A RISING STAR ON BETTER

February 22, 2010 - 2 Responses

 I am not usually a big fan of country music, unless you count Taylor Swift’s popular songs that my daughter Helena sings incessantly.

But, I had the pleasure of meeting Matt Kennon a rising star in the country music world when he came for an interview on Better .  I have to say I liked him and his country song. The 32-year-old dark-haired, jean wearing man with too many tattoos to count has a great song that is climbing the charts.  It’s called “The Call” and people say it’s saving lives.  The song talks about the call that saved a young man from committing suicide, and a young woman from having an abortion that she didn’t want.  At it’s heart it talks about how reaching out with a simple call can change the course of a person’s life.  In the days of constant communication through Facebook and texting it reminds us the human voice is still irreplaceable when it comes to showing you really care.

The song’s passion is fueled by Matt’s biography.  The Georgia native was given up for adoption to two loving parents.  But his quest to learn about his biological family connected him to a painful past.  His birth father had tried to sell him on the black market, his mother was dysfunctional and couldn’t work.  When she met him she told him she wished she had an abortion way back when because she couldn’t deal with meeting him later in life. He now calls them his “illegitimate” parents.

Even if you don’t think you like country check this

 out.  Matt tells me country is the new Rock N’ Roll!

If you missed the show you can see the video on www.mattkennon.com and see my interview with Matt on www.betterct.com

By the way ladies, he tells me he’s single!

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Shake Your Chakras

February 8, 2010 - Leave a Response

In this week’s Kara’s Cure we explore the energy centers in our body that have been talked about since ancient times.  It is said we all have seven chakras.  Each vibrates the a color you find in a rainbow.  The word Chakra means wheel in Sanskrit.  Holistic nurse Doreen Fishman in West Hartford helps us continue to look inside ourn bodies for answers to our questions about health and well being.

I became intrigued when she once noticed my 2nd chakra was “imbalanced” at a time when my stress levels were high.  To her it looked enlarged and murky.  I cannot see chakras, but many healers who are able to tune into our auras can.  She did some energy work on me and gave me some homework like deep breaths and some positive affirmations to get me back in balance.

I wanted to learn more!  So this week we take you through the Chakras and explain what they relate to, and practical fun things you can do to make some adjustments.  For instance the second chakra, is also called the sacral chakra, and radiates orange.  It relates to money and relationships.  When you are having issues in those areas I’ve learned you should shake that chakra…by dancing or bowling…or anything else that get’s it moving in a circular motion.  The ideas is our lives are written in the cells of our bodies, by improving our bodies we improve our lives, and maybe more importantly, by improving our lives we heal our bodies.

I hope you enjoy the story on Better at 10am Monday Feb. 8th.  If you miss it go to www.betterct.com and watch it there.

Want to read more about this?

Check out:

The Anatomy of the Spirit by Carolyn Myss

The Intuitive Advisor by Mona Lisa Shulz

www.DoreenFishman.com


Kara Learns About Chakras

MAKING RESOLUTIONS STICK

January 29, 2010 - Leave a Response

      We are about to enter the second month of 2010 and many of us may be feeling like we failed if we didn’t stick to our resolutions.

   Fear not there is still time to salvage them.  It just takes some re-wiring of your brain.  Turns out we need to make new brain connections to make new habits.  Think of skiing down fresh powder and leaving new tracks.  To make those tracks into a well traveled trail that isn’t so difficult and bumpy we need to go over the tracks several times.

  Coming up on Monday’s Kara’s Cure Holistic Nurse and Intuitive Healer Doreen Fishman shows us how to re-program our brain with three simple steps that really can change your life.  Don’t worry it’s not hard…one is just breathing.  Yes it turns out that breath that we take for granted is super important for changing how our brain works. 

   I learned so much reporting on this story.  I hope you’ll join us at 10 am Monday, February 1st.  It’s not too late to keep your resolutions.  Learning how to be mindful could make 2010 a year to remember!

Kara’s Cure-The Power of Prayer

January 22, 2010 - 2 Responses

  Now that I am back from maternity leave Kara’s Cure will return to Better Connecticut every Monday at 10 am.  We explore ways to Better our Mind Body and Spirit.

    This week we explore the Power of Prayer.  When I was researching this subject I found several studies that have shown people who are prayed for heal better.  You’ll meet Blythe Kaufman a busy West Hartford mom who came down with a rare disease.  As a medical professional, she did everything in her scientific power to heal herself…until as she says she finally surrendered and solicited people to pray for her.  What happened next is what she calls a miracle.

