10 Must-Know Holiday Hotel Travel Safety Tips


When it comes to travel, it doesn’t matter if you are an Elite Platinum Member or just a grandparent heading out for that once a year trip. You need to be concerned with your personal safety!

Below are 10 must know holiday hotel travel safety tips you should be aware of, before you even start packing. We want you to be ready when you make your first stop along the way.

  1. Let’s start with the basics. Always beware of your surroundings, when approaching your room.
  2. Don’t let the attendant at the front desk publicize your room number. If he or she announces it out loud when giving you your key, ask for a different room. Have them write the number and hand it to you.
  3. When possible, avoid staying on the first floor. Many safety experts recommend occupying a room somewhere between the third and sixth floors — where rooms are high enough to be difficult to break into; but not so high that they’re out of the reach of most fire engine ladders.
  4. Keep the door to your room locked at all times. If you are inside the room, turn the deadbolt and fasten the security chain and or/the boat latch. I would also recommend investing in a portable doorstop alarm. This is an item you can find on our website.
  5. Check the locks on the windows (and balcony door, if applicable) as soon as you arrive, and notify the front desk if any are not functioning. It’s a good idea to check these locks again each time you return to the room, as housekeeping may open them and forget to close them.
  6. When you leave your hotel room, pull the door completely closed behind you. Make sure the latch has engaged. Take a moment before you leave to try the door and make sure it is secure.
  7. Use the security view-port (peephole) to see who is outside your door before opening it. Do not trust someone claiming to be a hotel employee if you are not expecting one. If you are unsure, call the front desk to check. Leave the security chain engaged while opening the door for further protection.
  8. When leaving your room, turn the TV or radio on, and/or put your “Do Not Disturb” sign on the door. Both of these tricks will give potential thieves the impression that you’re still there. (You can contact the front desk to arrange a housekeeping visit even if the “Do Not Disturb” sign is up.)
  9. The hotel parking lot and hallways should be well lit. Report any outages to the front desk and ask for a security escort if you feel unsafe. Always try to park under a light.
  10. When entering or leaving the hotel after dark, use the main entrance.

The safety tips in this article and many others can be found on our Simple Self Defense for Women DVD. Please visit our website www.simpleselfdefenseforwomen.com for more details.

        Tracy Vega, Co-Founder- Simple Self Defense for Women

7 Holiday Shopping Safety Tips


Can you believe the holiday shopping season is here? I laugh, now, looking back… My dad always had a backache the day after Thanksgiving; and now I know why. He didn’t want make the drive, fight the crowds, carry the packages and handle the kids while my mom shopped!

The one thing that hasn’t changed is that men still don’t like to go shopping, at least until Christmas Eve. What has changed is how dangerous it can be, if you aren’t aware of your surroundings. This is especially true for folks that don’t normally venture out to the mall or the big box stores during peak hours or with crowds.

Here are 7 simple safety tips to help make your holiday shopping experience a safe one!

  1. Tell someone where you plan to shop and about what time you expect to be home.
  • This is especially important for those who don’t normally go out very early or late.
  • Leave a note or tell someone where you plan to shop just in case. This can be very valuable if there is an accident or worse. It gives family, friends and police an idea where and when to start looking if you don’t return.
  1. Since holiday hours now start in the wee hours of the morning and go very late into the night, be sure to park under a light and as close to the entrance as possible.
  • Write down where you parked or even take a picture so you are not wandering looking for your car when you are ready to leave.
  1. Always have your pepper spray in your hand when you are walking to and from the car.
  2. Minimize the amount of items you carry in your purse during the holidays.
  • Only carry one credit card and a minimal amount of cash.
  • Leave all the extra pictures and personal items at home.
  • Always put your purse inside the car and lock the door (keep out your keys) before you start loading the car. NEVER leave it sitting out in the cart.
  • If someone tries to steal your purse, LET IT GO!! It’s not worth your life!
  1. Are you carrying more packages than you can manage? Can you barely see over the top of your cart?
  • Make multiple trips to your car if you are shopping at a mall or strip center. You don’t want to have so many packages in your arms that you have to lean them against the car or leave them in the cart where someone can walk by and grab them.
  • Put all items in your trunk or cover under your hatch. Don’t leave anything visible to the public.
  1. Avoid the ATM machines when possible. If you have to use one, go to a drive up and keep your pepper spray in your hand, only open the driver side window and stay alert to anyone around you.
  1. Parking lots are a place where people come and go. Pay close attention if you notice anyone lingering and acting suspicious. If in doubt, call and report it.

