Category Archives: Date Night

Alcohol Consumption & Pregnancy?

Last month, the Wall Street Journal ran a provocative piece written by Emily Oster, an economist, analyzing what is safe and not safe to consume during pregnancy. At the time it ran, what particularly piqued my interest was her analysis of alcohol consumption during pregnancy. Ms. Oster herself was interested in analyzing the data on what is safe or unsafe for a pregnant woman and her baby during pregnancy, and while she carefully noted she’s most interested in caffeine intake for her own personal reasons, a good bit of the article delves into alcohol consumption.

Oster breaks down consumption into categories like occasional, light and moderate drinkers and digs into their risks of fetal alcohol syndrome NOFAS_main-logoand impacting their baby’s IQ. Even though I am not pregnant now, I found the article interesting because like most anyone who has ever been pregnant, I considered my own behaviors while pregnant as I read through her findings. In the interest of full disclosure, I did have a few glasses of wine during each of my pregnancies. Maybe 3 or 4 total, which I’m not even sure would qualify me as an occasional drinker by Oster’s standards, but I know many people who would absolutely have no alcohol and I know some who had a few more drinks than I did – but not many.

Today, September 9, is International Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD) Awareness Day – so there is no better day than today – to take a closer look at the risks of alcohol consumption during pregnancy. According to the DC-based National Organization on Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (NOFAS), prenatal alcohol consumption is a leading cause of brain damage, developmental disabilities and learning and behavioral problems in children and adults, and it is completely, 100% preventable when expectant mothers abstain from alcohol. In fact, NOFAS expressed outrage at the Oster piece in the Wall Street Journal and wrote a rebuttal detailing how Oster cherry picked the studies she evaluated for her analysis and ignored other larger studies pointing to the dangers of any alcohol consumption during pregnancy.

Most importantly, NOFAS notes the following: “Some media reports suggest there are mixed messages about the risk of light to moderate alcohol consumption during pregnancy. In fact, no medical or disability agency or organization in the U.S. advises the use of any amount of alcohol during pregnancy, and no published research concludes that light alcohol consumption is completely safe.”

Here are some startling facts provided to me from NOFAS:

  • Nearly 100,000 newborns in the United States every year are exposed to heavy or binge drinking—the highest risk for FASD—during their prenatal development.
  • It is conservatively estimated that 40,000 newborns each year in the U. S. alone are affected by FASD, more new cases annually than Downs syndrome, cerebral palsy, cystic fibrosis, spina bifida and sudden infant death syndrome, combined.
  • FASD prevention and education saves taxpayers money and eases the burden on the health care system. Prevention is at least ten-times more cost effective than the average $1.4 million lifetime cost to treat one person with FASD.
  • The recognition of mental and behavioral health issues associated with prenatal alcohol exposure in the recently published Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) demonstrates the growing recognition of FASD and will increase diagnosis and treatment options for individuals living with FASD. Over 80% of adults with FASD live with mental health issues, and over half experience one or more of the most common secondary disabilities, such as trouble with the law, disrupted school experience, and the inability to live independently.

If you are pregnant, I’d consider you to read up a little more on the issue of alcohol and pregnancy, especially if you fall into the “light drinker” category, NOFAS has some great resources on their site. Honestly, most of the above facts were news to me and I found the figures to be alarming. Very few mothers want to expose their children to risk or a lifetime of disease and challenges and I think it’s easy to chalk up fetal alcohol syndrome to something only women with substance abuse problems are facing. Now that I’ve connected with NOFAS, it seems clear to me that this is an organization that should be on our radar screens when we are looking to donate money and raise awareness around an important issue. In fact, NOFAS and its 40 affiliates collectively support 5,000 children and adults with FASD each year, respond to over 25,000 specific requests for information and referrals and conduct over 500 conferences, training sessions, and workshops for medical and allied health students and practitioners, educators, criminal justice personnel and other audiences. That’s a tall order.

SMHB_invite_cover_3In honor of International Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD) Awareness Day, NOFAS is participating in a series of events all week long, culminating in an international “Smart Moms, Healthy Babies” gala and fundraiser on Thursday night at the Italian Embassy. Yours truly will be in attendance, I’m hardly one to pass up a swanky affair at a great location – with a fashion show to boot! I would encourage you to consider joining me, ticket prices are definitely steep but the money is going towards such an important cause and if you are pregnant, your ticket is considerably cheaper.

We love to talk about the importance of carving out some moi-time here on WM – so why not throw on a fabulous dress, a pair of heels and join me at the Italian Embassy starting at 6:30PM on Thursday? Get your ticket here!

Disclosure: NOFAS invited me to be a guest at the gala on Thursday night. My opinions here are all my own.




The WM Favorite Things: Summer Edition


Beautiful sunset on Hatteras Island, NC

If you’re looking to round out your summer by squeezing in a day trip, a weekend get-away or some date nights, look no further. Today is like Oprah’s Favorite Things Christmas episode…only better. (seriously). From the shores of Hatteras Island, NC, today I bring you the WM Favorite Things Summer recap of my must-hits. A potpourri….a hit list with something for everyone. It’s how I roll.


For the day tripper with younger kids, head to Dutch Wonderland. Here’s my review from earlier this summer.

For an unforgettable weekend get-away, load up the car, invite some other families, go it alone, go in the fall, go in the winter, go now – just go – head to Deep Creek Lake. Here’s my tips on renting a house, what to do and why you shouldn’t miss this gem a mere three hours from DC. Yours truly is headed there for the annual Labor Day trip in a few weeks – can’t wait.

