Christine Park

Monday, December 27, 2010

Shape up or Shapewear!

New Year's Eve is on a Friday night this year... which means, for the first time in decades, I might actually go out for a night on the town. Trouble is, I just spent the last month or so stuffing my face and expanding my waistline. You know how it is, from Thanksgiving through Christmas, it's an eating bonanza. So it's no surprise that snug LBD (little black dress) that I was thinking about wearing this Friday doesn't quite fit right. So I've got a couple options here:

1. Go on a 5-day Master Cleanse diet which will make me drop a few pounds but gain lots of enemies due to my irritability and irrational behavior from starvation.

2. Go shopping for a dress in a bigger size which will trigger a depression that could ultimately prevent me from wanting to go out.

3. Hit up the Spanx.

So option #3 seems most appealing and least damaging to my physical and emotional well-being. But how to choose? The pictures modeling shapewear always include women who obviously DON'T need shapewear because they don't have an ounce of fat or jiggle anywhere on their bodies. So here's a story I recently did in which Consumer Reports used REAL women with REAL curves to try out the most comfortable and effective shapewear. Also, check out this article which breaks down the best garment based on the body part that needs the most help. So good luck ladies, hope to see you in da club, shaking what your mama gave you (with a little help from Spanx, of course!)

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Christmas time... for many, a time of loss

My grandmother is dying of cancer and as Christmas nears, it becomes more of a miracle that she is still alive. It's been a roller coaster of emotions for all of us, as we dread yet pray for her passing. She is in a lot of pain and bedridden, but the other day when I visited, I found a lot of joy and comfort in being able to sing Christmas carols to her. She no longer responds or recognizes us, but our family is planning one last get together at her home this Saturday. We plan to talk, eat, exchange gifts, just like we do every year. Because that's what she would want us to do. There are some great articles written about this topic, including this one called "How to Deal with Death at Christmas." One of the best points I thought it made was: There is no harm or disrespect in celebrating. Your loved one would want you to find comfort when and where it comes.

How do you remember your dearly departed around this time? Any suggestions you can share?

Finally, I leave you with this incredible story about a teenage couple celebrating life and finding love even in the face of death.
Merry Christmas.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Holiday Tip or Skip?

My girlfriend used to live in a New York City apartment that had a doorman. I remember her explaining to me how vital it was to tip him for the holidays. And if she didn't... she would never receive her packages again! Now I've never had a doorman hold a piece of mail hostage, but I do know several service providers that make my life better, easier, more beautiful, or in rare cases, like my hair person, all of the above! Obviously you're going to need to consider your personal budget. If you don't have the means, consider a handmade gift or even a handwritten, thoughtful note.

I found this handy holiday tipping guidelines from the Emily Post Institute.

Au pair or live-in nanny: Cash or consider a gift. This person works closely with your family and you probably know them well. (One week’s pay and a gift from your children.)

Regular babysitter: Cash. (One evening’s pay and a small gift from your children.)

Day care provider: Cash or a gift for each staff member who works with your children. (A gift from you or $25-$70 for each staff member and a small gift from your children.)

Live-in help (nanny, cook, butler, housekeeper): Cash and a personal gift. (One week to one month of pay as a cash tip, plus a gift from you.)

Private nurse: Gift (A thoughtful gift from you.)

Home health employees: Check with agency first about gifts or tipping policies. (If there is a no gifts/tipping policy, consider a donation to the agency.)

Housekeeper/Cleaner: Cash and/or a gift. (Up to the amount of one week’s pay and/or a small gift.)

Nursing home employees: A gift (not cash). Check company policy first. (A gift that could be shared by the staff like flowers or food items.)

Barber: Cash or gift. (Cost of one haircut or a gift.)

Beauty salon staff: Cash or gift depending on whether you tip well after each service. (The cost of one salon visit divided for each staff member who works with you. Give individual cards or a small gift each for those who work on you.)

Personal trainer: Cash or gift. (Up to the cost of one session or a gift.)

Massage therapist: Cash or gift. (Up to the cost of one session or a gift.)

Pet groomer: Cash or gift. (Up to the cost of one session or a gift.)

Dog walker: Cash or gift. (Up to one week’s pay or a gift.)

Personal caregiver: Cash or gift. (Between one week to one month’s salary or a gift.)

Pool cleaner: Cash or gift. (The cost of one cleaning to be split among the crew.)

Garage attendants: Cash or small gift. ($10-30 or a small gift.)

Newspaper delivery person: Cash or small gift. ($10-30 or a small gift.)