The safety tips in this article and many others can be found on our Simple Self Defense for Women DVD and in our new Simple Safety Tips book. Visit our website www.simpleselfdefenseforwomen.com for more details.

Tracy Vega, Co-Founder- Simple Self Defense for Women®

Appraised Of

A customer’s car was hit by a vehicle. She did the right thing, by calling in the claim; but one  thing she did wrong was NOT to have the appraiser come here to my garage to have it appraised. Instead, she took it to one of their drive-in quickie appraisal shops. BIG MISTAKE.

Later, she arrived here with the estimate in hand. When I perused it, I couldn’t believe how small an amount it was written up for. I told her before we do anything, she better call the insurance company and tell them she wanted it reappraised; or, at the very least, they should call me.

This morning the actual appraiser himself called me. I told him there were numerous things missing from the appraisal ;and boy was I surprised when he was honest with me, uttering the words, “Yeah I know, my boss likes me to write it up like that.”

HUH? Your boss likes to write it up for way less than it should be, to save money; so it will cost the customer money out of her own pocket?


Usually, the insurance companies are spot-on with the assessments. Even generous, in some cases. I believe, that’s because we are basically watching over them.

Hopefully this isn’t a new trend and won’t be happening all the time; but make sure it doesn’t happen to you. Take your car to the mechanic/auto body shop you trust and have the appraiser go THERE. This is no different then anything else that needs an expert to oversee it.

Don’t get shorted (or wrenched)!

Questions: dontgetwrenched@gmail.com



It’s not just the trick or treating that makes Halloween fun for me – it’s also my birthday! My husband is one of the few men that can say he’s married to a real “witch” and get away with it!

As a child, I spent my birthdays trick or treating; and as an adult walking with the kids as they went door-to-door. The number one rule for us was only going to houses that had their lights on.

Well, times have definitely changed and I want to share some safety tips with you that you may have not considered.

  1. When picking a costume with a mask check the following:
  • Can you easily see out of it?
  • Can it be quickly removed?
  • Is it well ventilated for easy breathing?
  1. Does your costume have a bottom?
  • Is it easy to walk in?
  • If it’s adult costume, can you drive in it?
  1. Before you head out knocking on doors take time to check the national sex offender registry for your neighborhood.
  • Most local city & county agencies have this information available.
  • Avoid these homes
  • If you know a home is registered to a sex offender & they have lights on and decorations out, report them to local authorities immediately!
  1. Parents always carry a flashlight & peppers spray with you.
  2. If kids are uncomfortable going to a house because it looks too spooky, walk up with them.
  3. Never enter anyone’s home to accept candy even if it’s just for a minute. Always wait outside.
  1. Respect people’s personal space and don’t let anyone within your personal space.
    • Just because it’s Halloween doesn’t mean it’s ok to walk up to just anyone.
    • If you are uncomfortable be sure to keep your distance or ask that person to step back.
  1. Be mindful/respectful of what time it is.
    • If it’s 10:00 pm & the trick or treaters are long gone, don’t open your door to a random.
  1. ALWAYS walk in groups or pairs. It’s never safe to walk alone.
  2. Check all candy/items before eating them.
  • Only eat factory wrapped candy.
  • If a piece of candy looks questionable, throw it away!

For more information about Simple Self Defense for Women® Guest Speaking, Workshops, DVD’s, Security Products or how to bring us to your campus visit www.simpleselfdefenseforwomen.com

Tracy Vega, Co-Founder- Simple Self Defense for Women®

10 Hollywood Home Births


By Jenny Schafer

Hollywood is having a baby boom. And some of our favorite celebrity moms are welcoming their babies at home.

While home births still constitute less than 1 percent of total births in the United States, births at home have increased 50 percent since 2004, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Continue reading about 10 celebrity moms – including Cindy Crawford, Alyson Hannigan and Gisele Bündchen  – who had home births.

  • Stacy Keibler:

Supermarket Superstar host Stacy Keibler and her husband Jared Pobre welcomed their first child on August 20, she announced on her website. The Dancing with the Stars alum welcomed daughter, Ava Grace, via home birth.

