groups.

If you are assigned to Group A, the more intense program, you:

– Will be asked to participate in a group intervention program that consists of 26 structured classes over the course of one year (weekly meetings for the first 4 months, then once every other week for 2 more months, and then once a month for the remaining 6 months).

– Will receive up to 38 short telephone calls/emails over the next two years to help you reduce your food intake and achieve the desired level of physical activity.

– Will receive quarterly newsletters that are designed to help you achieve your goals as well as give you feedback on your progress and guidance.

If you are assigned to Group B, the less intense program, you:

– Will receive two consultations with a weight loss specialist and written materials that provide information about the current guidelines for weight loss and maintenance (at the beginning of the study and 6 months later).

– Will receive 6 bi-monthly group seminars on topics related to healthy living.

– Will receive monthly short telephone calls/emails over the next two years from the study staff.

All participants will be asked to participate in a clinic visit at the beginning of the study and at 6, 12, 18, and 24 months. This will include:

– Body measurements (weight, height, waist circumference, resting pulse and blood pressure).

– Giving a blood sample (about 2 tablespoons)

– Completing questionnaires about your health and well being, feelings and attitudes, treatment side effects, and physical activity.

– A stepping test to evaluate cardiovascular fitness. This involves stepping up and down from a bench that is 8 inches high for three minutes.

– At the San Diego site only, completing an online questionnaire about the food you have eaten during the previous 24 hours (only at the study entry, 6 month, and 24 month clinic visits).

You will also be asked to sign a medical release to permit the researchers to confirm your breast cancer diagnosis with your physician and to access relevant medical records.

The researchers need to enroll up to 800 women in this study.

Who is conducting the study?

Cheryl Rock, PhD, RD; Graham Colditz, MD, DrPH; Wendy Demark-Wahnefried, PhD, RD; Tim Byers, MD, MPH


University of California, San Diego
Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, Missouri
University of Alabama at Birmingham
University of Colorado, Denver

Who can participate?

You can join the ENERGY study if you match ALL of these MAIN categories:

– You are a woman 21 years of age or older

– You were diagnosed with breast cancer within the past 6 months to 5 years (not including recurrence, DCIS, or metastatic disease)

– You were diagnosed with Stage Ic, II, IIIa, IIIb, or IIIc breast cancer

– You are overweight (BMI of 25 to 45 – to calculate your BMI click here)

– You have finished all initial breast cancer treatments (i.e. Chemotherapy, Radiation, Herceptin). You may enroll if you are still taking a nonsteroidal antiestrogen (Tamoxifen).

– You do NOT have a history of other cancer types (non-melanoma skin cancer is OK)

– You are able to be physically active (You must be able to complete the 3 minute step test)

– You are NOT currently enrolled in another nutrition or weight loss study

– You are NOT currently pregnant or planning to become pregnant in the next 2 years

– You are willing and able to attend group meetings and stay in contact with the study staff for two years

-You live near or are willing to travel (at your own expense) to one of the following locations:

o University of California, San Diego
o Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, Missouri
o University of Alabama at Birmingham
o University of Colorado, Denver

After you RSVP, the research staff will contact you to ask additional questions to be sure that this study is the right fit for you.

Please note: If you have already submitted an RSVP for this study, you will not be able to RSVP again, as our system only allows ONE RSVP per study. If you think that you now qualify, please e-mail us directly at to let us know that you can’t RSVP online and that you would like to sign up.

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Calling All West Coast Breast Cancer Survivors

A message from our friends at the Army of Women

Are you a breast cancer survivor who is just too tired to read this entire e-blast? You’re not alone! Sleep problems, including difficulty falling or staying asleep, are familiar to many breast cancer survivors. A group of researchers at Stanford University is studying whether acupuncture can reduce sleep disruption and improve sleep in breast cancer survivors. Currently, there are no studies evaluating the effectiveness of needle acupuncture for insomnia in cancer patients.

This study may sound familiar to you. That is because we first sent a Call to Action in February to recruit 64 female breast cancer survivors in the San Francisco Bay Area. With help from the Army of Women, the research team is almost halfway to their goal. Let’s help get them to the finish line! If you are a female breast cancer survivor living in the San Francisco Bay Area who has completed treatment (hormonal treatment is OK), and who has difficulty falling or staying asleep, please read on to learn more about what’s involved and who can participate.

We know that not everyone will be able to join this study. But that’s OK! Every member of the Army of Women community has a chance to participate in her own, important way–by joining a study, passing along our information, or helping recruit new members. Help to fill this study by forwarding the Call to Action to your friends, family members, or anyone you know who might be interested in learning more! And keep looking at our e-blasts–the next study could be the one for you or someone you know!

What’s the study about?

The purpose of the study is to learn whether acupuncture can reduce sleep disruption and improve sleep in breast cancer survivors. The study will enroll 64 female breast cancer survivors who have difficulty falling or staying asleep.

What’s involved?