Hearing her story was inspiring to me especially as it involved people of many faiths.  My research found 90 percent of us pray.  I thought that was a big number, but after watching this story you may find it’s the best thing you can do for your health.

I look forward to your comments.  See you Monday at 10 am!

And Then There Was Sleep!

January 15, 2010 - 5 Responses

If the world could be created in 7 days why  does it  take so long for Babies to sleep through the night?

It has finally happened for us.  Julian is now 4 and half months old and after an exciting meal of rice cereal decided to give up his two middle of the night feedings and sleep from 7pm until 6am.  The next night he did it again and actually slept longer until 7am. Can you say hallelujah!

I must admit we were spoiled with our daughter Helena.  She slept a 12 hour stretch by the time she was 8 weeks old and from the moment I brought her home from the hospital gave me at least one 5 hour stretch.  Sadly the books tell you 5 hours is medically sleeping through the night.

Julian wanted to eat every hour and 45 minutes at first..and before two nights ago still woke up twice a night to eat.

Ironically, I have stayed up reading many books on baby sleep praying I would find the answer.  I have come to the conclusion there is only so much we can do.  Babies will sleep when they want to.  However, I will say for all those new moms out there The Secrets of the Baby Whisperer is a great book to help you set the stage for sleep.  It helps you teach your baby to fall asleep on his or her own. Yes, sleep is a skill babies have to learn and it’s one I don’t mind teaching.  At one point I was really good at it!

Don’t you remember when you used to talk about how great a party was…or how late you stayed up in college?  Now we compete with sleep stories.  Oh I got 8 hours last night cause baby so and so didn’t wake up… or I’m delirious because same baby  was up every hour.  Sleep, or the lack of it, becomes an obsession.  This must be why the military uses it as a torture tool. 

I hope I am not jinxing us, but Dennis and I are happy our baby boot camp appears to be over, at least until he gets a tooth. I wish you all a good night and look forward to reading your comments. We all have war stories to tell!

Back to Work after Baby # 2!

December 28, 2009 - 6 Responses

I know have not posted in a while, but I think most of you will understand having a new baby is a bit time consuming…ok how about overwhelming and all consuming but the best thing I did in my life kinda good.

My son Julian will turn four months old on New year’s Day!  My precocious daughter Helena is turning three in February, though sometimes seems like she’s turning 30.

I once heard having two children is way more than double the work and I have found that to be true.  But just when you thought you couldn’t love anything more than your first child your heart does a triple-lindy and opens up even bigger.  The sleep deprivation is mitigated by the big blue eyes looking back at you.  The 2 year old tantrums asking when is he going back to the hospital are soothed by the big “I love you mommy” I get every morning I make a waffle with “chocolate on the top and peanut butter on the down.!”

I know I sound like a mushy mom, but the other mushers out there get it. 

This Christmas I can say I felt so blessed to have a house full of children and all the chaos that goes with it.  It seems hard to believe 3 years ago it was just Dennis and I sleeping in and deciding on dinner plans.  I’m thankful for all the Better Chefs who gave me easy recipes to make this year so I could pretend to be  Martha Stewart for my in-laws while I secretly googled how to cook a tenderloin!

As we move into 2010 I will celebrate 10 years at Channel Three.  The people here are my second family.  Leaving my young children to go back to work full time is hard, but I feel I am showing my kids you really can fulfill your dreams and be a good parent.  I will continue my quest for things that can make a mom’s life easier and more peaceful.  I will share them here and on Better Connecticut so tune in.  Thank you for all of your warm wishes.  May all of you have a blessed New Year.  I look forward to reading your comments.

This Old House…The Story of My Home Renovation

October 21, 2008 - 4 Responses

 

This December it will one year since we left our city style brownstone in downtown Hartford for a house with a yard for our little one. We knew our new abode would need SOME work. At first I thought I would get everything done before we moved. Did I mention that was almost a year ago? Our renovation reminds me of an onion. Peel of one layer and there are hundreds more to get through and it stinks while you’re doing it!
We painted walls, refinished the floors and updated our master bath. It was the perfect candidate for one of those cable shows where you wonder if anyone still has a bathroom like that! Going through it was stressful as we moved in and out of rooms so workers could take over. We no longer needed alarm clocks. They were replaced by the break of dawn arrivals of various men with tools.