“Jared and I have been blessed with the new love of our lives,” the proud new mom announced. “Ava Grace Pobre was born at home on Wednesday, August 20th. We’ve never experienced a level of joy and happiness like this before! Thank you so much for all of the special wishes and positive energy.”

  • Omarion’s girlfriend Apryl Jones:

Former B2K singer Omarion, 29, and his girlfriend Apryl Jones have welcomed their first child – a son – the proud papa announced via Instagram August 9. “World. Allow me to introduce. MEGAA OMARI GRANDBERRY. He is 7 pounds. 4oz & 20 inches long,” he captioned the sweet snapshot holding his newborn in his arms.

“My son I’ve been waiting on you,” the R&B singer continued.

The new dad went on to gush about his “soul mate,” who welcomed their son via home birth.

“God is the realist!! I witnessed a miracle,” he added. “My soul mate @aprylsjones is so strong! Not only did she have a un medicated birth (no drugs) she did it at home. Naturally. Just like my mom had me. I love you. thank you for having my legacy. I’ll forever belong to you & you will forever be tied to me. Creating a child takes no love or skill but being a parent requires lots of both. Thanks for watching me grow. #MEGAAhome #OmarionsonMEGAA #donthateonmysonsnameillkillya #Nolol #royalObloodline #blasain #mysongotgoodhair #freshpitthewombhandsom alright. I love y’all.”

  • Thandie Newton:

During an appearance on TODAY, Rogue actress Thandie Newton talked about the joys of home birth. The mom-of-three proudly said she birthed her son Booker, now 6 months, at home on her bathroom floor.

When asked why she had all three of her kids at home – she and husband Ol Parker are also parents to daughters Ripley, 13, and Nico, 9 – the Mission: Impossible II actress said she feels much more comfortable at home.

“I’d never been in hospital as a child or as an adult really, and I just associated hospital with being ill,” she said of her decision. “And I felt beautiful and healthy and wonderful when I was pregnant, and being at home was the place I felt most relaxed and comfortable.”

She went on to talk about the taboo topic, saying that home births used to be the norm.

“There was a time when everyone had their babies at home,” the Crash star, 41, said. “It wasn’t such a big deal. It’s more about as a woman what do you feel most comfortable doing, and you make the choice, and I chose to be at home.”

  • Alyson Hannigan:

Alyson Hannigan has quickly become one of our favorite celebrity moms since the birth of her first child, Satyana, in March 2009. Celebrity Baby Scoop sat down with the How I Met Your Mother star and asked about her drug-free homebirth.

“Yes. I did use a midwife and a doula,” she said. “We had the option of having a doctor there, but even he said you’ll only need me if you need to be transferred to the hospital–which thankfully, I did not need.”

Before welcoming her second daughter, Keeva, the American Pie star said she faced many fear-based comments about going forward with another home birth.

“Yes, we had lots of comments about it,” Alyson said. “And we had the doctor that scared us tremendously. There was definitely more concern the first time around. For me, that was just the perfect place. I am absolutely terrified of hospitals. so I think that the home is the best place for me to feel comfortable. I had a midwife, her assistant and a doula. It will be the same again this time.”

  • Mayim Bialik:

Mayim Bialik has really ‘blossomed’ into an amazing and outspoken mother! An advocate of attachment parenting, Mayim also empowers women to consider medication-free home births.

The Big Bang Theory star and mother of two talked about her second son’s home birth, while her elder son watched.

“Fred, yes, was born at home, and Miles was able to watch the whole thing from his high chair while eating granola,” she said. “Fortunately it was a very fast labor because I think Miles would’ve been bored if it was longer than the hour and a half it was. He loves it, he still talks about it. It was something we talked about with our pediatrician, and believed very strongly in older siblings being present, and giving the choice. We gave him a choice before, we prepared him with videos about homebirth that our midwife prepared. Even during, I said, “If Miles wants to go the next room he can!” But he said, “No, I fine!” He got freaked out by the blood, but it was still nice.”

  • Alanis Morissette:

On Christmas Day 2011, Alanis Morissette and her husband Mario Treadway welcomed their son Ever into their home with the help of a midwife and a doula.

“I didn’t really even imagine myself having the birth experience in the hospital,” Morissette told Today. “My home is like my little sanctuary.”

She added: “My husband was at my side the whole time, my total hero. And the rest was really up to God.”

