Thursday, June 13, 2013

Five Tips for Protecting Yourself From Identity Theft

Felt Stories aims to provide unbiased editorials. However, I wish to disclose that from time to time I may receive free products or other compensation from companies for blogger reviews

Photo courtesy of LifeLock

Growing up with parents who have spent their whole life working the financial business, I have grown-up knowing the importance of protecting myself from identity theft. Although, we can do our best to prevent it from happening, everyone is at risk. Instead of being afraid of identity theft, I have been using these tips to help protect my family's identity.

The first tip that I have to share is the importance of getting credit checks done on a regular basis. It is a small investment to help keep your identity safe. Knowing that your identity has been stolen in the earlier stages is much easier to resolve than learning about it years after it has been happening.

The second tip is not to share personal information on social networks. Avoid putting your birthdate, home address, phone number or any other information that identity thieves can use to steal your identity. Although you might miss out people posting birthday messages on your Facebook wall, you are taking an important step towards keeping yourself protected.

The third tip is to invest in a good quality shredder. Shred everything that might have your personal information on it before tossing it into the trash. Another way to expand on this is to get a lock on your mailbox or have your mail sent to a PO Box. Identity thieves will dig through trash or steal mail from mailboxes where they can easily get your personal information.

The fourth tip is to use strong passwords, and change them once a month. I keep a password journal with all my passwords for every online account. I ensure that all my passwords are at least 12 or more letters and include numbers, letters and symbols.

Finally, get a service like LifeLock for identity theft protection. LifeLock can do all the work in keeping your identity safe with threat detection, internet surveillance, alert systems and more. They have 24/7 live personal customer service and is one of the best services available on the internet.


Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Curing A Bad Day

"Mom, I had a bad day at Kindergarten."

When my six year old got into the car today and quietly mumbled these words - my heart broke.

When I asked him what went wrong today, he would not answer. I am so blessed not to have him in full-day care, so I took advantage of my time with him, and brought him down to the beach for lunch.

It is amazing what powers Mother Nature has over our feelings, emotions and moods. When we first sat on the sand, he said, "I don't want to play."

Then he stood up..

Walked toward the water..

Touched his toes in the water..

Looked to see if anyone was looking...

And then..

Jumped into the waves.

It was magical sitting there watching him come out of his shell, and turning around his day. Then I joined him in the water and we started splashing each other. We laughed...we ran...and we created a moment that we will both never forget.

We left our heart in the sand before having to go pick-up his brother and sister from school.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Why I Love Gardening

While on my journey, of finding a love for cooking, I learned that produce in the grocery store was not as it was when I was a kid. Although, I thought I was cooking healthy for my children...was I?

As I walk through the grocery store, all the apples, lemons, tomatoes, avocados are all perfectly the same exact size. How does that happen? Talented farmers? No! GMO's.

Over the years, our population has grown, and the food supply has increased. Just think about all those pickles going into the billions of McDonald's cheeseburgers sold. Our Country cannot possibly naturally grow enough to supply just that one fast food chain. So, they have figured out a way to genetically engineer fruits and vegetables. Hence, my personal opinion of the increase in food allergies like my son.

Our bodies are not made to process engineered food, let along food sprayed with pesticides. So, I commit a lot of my time to growing as many fruits and vegetables as possible for my family and participating in a co-op.

This year, I let other things in life interfere with my passion of gardening and I am extremely late getting everything into the ground. There is a good possibility that I was too late for planting a lot of my summer favorites like eggplant.

Every morning I get up an hour before the kids and go out into the yard to work. Within the next couple of weeks, my garden will have doubled from its current size, and then we will start to bear the fruits of my labor.

Then when I am cooking a delicious meal for my family loaded with vegetables, I will know that it is 100% good for them.

Follow along with my gardening adventures this summer on Instagram under my personal hashtag #BaroneFarm. 

Do you have a passion? What is your passion?

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

New Lifetime Parenting Reality Show 'Pretty Wicked Moms'

Compensation was received for this coverage. All of our thoughts and opinions about the show are of our own.

There is nothing I love better than a great reality show. I sneak off every day to the gym just to get my daily dose of reality shows while working out, and often times they are even filming a local reality show at my local gym. When I heard that Lifetime was launching a new mom based reality show,  Pretty Wicked Moms, I was eager to see what it was all about.

When I watched the first episode over the weekend, my mouth dropped to the floor. I could not believe that there are moms out there as "wicked" as these women on the show. If I did not know it was a reality show, I would have thought that these women were actors.

One of the women on the show said it best. It is like a "giant gossip fest."

Everything these women are doing on the show is the complete opposite of how I raise my children. It is interesting to see that some people are actually so self-absorbed and care so little about what is truly important in life - your family.

You are not going to want to miss this new reality show. Tune in to watch parenting like you've never seen before with the first episode of Pretty Wicked Moms on Tuesday, June 4th at 10pm ET/PT on Lifetime.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

My Miracle Baby

My birth stories are much different from most mothers. My first two children were adopted, and my third child was the only one who I gave birth too. When I first found out that I was pregnant, I was excited and nervous at the same time.

After my first appointment with the doctor, we learned that my pregnancy would be an extremely high risk pregnancy. They had found that there was an abnormality in my womb that put my unborn child and I at risk.