If you decide to sign up for the Acupuncture for Sleep Problems study and you match the main requirements, you will be asked to go to Stanford University in Palo Alto, Calif., for a screening interview. You will be asked to provide a blood sample and complete questionnaires about your background, medical history, health-related behaviors, sleep, mood, and stresses related to cancer.

If you are eligible for the study and decide to join, you will be randomly assigned (like the flip of a coin) to one of two treatment groups. Group A will receive acupuncture using traditional acupuncture points designed to provide maximal relaxation and help with sleep. Group B will receive acupuncture treatment using sham needles in your body. These are needles that are NOT traditionally associated with relaxation and sleep. Both groups will receive acupuncture treatments twice a week for 6 weeks. Throughout the study and for one month after you complete treatment, you will be asked to complete questionnaires and daily diaries as well as provide blood and saliva samples. You will also be asked to wear a wristwatch-like device that will record your physical activity during the daytime and at night.

The researchers will explain all study activities in detail.

Who is conducting the study?

David Spiegel, MD, Professor and Associate Chair of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences at Stanford University School of Medicine


Stanford University, Palo Alto, Calif.

Who can participate?

You can join the Acupuncture for Sleep Problems study if you match ALL of these MAIN categories:

– You are a woman age 21 or older
– You have been diagnosed with breast cancer of any stage (including DCIS and metastatic disease) at some point in your life. It is OK if it is a recurrence.
– You are not currently undergoing breast cancer treatment (hormonal treatment is OK) OR treatment for another cancer type
– You have been experiencing sleep problems (difficulty falling or staying asleep) for at least one month
– You are NOT currently pregnant or breastfeeding
– You have NOT had acupuncture within the past 6 months
– You are willing and able to stop receiving other treatments for sleep problems during the study period
– You are able to speak, read, and write English
– You live near or are willing to travel (at your own expense) to the Palo Alto, CA area.

After you RSVP, the research staff will ask you additional questions to be sure that this study is the right fit for you.

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The Effects of Depo Provera on Breast Tissue Study

MomsGetReal™ is a proud supporter in the fight against breast cancer. Get your BoobiePower on by joining the Army of Women. Please read this special message from our friends at Army of Women and consider participating if you can.

Women who give birth before the age of 30 are at lower risk of developing breast cancer than both women who have never had a child and women who have their first child after age 35. This may be because pregnancy causes permanent changes in the breast tissue that reduces long-term breast cancer risk.

Is it possible that giving a woman a high dose of progestin (synthetic progesterone like hormone) could reduce breast cancer risk by causing these same changes to occur in the breast tissue? This is what a group of researchers at the University of Southern California (USC) are trying to find out!

To test their hypothesis, the researchers are studying women who are currently receiving Depo Provera (birth control) injections which provide a high dose of a synthetic progestin that is similar to the hormone progesterone, which is released during pregnancy.

If you live near or are willing to travel to the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, and are currently receiving or intend to start intramuscular injections of Depo Provera, and this sounds like a study you might be interested in, please click the link below for more information!  The researchers currently only need four more women in order to close this study.

Note: Deciding to use Depo Provera for birth control is a personal choice that should be made with your doctor. We are NOT recommending that you start taking or even inquire about taking Depo Provera simply to participate in this study.

For more information on the study, click here:

The Army of Women initiative, funded through a grant by the Avon Foundation for Women, was launched as a way to help researchers connect directly with women who are interested in participating in breast cancer research studies. Volunteers sign up at and get an email alert every time a new study is seeking volunteers (once or twice a month). You get to decide which one you fit and/or are comfortable participating in. Some studies are as simple as an online questionnaire while others involve giving blood, spit or even tissue samples. And if you don’t fit the study, you can pass it on to everyone you know. The Army of Women has amazed the scientific community by their ability to recruit participants from across the country and world, rapidly saving years of effort and lots of money.

Join more than 355,000 women (and a few good men) who are willing to go the next step in eradicating breast cancer.  The Army of Women needs YOU!

To learn more about the Effects of Depo Provera on Breast Tissue Study, click here:

To learn more about the Army of Women and to sign up, click here:

Thank you for all your support!


Building Self-Esteem in Our Stepdaughters

Building self-esteem is not typically a topic gets a lot of attention on a parenting site, but I’ve discovered, through my own experience with my children and through reading emails and having conversations with other stepmoms, that self-esteem, particularly building self-esteem in our stepdaughters, is something we should be talking about more.

Young girls are already bombarded with ridiculous images of beauty in the media, and already have some of the most unreasonable expectations of themselves.  When you add to those pressures the chaos of fighting and divorcing parents, the adjustments of new living arrangements and a new stepmother in the picture, competing for attention with Dad, your stepdaughter’s self-esteem will dwindle even further.

The best thing you can do as a step mom, regardless of your relationship with your stepdaughter and regardless of the other influences she may have in her life (friends, her biological mother, or others) is to make sure you are not part of the destruction of her self-esteem.

This is an excerpt from Shadra’ s book, Stories From a StepMom, available on Amazon Kindle. Read more or request a review copy..