Throughout her home birth, the singer says she tapped into an inner strength.

“The experience was beyond pain,” she admitted. “It was a transcendental experience. I just went to this whole other world. I basically had to be the little soldier that I am and really focus on this new beautiful creature coming out of me.”

She went on to talk about the joys of home birth.

“I think once people know it’s quite possible to have a really amazing home birth — and in my case I have no regrets and would do it again and in the same breath it wasn’t the easiest experience of my life — I think having it be an option is really exciting,” she shared.

  • Gisele Bündchen:

One of the most outspoken celebrity moms on natural birth is supermodel Gisele Bündchen. The former Victoria’s Secret model gave birth to her first child Benjamin in December 2009 and has openly spoken about her drug-free and pain-free home water birth.

“My delivery was in a bath tub, in water,” Gisele said. “I wanted to have a home birth. I wanted to be very aware and present during the birth… I didn’t want to be drugged up. So I did a lot of preparation, I did yoga and meditation, so I managed to have a very tranquil birth at home. It didn’t hurt in the slightest. The whole time my mind was focused in each contraction on the thought ‘my baby is closer to coming out.’”

A few weeks later the supermodel looked svelte on the cover of Vogue and spoke of her “empowered” birth experience.

“I wanted to experience the transformation,” the model mom said. “It was the most amazing experience of my life, feeling him come through my body. And once he was born, I never felt so empowered as looking at him and thinking, Oh, my God, we did it together!”

The Brazilian beauty later wrote on her blog:

“I am blessed to have been able to have a home birth surrounded by love, where I was able to feel safe,” she wrote. “It was a powerful experience. I never felt so vulnerable but so strong at the same time. It was amazing to experience my body become free to do what it was made to do by allowing my mind and my body to let go and be free to experience the changes taking place within… I was just there… focusing on my breathing and relaxing the best that I could… so present, to witness the biggest miracle in my life happen before my very own eyes. To give life to another being, what a gift!”

As well, Gisele added her voice to the Birth Around the World Project to help promote the humanization of birth.

“I had the opportunity to experience the natural process of birth and it was one of the most life changing experiences for me and very very special!,” she said. “I believe it’s a woman’s right to make the decision about how she’s going to give birth to her child. And it’s also her right to have access to the information she needs so she can make that decision from a place of awareness, and not a place of fear.”

  • Evangeline Lilly

Lost star Evangeline Lilly welcomed son Kahekili Kali in May 2011 and shared her birth story.

“I actually skipped the hospital … We decided to have the baby at home because we wanted it to be a natural birth, and it turns out that it was 30 hours of natural,” she shared.

Of those thirty hours, Evangeline says a full eight were spent pushing!

“Eight hours of pushing, that’s the part that men don’t understand.” the Canadian beauty added. “Women go, ‘Oh, dear, oh, dear God, eight hours of pushing?’ And the men are like, ‘Okay, eight hours of pushing. After about five hours of pushing, my midwife and my birthing assistant said, ‘You know, we have a few suggestions,’” she says. “And I was like, ‘Really? After five hours of pushing you have a few suggestions? You couldn’t have told me five minutes in?’

  • Ricki Lake

Ricki Lake’s documentary about home birth, The Business of Being Born, empowered women everywhere to have unmedicated births at home. She gave birth to her second son Owen, now 13, at home in a bathtub. She talked about her reasons for making the film.

“I wanted to make this movie after my two very different birth experiences with my children,” she said. “I felt like I had an opportunity to explore and question birthing practices in this country and perhaps be an advocate for mothers’ rights and better maternity care.”

On the experience of birthing Owen at home, Ricki said:

“After the birth of my sons, particularly my home birth with my second son, I thought I wanted to become a midwife,” she shared. “Then I looked at all the years of schooling and training that I would have to do and felt that the time could be better spent doing a documentary on the subject of birth.”

  • Cindy Crawford:

Model mom-of-two Cindy Crawford had both of her children – son Presley and daughter Kaia – at home with her husband Rande Gerber and three midwives on hand.

She spoke of the home birth experience:

“I didn’t tell anyone last time because a lot of people are against home birth and tell you horror stories,” she shared. “Even my husband said at first, ‘Why are we doing this?’” But she went on to say her home birth was ‘absolutely surreal.’”