Once upon a time Dennis and I did much of the work ourselves. Since the arrival of our daughter Helena 19 months ago, taking time out to sing “Elmo’s world” has replaced reading do-it-yourself books. Though since we renovated our old house before, we have learned some tricks I’d like to pass along.

If you are going to hire anyone to do work I believe word of mouth from someone who’s had success is the best way to get a good result. Years ago Eyewitness News Anchor Irene O’Connor referred me to 
Patrick Moran of Moran Builders and Remodeling in West Hartford, and I’m so happy she did. Pat helped me design the perfect master bath while still keeping in mind our budget ( i.e. he didn’t suggest moving massive pipes just so I could put my make-up on on the other side of the room!) He comes along with his buddies Ed Blesso the plumber, Wayne Wosczyna the electrician and Paul Lenares the carpenter. Not only are they skilled but they don’t seem to mind that I change my mind a lot.

 

If you are not going to hire a designer I suggest you do what I did and clip lots of pictures of what you like. I found my dream bath in a the Renovation Style magazine and went from there. Pat and I knocked off a few things for cost but in the end I love my bath more than the picture. I used the internet to get great deals. I saved 50 percent by buying my tub on www.overstock.com  I found my sink at Green Demolitions www.greendemolitions.com in Norwalk for 15 dollars, brand new! They get samples from famous companies and sell em to you and me. They also harvest luxury kitchens and baths from renovations done by the Rich and Famous in Greenwich and plant them in your home. Speaking of being green, I had an antique desk I inherited from my college buddy who didn’t need it anymore. It was the perfect size and shape for a dressing table. George at West Hartford Finishing http://whfinishing.com made it white and durbable enough for everyday use. I love that I saved the environment and my wallet! Choices like that allowed me to splurge on a towel warmer from Mr. Steam. I hate the cold, and I hate doing laundry- so I love a warmer that heats the towels and keeps them from getting wet and musty.
If you have a quirky space you might need to use custom cabinets. We went to Village Cabinets in Bristol www.villagecabinets.com . Remember what I said about word of mouth? Denise D’Ascenzo used them on her kitchen years ago and passed them to on to us. The cabinet designer Steve Henschel helped us with a new kitchen in our brownstone and I knew he could work magic again. That’s exactly what he did. In old houses you don’t have the big bathrooms of today. Steve looked at my dimensions and came out with a plan to build a vanity that would look like my picture, fit in my space, hide all my hair products, and still fit our budget.

What’s a bathroom to do without tile. Enter Lorenzo from Marconi tile in Newington. He knew I wanted to keep with the old tradition of our home so we stuck to subway tile in the shower, and white hexagons on the floor. He still helped me add some spa like flare with rocks on the shower floor and some pretty aqua/blue ocean like glass tile above my vanity. He took my picture and made it real! Thank you Joe, the owner of Marconi. and Ina for helping me get all the tile at great prices.

To expand our master bath from its turn of the century shoe box size to a space big enough to fit both of us at the same time, we had to go into our closet. That meant we would have to build a new one! I used Steve at Affordable Closets in Windsor and our Stylist on Better Connecticut, Debbie Wright of Project Closet in Enfield, to maximize the space. Yes, I may now be able to even get Dennis organized!

Our painter Frank Lapore in Rocky Hill made it all come alive with color. He is so meticulous he even polished and painted our old window hardware to make it new again. One thing I learned from him…paint the inside of your fireplace black and it will never look dirty!

I used the husband and wife team at Sang Hardwood Floors to make our 1912 floorboards shine again. I shopped around and they came in as much as 40 percent less than some of our quotes. Yet their work is priceless.  Last but not least, we did a story on discount drapes at  RL Fisher in Hartford.  I found beautiful things to dress up my rooms. They make custom drapes at ready made deals.  Check em out on Bartholomew street.  You already know their work since they make most of the drapes for catalog companies and retailers in the Northeast.

As a journalist, I like to learn about things that make my own life better and pass them on. So if you’re renovating try clipping some pics and build a great team. I can’t say enough good things about ours. Now I can relax in my new bath….until the next project. Don’t worry Dennis it won’t be for a while!

 

 

 

 

WHAT IS A DOULA?

August 24, 2007 - 3 Responses

My mother called her a “doul-loo” which, to me, sounds like someone who does voo-doo. My husband called her “Mary Poppins” because of her pleasing English accent. My friends said of she’s a “Baby Nurse” right?