Mail carrier: Small gift only. (United States Postal Service’s gift regulations prohibit carriers from accepting cash gifts, checks, gift cards.)

Package deliverer: Small gift only, no cash. (Only if you receive regular deliveries.) Small gift in the $20 range. Most delivery companies discourage or prohibit cash gifts.

Superintendent: Cash or gift. $20-80 or a gift

Doorman: Cash or gift ($15-80. $15 or more each for multiple doormen, or a gift.)

Handyman: Cash or gift. ($15 to $40.)

Trash/Recycling collectors: Cash or gift (for private) check city regulations if it is a municipal service. ($10-30 each.)

Yard/Garden worker: Cash or gift. ($20-50 each)

Teachers: Gift (not cash) A small gift or note from you as well as a small gift from your child.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Family Tragedy in Merced County

There is a special place in hell for people who murder mothers and abandon babies to die in the cold. In this case -- the baby survived because it was found in time. But its body temperature was only 86 degrees. Thank God a neighbor heard/saw him on her doorstep and took him in. But if the baby had died in the cold, this would have been a double murder case. Heartbreaking.

As I was reading this story in the newscast yesterday, it made me sick to my stomach. Like literally, I wanted to throw up. When I first became a mother four years ago, my first story I had to cover coming back from maternity leave, was a baby abandoned in a dumpster. REALLY??? And ever since then, these kinds of stories are especially hard for me to read. I can read about death and destruction without batting an eye... but the death or abuse of a child gets my blood boiling. I know journalists are supposed to be impartial and all that, but we aren't. Our life experiences shape our viewpoints... and being a mom has made me sensitive to the plight of little ones. LOL... let me tell you how I REALLY feel.

I think this is a good time to remind people that California has a safe surrender law to save abandoned babies. The Safely Surrender Baby Law ( was put into effect January 1st, 2001 with the intention of providing parents/guardians with a safe way to "abandon" their child (typically a county fire station or hospital's emergency room). Since the law was enacted, a total of 331 infants have been saved in California.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Facebook for... Milk Sharing?

Anyone who's given birth in the last decade or so... has encountered what my friend affectionately calls, the "boob nazis." That is, the well-meaning nurses, doulas, moms, and other "lactivists" who push the new mom to breast-feed their newborn.

I nursed both my kids, Sydney for 10 months and Isaiah for 7 months. So I'm a firm believer in breast-feeding, both for selfish and unselfish reasons. Obviously, the health benefits for the baby are numerous... but for me, breast-feeding melted off the pregnancy pounds faster than I could say "postpartum!" So even after I went back to work a couple months after each was born, I faithfully toted my breast pump with me everywhere I went. And I mean EVERYWHERE. I remember asking my photographer to stand outside in the rain while I pumped in the live truck before I went on air. I remember pumping in a tiny unisex bathroom in a New York City club while waiting patrons pounded on the door outside. I was committed, and my cup runneth over... meaning I had a huge oversupply. Both freezers were stocked full... and I found myself reluctantly tossing bags and bags of frozen breast milk as they expired. Several relatives and friends shared similar stories with me... of valuable breast milk going down the drain.

I first heard about milk sharing during a newscast one day, when I read a story about a man whose wife passed away in childbirth and area moms were donating their breast milk. But there's a stigma around it in modern society, especially in the age of HIV. Remember the uproar last year over Salma Hayek who nursed a malnourished African baby? There are milk banks that screen and pasteurize donated milk and give priority to premature and very ill babies. The milk is often very expensive: $3 to $5 per ounce, upwards of $100 for a day's supply.

My co-anchor Matt Keller recently showed me this article in Time about how Facebook has become a way to connect moms who milk share. The reasons for milk sharing are compelling... a mother who can't breastfeed because she's on chemotherapy. Another is on active duty and has to leave her baby behind. Honestly, I don't know how I would personally feel about feeding my child a stranger's breastmilk, but there are plenty of people who participate.

A new network called Eats on Feets — a play on Meals on Wheels — uses Facebook to connect women whose babies need supplemental breast milk to women nearby who have extra milk to give away. Time reports the network has grown to 98 local groups, spanning all 50 states in the U.S. and 22 countries. More than 70 matches have been reported so far, with milk coming not only in bags and jars, but also sometimes directly from the source. Here's a link to the Northern California chapter. The founder posts this warning, and I would just like to re-post it to remind any readers who are thinking about milk sharing: KNOW THY SOURCE. While it is true that tribe feeding offers MANY benefits, there is ALWAYS the risk of disease/contamination.