For a variety of ideas on date nights, including rocking out to some amazing 80s covers, sunset kayaking or yummy food, click here.

For one of the WM and Mr. WM top 5 restaurants in DC, check out my review here of PS7s including tips on how to make this a chic date night on a budget, thanks to


Little screams summer more than flying a kite

Now, back to my vacation, enjoy the rest of your summer. And if you were wondering, what separates my amazing Favorite Things Summer Edition from Oprah’s….I don’t have any cars or bags to give-away. Maybe next time, friends. Until then, “Like” moi on Facebook to keep up with the laughs, the tips and whatever else seems fabulous or important.


Summer 2012: Chic Date Night on a Budget

Beautiful presentation of the yummy arctic char. Photo taken before I realized how heavenly the basil pistou gnocchi is.

Through the chaos of the move, I received a gift in the form of an email. A representative from the web site reached out to me to introduce their site and ask me if I’d like to use it and go out to dinner.
Moi? Eat?
Mais oui!
It was music to my ears – an excuse to head out for a nice dinner without my kids in the midst of life amongst boxes and moving trucks.  No one was going to have to twist my arm or convince me to agree to it. Truth be told, I wasn’t familiar with before she reached out. Turns out, this site works with over 18,000 restaurants nationwide and much like Open Table, you log on, search for the kind of restaurant you want, based in the zip code and then easily make your reservations online. We chose PS7’s in Penn Quarter and within 10 minutes of making my online reservation on the site, I received not only an email confirming the reservation but an automated phone call confirming the reservation. I liked that attention to detail.
What distinguishes from other sites is that you are purchasing a bargain and you can do it either for yourself or for someone in your family, all with the click of a button. For example, for $20, you can purchase a gift card equal to $50 with the participating restaurants. Like any deal sites, however, there are fine print details that I urge you to read in advance. Two examples:  alcohol cannot be used as part of the gift card and some days of the week are restrictive with participating restaurants (i.e. weekends). It’s always worth it to be a thorough consumer but moi loves to eat and moi loves a bargain in a chic place, so this was a perfect match from the start.
How was PS7’s, you wonder? Spoiler alert: we can’t wait to go again. Located just above the chaos and fray of Penn Quarter, at 7th and Eye Street, the interior of the restaurant is modern and chic. Parking is also easy despite this downtown location because there is a parking garage located next door. The service was exceptional, the chef sent out a delicious summer cocktail and the pastry chef brought out a beautiful pineapple upside down cake. The wait staff was attentive and so helpful. But it was the food…we were there to really eat and try out the menu and it’s criminal that someone didn’t just roll us down the street when we waddled out of there.

Ridiculously good appetizer. Now, I didn't eat that whole thing. But I didn't leave much either. Oink oink.

I started with the open-faced bread topped with the “Nutty Goat” – which included goat gouda cheese, arugula, walnut butter and toasted shallots (umm..yummm) while Mr. Wired Momma started with the 3 hot dog starters. By the time we were done with the first course, we begrudgingly admitted we were already getting full and we shouldn’t have eaten so much.
Then came the salad. Mr. Wired Momma chose the heirloom tomato salad – which he said

The warm spinach salad was heavenly. Trust moi. Oink oink

was delicious and looked so – and while it was a solid choice because now is the time to order the tomato salad – I mocked his choice because we can make something similar (though not as good) at home. I ordered the warm spinach salad – the house made dressing was warm, and the bacon pieces, cheese, mushrooms and crispy onion rings made this salad a home run. At this point, Mr. Wired Momma conceded that in a rare moment, I had made the slightly better food choices.
I relished this small victory. As we both finished off the delicious salads and wondered how in the world we could eat another course.
Then came the main course. I ordered the arctic char and Mr. Wired Momma ordered the smoked gnocchi with basil pistou and peas. I toyed with also ordering the gnocchi because of the basil pistou. We had one of the best meals of our lives in the South of France one summer (shocking, I know) because of the basil pistou in the soup. We still talk about that particular meal even though it was 5 years ago.
Sure enough, my arctic char was absolutely delicious but the gnocchi with the basil pistou was show stopping. It was exceptional. The combination of flavors and the texture of it left us only regretting that we’d already eaten so much because frankly, we are such pigs, we wanted to be able to eat more of the gnocchi.
But we just couldn’t. The madness had to stop.
Also noteworthy, PS7s has this really awesome summer menu option where you can order a summer picnic, centered around fried chicken, and they even set the table with a separate red and white check table cloth to fit the picnic theme. I loved that this modern, chic restaurant doesn’t take itself so seriously and instead offers its guests some kitschy summer fun. There was a table of 6 older adults who looked like they’d been great friends for about 40 years enjoying the picnic table option menu and I almost wanted to pull up a chair to their fun table too.
Our meal really was exceptional. We ate too much food. We drank a little more wine that we anticipated going in. We indulged. It was fabulous. And the best part was we indulged on a budget through Our bill totaled $145 but with the gift card of $50, we came away with an exquisite meal for under $100 (I realize this isn’t necessarily budget friendly but we also don’t usually order three huge courses like that…we were celebrating our move and the house – so we indulged – could have spent quite a bit less). I will absolutely be using this site again and you better believe, I’ll be visiting PS7’s again. Maybe next time, we just don’t need to order quite so much food.
Oink Oink.
Disclosure: compensated me for my meal at PS7’s, I didn’t disclose to the restaurant that I was there as a guest. My opinions here are all my own.