Actually, Doula is a Greek word that means “mother’s helper,” and boy did Joanne Baker-Guerrette help me A LOT!

It used to be that when you had a baby, all of your relatives, who all lived in the same town, came to help you survive bringing a new baby home for the first time. Now, with parents and siblings living plane rides away, many do-it-all moms are left to fend for themselves. Let’s face it, husbands can’t help you figure out how to breastfeed, and many just don’t even hear the crying in the middle of the night, much less know how to make it stop! (Sorry, Dennis, but you have always been a good sleeper!)

We’ve all heard babies don’t come with instruction books, though a doula can be your own human manual. Mine taught me there are 5 S’s to keeping a baby happy: Shushing noises, Swaddling, Side/Stomach position, Sucking and Swinging. In fact, there was a book written by Dr. Harvey Carr on these principles called “The Happiest Baby on the Block.” (In my opinion, it should illegal to send moms home without a copy of that book!!!)

Joanne, my doula, teaches moms all about it at Hartford Hospital. A doula will work any hour of the day. She will teach you how to care for a baby, help with a feeding/sleeping schedule, help with nursing problems plus she’ll do the laundry and the dishes so you can get some rest before your bundle of joy wakes up again!

They think of things you don’t. For instance, Ms. Mary Poppins took one look at all the stairs in our old brownstone and set up a make-shift changing table downstairs. She told me I would never heal right if I kept running up and down. Sometimes, she just ordered me to take a nap and drink tea! (English, of course.)

A Doula is different from a baby nurse because many baby nurses will only care for a baby, but will not do any household chores. Your Doula should still be trained and certified in infant care. A good one will be able to help you with lactation issues and help with sibling adjustment problems. There are labor doulas as well who help you through delivery, but since I didn’t use one, I’m not the best person to ask about that.

As a reporter, I often have to become an expert in something in a short amount of time. As a new mother, I enlisted a doula so I could learn as much as possible from someone who is an expert. Thanks to Joanne, Helena sleeps through the night and Dennis and I feel like we actually know a little bit about what we are doing as parents! Some moms use them just for few hours for a couple of days for the first week home. Others keep them for much longer. I can only tell you we were so sad to say goodbye to our good friend.

If you want to learn more here’s Joanne’s Web site: mumstheworddoula.com

The Balancing Act

July 9, 2007 - 5 Responses

Hi everyone! Sorry it’s taken a while to get back to my blogging, but as many of you know, getting back to business after having a baby becomes a balancing act. I finally feel like I have a routine going and I am enjoying the “balance” of work and family. Helena is now four and a half months old and I can’t even remember what life was like without her. She has a killer smile and it melts my heart every time I see it.

I have learned I can survive on much less sleep than I ever thought possible. When I am awake, I get a lot more done. I have become a master of multitasking. As a news reporter, I thought I was pretty good before, but being a mom has given me super powers. I can schedule appointments, cook and/or clean with baby in hand. I used to get up an hour before I had to be at work. Now, I get up three hours earlier and use every minute. My morning is planned with the same vigilance our producers time our newscasts: 6 a.m., wake up; 6:03, feed Helena; 6:15, change diaper; 6:30, hope I can have coffee and read the paper while she plays with toys; 6:35, that doesn’t work because we watch Eeebee Baby instead!

Helena has become the center of our world. Even as I write this and prepare to anchor the news she is always on my mind. I guess, before she came along, I must have spent a lot of time thinking about myself or my wants. Becoming a mom makes you realize how much better life is when you spend your time caring for others. Dennis and I used to love to go to fancy restaurants and plan spontaneous trips. Now, we get excited about our daughter’s digestive accomplishments — from burps to the color of her diapers, this is now normal dinnertime conversation. We also spend a lot of time discussing her sleep cycles and why she will sleep eight hours one night and get up every three hours the next. The odds of figuring this out are probably greater than winning Powerball, but myself and many other moms will keep on trying!

I think the reason new parents spend so much time talking about the difficulties of sleep deprivation and other baby woes is because it’s harder to put the good stuff into words. I will try to do it here. Having a child flips a switch in your heart that lights up your world even on the darkest of days. Because of Helena I see the world from a new perspective. I laugh harder, worry more and love more deeply. She is a blessing that just makes you want to say thank you every day.

Special Delivery!

February 26, 2007 - 16 Responses

Dennis & Kara are the proud parents of a baby girl.

Helena Sundlun House
Born on Friday, Feb. 23

  • Click here for pictures
  • More to come as they settle down,

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