10/23/14

Back on the Job: Employee Protections Following a Breast Cancer Diagnosis

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Editor’s Note: October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month and National Disability Employment Awareness Month, so this post is very timely regarding women who may be facing discrimination at their place of employment and may not even be aware of it. Guest contributors R. Scott Oswald and Adam A. Carter of The Employment Law Group, PC provide the Top Five steps employees should take to protect their rights when returning to work following a breast cancer diagnosis.

The story is all too common.  After months of fighting, it looks like you have finally overcome your breast cancer diagnosis.  All that is left is for some follow-up treatments and to return to work.  To your surprise, after having fought off breast cancer, you now find yourself in a fight with your employer over the nature of your return.

We like to think that most employers will warmly embrace the return of an employee who has survived a breast cancer diagnosis.  But that is not always the case.  Below, we outline the Top Five steps that an employee must take when returning to work following a breast cancer diagnosis.

1.      Notice With Detail.  You’ve overcome the initial diagnosis but will still need to follow up with your doctor for monitoring and additional treatment.  The first step to returning to work is communicating with your employer about your condition.  Many people are embarrassed about sharing medical information with their employer, but you have an absolute obligation to do so if you want to trigger your rights under the Family and Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”) or the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”).  You do not need to provide all of the particulars, but you will need to discuss the diagnosis and the details of your treatment and monitoring regimen.

10/20/14

CVS MinuteClinic Offers Convenient and Affordable Flu Shots for the Family #FluPlusYou

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Disclosure: I received a complimentary flu shot and CVS gift cards. All opinions expressed are solely my own.

Though I'm grimacing, the flu shot from CVS MinuteClinic
was administered quickly. There's just a little pinch.
Photo: Maria Adcock
It’s flu season again which means it’s time to get the flu shot. This year for us it was especially important for our family to get the shot since we have a newborn. Babies 6 months and under cannot receive the flu shots or mists, so to protect her we had to protect ourselves.

I had the opportunity to get my flu shot at CVS MinuteClinic. CVS MinuteClinic I loved that no appointment was necessary (unlike at my regular doctor’s office). I simply filled out information at a kiosk and waited for my name to be called.

There was only one person ahead of me. I waited about 5 minutes and then entered one of two patient rooms. Trained medical staff verified my health history and asked some questions, then gave me the flu shot. It was quick with just a pinch when the needle went in. The office visit took less than 10 minutes.

CVS MinuteClinic accepts most insurance, so even if I hadn’t received a complimentary flu shot, my insurance company would have covered it. For those without coverage, the seasonal flu shot costs $31.99. As a bonus, customers will receive a 20% off CVS/pharmacy shopping pass when they receive the flu shot at one of its clinics.

10/16/14

Amazon’s 2014 Holiday Toy List Announced

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What's the most wished-for toy
sold by Amazon.com year
to date? Take a guess.
Image: Amazon
I shop on Amazon all the time. I can find whatever I want at great prices, and as a Prime Member I get free 2-day delivery. My family has its Wish Lists on Amazon. It’s super convenient at Christmas time because no one has to worry about getting a gift for someone that will be unwanted and unused.

It is that time of year again to begin thinking of holiday gifts, and just in time Amazon has recently announced its 2014 Holiday Toy List (www.amazon.com/holidaytoylist), a curated list of the hottest new products for kids featuring more deals than ever before on the toys and games customers want.

For the second year in a row, Amazon leveraged the Amazon Moms community to identify their favorite items.  I always read the product reviews before deciding to purchase, so having a curated list picked by Amazon Moms is something I know I can trust.

Here are some interesting toy trends identified by the Amazon editors and buyers.

10/13/14

Burt’s Bee Launches Organic Baby Clothes Line

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Disclosure: I received an outfit to assess. All opinions expressed are solely my own.

Baby in Burt's Bee Baby Outfit
Photo Rights: Bicultural Mama
My little girl arrived several weeks ago. Though we already had baby girl clothes from our first daughter years ago, very few items were made of organic materials mainly due to a lack of availability. That’s why I was excited to try out Burt’s Bee Baby, a new line of 100% organic cotton baby clothes.

