Princess Ivana a.k.a modernprincess
Ivana is a modern Cinderella married to an Italian prince. She came from modest means and met her Prince Charming while on scholarship at Pepperdine University. Their 2 fabulous kids (ages 2 and 3 years) are the latest additions to a 1000-year lineage that includes kings of Sicily and Spain, and Catherine of Aragon, a pope and a saint. She has a Masters of Education and has worked with kids for over 20 years - from designing learning toys to tutoring homeless children. For Ivana, life is more about attitude than money. She’s wild about kids and motherhood. The Super Mom juggling act between life, love, kids and career inspired her award winning book, A Simple Guide to Pregnancy & Baby's First Year, co-written with her mom, Magdalene Smith, and sister, Marisa Smith. Their blog is a blend of humor, practical advice and lifestyle tips on the essentials--how to live well on any budget. Consider Ivana "Dear Abby" with a tiara and baby sling.
modernprincess Author Alias
"A lovely thing about Christmas is that it’s compulsory, like a thunderstorm, and we all go through it together." - Garrison Keillor New moms have plenty to celebrate during the holiday season with a new baby at home. But it’s also the most hectic hustle-bustle time of year.
"The beauty of a woman is not in a facial mode but the true beauty in a woman is reflected in her soul.. " - Audrey Hepburn What do snail goo, nightingale poop and whale vomit have in common? They are all beauty secrets, and no wonder women keep them secret! Who’d want to admit paying $180 to have bird poop smeared on your face, no matter how chic the salon?
“The authority of those who teach is often an obstacle to those who want to learn.” - Cicero I can’t believe it! My four-year-old son has homework in pre-school. This consisted of having to make a house! A house? I had to make one once in fifth grade, but in pre-school?
“It’s tough for kids to say goodbye to the excitement of the day, so falling asleep can be so much sweeter with a parent at their side, reading their favorite bedtime story.” - Dr. Barry Zuckerman, Chief of Pediatrics, Boston Medical Center and Co-Founder of Reach Out and Read
“The way we communicate with others and with ourselves ultimately determines the quality of our lives.” - Anthony Robbins
“As is our confidence, so is our capacity.” - William Hazlitt Kids are over-booked, over-tested, and under-believed in. Stress affects too many children these days. According to recent research, children in the U.S. are the second unhappiest children in the world.
"Chaos is a friend of mine." - Bob Dylan
“If you want to learn to swim jump into the water. On dry land no frame of mind is ever going to help you.” - Bruce Lee Splash! Dive! Dog paddle! Get your kids swimming as early as possible. Yes, it feels good and yes, it’s good for you, but did you know that swimming makes your child smarter?
"Motherhood has a very humanizing effect. Everything gets reduced to essentials." - Meryl Streep Moms worry too much. And new moms worry even more because everything is new - even your body is taking new turns, with or without your permission.
“Your beliefs become your thoughts, Your thoughts become your words, Your words become your actions, Your actions become your habits, Your habits become your values, Your values become your destiny.” ? Mahatma Gandhi
"If you have a positive attitude and constantly strive to give your best effort, eventually you will overcome your immediate problems and find you are ready for greater challenges." - Pat Riley
“Remember always that you not only have the right to be an individual, you have an obligation to be one.” - Eleanor Roosevelt
I’m passionate about a lot of things, as most mothers are, particularly when it comes to our children’s well-being. There are 1001 things that matter and it can be overwhelming trying to keep up with the latest “best advice” on what your child really needs for health, happiness and success. But although the situations vary for each family, one aspect is the same for us all: Good nutrition matters for each and every child.
“Moto Raff. Moto Raff.”
“Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited to all we now know and understand, while imagination embraces the entire world, and all there ever will be to know and understand.” - Einstein
“Women do want to have it all. I think women can do everything, but not all at the same time.” - Madeline Albright
"Spring is nature's way of saying, Let's party!" - Robin Williams With winter winds still howling and the season’s holidays now over, it’s not uncommon to experience a touch of the winter blues. Like many of us, you may feel like you are coming out of hibernation, a little sluggish and sleepy-eyed, wondering how to get into the swing of things when mostly what you want is a long nap.