With three young children running around the house, I was had to stop everything and stay in bed for my entire pregnancy or run the risk of pre-term labor. I went from being an active parent, to parenting my children bedside. Everything was going smoothly until I went into full-term labor at 18 weeks.

At that time, I was faced with the possibility of having a premature baby who might not survive. As the doctors stood there telling us what was going to happen if they could not stop the labor, my world stopped. Their mouths were moving, but the world was silent. In that moment - I felt helpless.

My body felt like it was being poisoned from all the different medications that were being shot into my blood stream. I laid in that hospital bed, only getting up once during the 16 weeks that I was hospitalized. After all the hard work of my medical team, they were able to be successful in keeping my baby in a place where he could grow and survive birth.

Although, my son was still born premature with some health issues, he is now an active busy young boy. Without the care that I received, there is a possibility that my son would not be here today. Not all women in the world are fortunate to have the medical care that I have. Many are faced with the same situation that I was in, but without any options.

Save the Children are helping to raise awareness of the women that are in need of healthcare, with their first feature Birth Day Risk Index. The index will compare first-day death rates for babies in 186 countries to identify the safest and most dangerous places to be born.

This is not a sponsored post. This is just a story to help raise awareness of an issue that I am passionate about. :)

Monday, May 6, 2013

Walt Disney World Here We Come! #DisneySMmoms

It has felt like a dream planning our trip to Disney World over the past two months, and it is officially here. When we came home from Tyler's school play tonight, we were surprised with a package that contained a special suitcase just for us to use on our trip to Disney World. From the moment, the kids saw the Disney Social Media Moms sticker on the box they new it was filled with something magical. A bag just for them to bring back to Disney World to fill with all their memories.

American Tourister is the official luggage of Walt Disney World and Disneyland Resorts so we will be arriving "officially" in style with our official Disney luggage.

Follow along our adventures at the celebration online on twitter under the hashtag #DisneySMmoms. We will be packing our bags, our hearts and our dreams as we plan to spend the week at Walt Disney World.

Disclosure: We were provided with this luggage on behalf of Disney. All of our photos, thoughts and opinions are of our own.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

I Don't Want to Grow-Up

Or more like "I don't want them to grow-up." It seemed just like yesterday that we were signing Andrew's adoption paperwork, and now he has turned eleven. Although I have cherished every moment with him over the past eleven years, I cannot help but wonder where the time has gone.

As I sat on the bench at the park after school yesterday, I saw all the little kids running around with my youngest son Tyler. I flashed back to all the memories that I had of Andrew doing the same thing. The adorable way that he would dance around, laugh so hard that he would roll around on the floor and the big smile that would grace his face with every new discovery.

Although I miss those years, the memories will be in my heart forever as we begin new chapters in his life together.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Kid-Friendly Ratatouille Recipe

Bonjour! Earlier this week, I exposed my kids to a touch of European food by making homemade ratatouille. Now I did not have a mouse under my hat helping me to cook it, but it did end up being pretty delicious and packed with tons of vegetables. I hope that you enjoy it!


  • 4 Tbl. of olive oil
  • 1 large eggplant
  • 2 zucchini
  • 1/2 onion
  • 1 green bell pepper
  • 1 large tomato
  • 1/2 cup of parmesan cheese
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 1 tea. of fresh parsley

Heat olive oil on the stovetop. Cook garlic for 1-2 minutes before adding eggplant and parsley. Cook until the eggplant is softened.

In a casserole dish, spread eggplant mixture into dish. The add a dash of parmesan.

Then layer on top of the eggplant the following vegetables while adding parmesan in-between each layer. zucchini, onion, bell pepper and then the tomato.

Bake in a 350 degree oven for 45 minutes. Enjoy!

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Chocolate Banana Jam Recipe

When I was a kid, my Grandma would always make me "monkey jam" aka. banana jam. I have so many memories of her spreading it over a piece of warm toast for a snack while I was staying at her house. Since I was in the kitchen working on some recipes for the next OC Family Magazine issue, I decided to make some of her "monkey jam." I added some chocolate to put my own twist on our family recipe.


  • 2 Large bars of chocolate (100grams each)
  • 12 mini bananas (they are sweeter) or 4-5 regular bananas (they must be ripe)
  • 1 cup of water
  • 2 1/2 cups of raw sugar

Mix all the ingredients into a blender. Blend until thick and creamy. Store in the refrigerator for up to one week. Serve on warm toast or over pancakes.

Monsters University Final Theatrical Trailer #MonstersUEvent

I can't believe that it has already been over two weeks since attending Monsters University in San Francisco. It was an amazing experience getting to step into the world of Monsters University at the Pixar Animation Studios.

While at the Pixar Animation Studios we had an opportunity to be one of the first to see the first 40 minutes of the almost complete film of Monsters University. Today we are excited to be able to share with you a sneak peek at the final theatrical trailer for Monsters University that is being released to the public today!

You are invited to attend the first day of the school year at Monsters University at a theater Nationwide on June 21, 2013. 

Disclosure: We attended a press event at Pixar Studios for the release of Monsters University. All of our photos, thoughts and opinions are of our own. We did not receive compensation for this post and the sneak peek to the trailer was provided to us on behalf of Disney.
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