I had already been a fan of the Burt’s Bee line of natural skin, body, and hair care products, so expanding into clothes for baby was something I was naturally drawn to. My baby tried the Quilted Snap Front Hoodie ($22.95) with matching Quilted Drawstring Pants ($9.95). The outfit was not only adorable, but also made of quality materials and workmanship. It was super soft, perfect for baby’s delicate skin and warm enough to keep her cozy during these cool months.

There are several advantages to clothes made of organic cotton. The material is a natural and breathable fiber that feels soft against the skin. Organic cotton is grown without synthetic pesticides or fertilizers, so there are no residues in the fabric to get onto baby’s skin. Clothes made of organic cotton washes well and gets softer over time while maintaining a good fit.

10/9/14

Diverse Markets No Longer Niche: Global Girl Dolls and Books Gets It Right

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Disclosure: I received a doll and book to assess for this post. All opinions expressed are solely my own.

American children today are a diverse group, and this is not a trend – it’s the future of America. The Census Bureau estimates that as of July 2013, half of children age five and younger were minorities.

With such strong numbers evident, one would assume toy manufacturers would ensure their product lines reflected the demographics of the market. Sadly we’ve seen the opposite, the most notable of late when American Girl announced earlier this year the retirement of one of only two of its African American dolls as well as the only Asian American doll in its lineup.

Stepping up to the plate are small business owners with a strong mission, driven by their beliefs that dolls of all colors should exist to represent American girls today. Part of building self-esteem in girls while broadening their global horizons is to offer them dolls to which they can relate and learn. Global Girl, a line of stylish, multicultural play dolls from six different countries, was launched in April 2014 and offers an educational opportunity to teach kids about life in other parts of the world through play.

Global Girl dolls
Image: Global Girl

10/6/14

Bicultural Mama Chosen as Krusteaz Baker’s Dozen Ambassador

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I’m proud to announce that Krusteaz, the makers of easy-to-use baking mixes, has chosen Bicultural Mama as a Brand Ambassador. Bicultural Mama is one of twelve bloggers nationwide to represent the brand it its Baker’s Dozen program.

As a long time user of Krusteaz’ pancake, biscuits, muffins, brownies, breads and dessert mixes, I was thrilled to support this brand which had its beginnings in 1932. Over the next several months I will be working with Krusteaz to develop original recipes with their mixes as well as provide reviews and giveaways of its new products.

I’ll also be participating as a panelist in future Krusteaz Twitter chats, spreading the news about their great products via various social media, as well as provide media interviews as a Baker’s Dozen spokesperson and Ambassador.

10/2/14

Baby Safety: Nursing Covers that Block Radiation and More

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Disclosure: I received product samples to assess. All opinions stated are solely my own.

With a newborn in our house, baby safety is always top of mind. Hot off the heels of National Baby Safety Month, here are a couple of products I tried out with my daughter that aim to protect and comfort baby.

Belly Armor products for moms and moms-to-be
Photos: Belly Armor

Belly Armor Nursing Cover
For breastfeeding moms, nursing covers are a must-have. Belly Armor has elevated the standard nursing cover by making one that products baby from radiation. Made from a patented RadiaShield® technology, it blocks 99.9% of everyday radiation caused by cell phones, laptops, tablets, and other electronic devices and household appliances. 

As busy moms, we’re always multitasking so that means doing things like checking our Smartphones or writing emails while taking care of baby. Why does radiation matter? The Environmental Health Trust and many other organizations worldwide have issued precautionary warnings about the health risks of cell phone use and exposure to radiation emitted from carrying/using cell phones and other electronic devices.

The Belly Armor Nursing Cover feels like a regular nursing cover – even though it has “armor” in its name, it is not stiff or ugly. It is easy to pull over your head and there is plenty of material for coverage (31” x 33”). The neck strap is easy to adjust, and it’s machine washable, too.

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