"Nothing makes it easier to resist temptation than a proper bringing-up, a sound set of values - and witnesses." ~ Franklin P. Jones
“Don't be yourself - be someone a little nicer.” - Mignon McLaughlin My 3-year old son is crazy for cars. Tiny cars that fit in the palm of his hand. He got a big stash of them for Christmas from his grandmother, Sutzi. He lines them up in a pretend garage that is really an ottoman. He even has names for them. His favorite is Francesco.
“At Christmas play and make good cheer, for Christmas comes but once a year” - Thomas Tusser It’s the holiday season and life looks different, parties included, now that you are pregnant. It’s not just the mocktails instead of cocktails, or the favorite foods you now have to avoid (sushi, carpaccio, and delightful French cheeses).
“Airplane travel is nature’s way of making you look like your passport photo.” - Al Gore Travel with kids is an adventure. Oftentimes not the adventure we expect.
"Multi-tasking = Screwing everything up simultaneously." - Anonymous I read a recent article saying students who multi-tasked while studying (watching Glee or tweeting, for instance) got worse grades and retained less information, but felt happier. Excuse me, but this is a stupid study. What mother who has wrangled with her kids over homework couldn’t tell you the same?
"The #1 Food Dr. Oz Wants Out Of Your House: Sugar." - doctoroz.com Alessio peers out from his red mask of cobwebs, a pint-sized Spiderman. He is revved up, jumping all over the bed. I almost expect him to scale the walls.
“Ever notice how 'What the hell' is always the right answer?” - Marilyn Monroe I’ve been watching Mad Men lately, and the more I watch it, the madder I get. It’s hard for me to believe how women were treated. Viewed as inferior, helpless, sex kittens.
“If you want to keep a secret, you must also hide it from yourself.” - George Orwell Your heart palpitates, eyes dilate, cheeks flush, palms sweat. Do you have dengue fever or are you in love? Most of us have experienced the giddy whirl of romance. This heady part of love is biological and lasts about 1 ½ years. And then?
“Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new.” - Einstein When my son was six months old, I took him to a Mommy and Me class, which was really about parent training: how to observe your child, rather than do things for him - even though Alessio could barely sit up and certainly refused to crawl.
If you want to tell people the truth, make them laugh, otherwise they’ll kill you. - Oscar Wilde
"Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life." - Steve Jobs “What’s wrong with pink?” I said to my husband. “Are you threatened by our son wearing a pink baseball cap?” “Well, no. Not until my brother said something, then I thought twice and agreed with him. Pink is just not a color for boys. Any other color but pink. Kids will make fun of him.”
"My mother had a great deal of trouble with me, but I think she enjoyed it." - Mark Twain “Sienna hit me!” Alessio cries. “She doesn’t know what she’s doing. She’s a baby. Just playing. A love tap,” I say. But in reality, my 14-month old has a death grip so strong I call her Shera Warrior Princess.
“To find yourself, think for yourself.” - Socrates Remember a few blogs ago when I was dreaming of Paris? Well I’m here now with my two little ones on the first vacation we’ve taken as a full family of 4. I’m visiting a friend from the States, who has moved to Paris and is raising her two kids there.
Creativity is the residue of time wasted. - Einstein With school out and the lazy days of summer settling in, I wanted to write a blog about creativity, but I was stuck. I’m too busy to be inspired, I thought, staring blankly at my computer screen. Creativity is linked to laziness, downtime, daydreaming, and genius.
“Generosity is giving more than you can, and pride is taking less than you need.” - Khalil Gibran Can money buy happiness? Yes, according to Harvard Business School - as long as you are spending the money on somebody else. Generosity is good for you. That’s the surprising(?) result of a recent study of 136 countries. No matter what their economic level, from Uganda to Canada, people around the globe consistently reported greater feelings of positivity and wellbeing from helping others - even the memories of the good deed made them feel happy.
“A true friend is someone who makes you feel better than you think you are.” - Me
The most common way people give up their power is by thinking they don't have any. - Alice Walker Why only one day for Mothers? I’m devoting the whole month of May to women everywhere, and mothers in particular, for we have one of the toughest tasks in the world - raising the next generation.
"Bad habits are like a comfortable bed, easy to get into, but hard to get out of." - Anonymous “Good boy!” My toddler says those two words like they are magic. He points at himself proudly. “I no hit Sienna. Cookie.” He waits for his reward. But I just look at him with a note of dismay, so he adds another magic word. “Please.”
"Things do not change; we change." - Henry David Thoreau Hello all! I am writing from that outback territory in time, space and sanity called Mommy Land. It’s a blend of the Twilight Zone and Good Housekeeping turned bad, along with a touch of Mommy Amnesia.
“Happiness is having a large, loving, caring, close-knit family in another city.”- George Burns
Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it. - William Arthur Ward
My bounty is as boundless as the sea, My love as deep; the more I give to thee, The more I have, for both are infinite. - William Shakespeare, Romeo & Juliet It’s Valentine’s Day. I want to talk about romance, but I don’t know what it is anymore.
“Having children makes you no more a parent than having a piano makes you a pianist.” - Michael Levine Driving home from a long day at work, I was imagining the blissful greeting from my beloved children. But the actual scene I came home to was a different story. Sienna, my 9-month-old, was crying. When I picked her up, instead of gurgling a happy hello, she baptized me in the carrot puree she’d had for dinner. Alessio, my 2-year-old, tried to snatch Sienna away so that he could squiggle into my arms. “Sienna down!” he demanded.
"Don't read beauty magazines. . . they will only make you feel ugly." ~Kurt Vonnegut Almost every woman I know has self-esteem issues, especially when it comes to their bodies.
I want to share with you something that I came up with when I was pregnant with my first child.
All you need in the world is love and laughter. That's all anybody needs. To have love in one hand and laughter in the other. - August Wilson
"A three-year-old child is a being who gets almost as much fun out of a fifty-six dollar set of swings as it does out of finding a small green worm." - Bill Vaughan
"There is a wonderful mythical law of nature that the three things we crave most in life -- happiness, freedom, and peace of mind -- are always attained by giving them to someone else." - Peyton Conway March I am trying to teach my son to share. I use big words like generosity, but he can’t say that yet. He shouts “Mine!” instead. It’s about a shark-head bike helmet (ridged with pointy white teeth and a blue fin on top). He doesn’t want his little sister to even touch it. The merest tickle of her tiny finger along the helmet sends him into spasms of “Mine, mine, mine!”
“Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up.” - Picasso Alessio and I are in the garden. He is dressed in his papa’s old shirt that comes down to his feet. It’s smeared with paint globs and bright fingerprints of red and blue. His easel is set up, but my son prefers making himself the work of art. He is enjoying every minute. I am trying to hurry him. Get that masterpiece finished, now! I have a bunch of errands to do. It’s my day off, but my days off are as overloaded as my work week.
"Live, love, laugh and be happy" - Red Red Robin by Harry Woods As a kid, I woke every morning to my mom singing “Red Red Robin.” The song was my alarm clock. It was hard to get up grouchy when the instructions for the day were so loud and clear: Live, love, laugh and be happy.
“Courage is fear holding on a minute longer.” - George S. Patton This blog is dedicated to GraceLikeRain, mother of four, who recently wrote in about her children’s fears. I couldn’t stop thinking about her courage - while her husband is in Afghanistan, she is raising their family. Four children under six years old! My son was afraid of hats. It had something to do with The Cat in the Hat by Dr. Seuss. (He is a little sinister, come to think of it.) It didn’t matter what kind of hat - any time I tried to put one on him, it was as if a monster were about to sit on Alessio’s head. That mysterious Cat and his striped top-hat had also triggered other anxieties in my toddler: bicycles and umbrellas, to name a few. Yet The Cat in the Hat is still one of Alessio’s favorite books. Fear. We all have it. It's a fact of human nature. A survival tool meant for our own good. Fight or flight. Knowing when to stand strong and when to run.
"No one can make you feel inferior without your consent." - Eleanor Roosevelt When I was thirteen, I had rooster bangs. You know, the kind that stuck straight up. I was trying to fit in, despite the fact I didn’t shave my legs and had a funny accent. I was new in town. New to the States. I was born in Italy and grew up in southern Spain. My family’s move from trendy Marbella, Spain, to a small rural town in southern California was a shock, to say the least.
Seven a.m. - I throw open the curtains in my son’s room. Alessio, who is nearly 2, sits up in his bed and shouts, “Hello world!” Courage in his voice, happy expectation. A once-in-a-lifetime day.
So here I am, a real life Cinderella. Princess Ivana Maria Pignatelli Aragona Cortes. I came from modest means. Becoming a princess was the last thing on my mind as I applied for a scholarship at Pepperdine (which I got), and which is where I met my husband, Prince Adriano, heir to a thousand-year lineage that includ