More Hollywood mom & baby news:

10 Hollywood Home Births

Vanessa & Nick Lachey Celebrate Son’s 2nd Birthday

Happy 9th Birthday Sean Federline

Michelle Williams & Matilda: Books In Brooklyn

Kim Kardashian & Kanye West Land In L.A.

Tori Spelling Celebrates Finn’s 2nd Birthday


CelebrityBabyScoop.com is one of the most popular blogs on the topic and the foremost provider of everything celebrity-baby, featuring baby fashion, baby names, baby trends and up-to-the-minute celebrity baby gossip and pics. Get all the latest news, updates, and photos about Hollywood’s most beloved celebrity moms, dads and their babies. Who’s the latest Tinseltown baby? Who’s due next and who just announced a pregnancy? It’s all on CelebrityBabyScoop.com.


 kids crossing street

It’s hard to believe that the kids are heading back to school already! At least, while they are in school, there is that small sigh of relief knowing that they are safe. It’s getting to and from that always makes me a little nervous. We are extra cautious at the beginning of the year, with the little ones when they start out; but as the year goes by, maybe we don’t pay as much attention as we once did. It addition to our simple tips, below I strongly encourage you to visit the National Sex Offender Registry before you children head out the door!

  1. Will your child be walking or riding a bike to school this year?
    • Make the trip with them a couple of times so you are both comfortable with the route.
  1. Time how long it takes for them to travel each way, walking or riding.
    • This gives you an idea what time they should arrive A.M. & P.M.
    • If they have a cell phone ask them to call/text when they leave & arrive both ways.
  1. If there is another child in the neighborhood going to the same school, try to arrange for them to travel together. There is safety in numbers.
  2. Point out “safe places” for them along the way (if there are any) in case of an emergency.
  3. Will your children be riding the bus this year?
    • Make sure they are familiar with the bus number. It’s better to miss a bus & remain at school with adults that can help instead of taking the wrong one & nobody knows where you are.
  1. Wait in a group at the bus stop.
    • Don’t ever leave the group to walk up to a car that approaches.
  1. Never allow your child to “ride” with anyone unless they are on your “safe list”.
    • A safe list tells your child the ONLY people they are ever allowed to go with if it’s not you. This includes walking, riding or even approaching a car. It’s that serious!
  1. Communicate! If your child is expressing concern or feeling uncomfortable find out why & take action. Children have great instincts. Listen to them.

For more information about Simple Self Defense for Women® Guest Speaking, Workshops, DVD’s, Security Products or how to bring us to your business or campus visit www.simpleselfdefenseforwomen.com

Tracy & Charley Vega, Co-Founders- Simple Self Defense for Women®

Star Moms Participate in ALS Ice Bucket Challenge


By Jenny Schafer

Celebrity Baby Scoop is joining in on the Ice Bucket Challenge for ALS.

In the trending campaign, people are asking 2-3 of their friends to dump a bucket of ice water over their heads. If your friends do not accept the challenge within 24 hours, they must donate $100 to an ALS association of choice.

In the last few weeks, the #IceBucketChallenge has literally soaked some celebrities, including Justin Timerlake, Jimmy Fallon and Martha Stewart. Not to mention, some of our favorite celebrity parents such as Gwen Stefani, Nicole Richie, Jessica Alba and Gavin Rossdale. Check out Gwen and Gavin’s video here, and then see their 8-year-old son Kingston also take on the challenge

Pop superstar Jennifer Lopez also took the challenge, and got some help from her 6-year-old twins Max and Emme. The Jenny From the Block singer, 45, shared the video via Instagram.

And we loved Ben Affleck‘s funny Ice Bucket Challenge via Facebook, where he got playful with his wife, fellow actress Jennifer Garner, and their daughters Violet, 8, and Seraphina, 5, erupted in contagious giggles when he threw her into their backyard pool.

Often referred to as Lou Gehrig’s Disease, ALS is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord.

Celebrity Baby Scoop’s senior editor, Jenny Schafer, lost her father to ALS and created her own video to challenge a few Hollywood moms. 

Hollywood insider GG Benitez, Real Housewives of Atlanta star Phaedra Parks, Real Housewives of O.C. star Tamra Judge, and Broadway dancer, singer and actress Courtney Lopez.

First to accept the challenge was GG Benitez. See her fun video here (and here) and check out the online buzz from her clients who took the challenge: Mabel’s Labels, POSH Mommy and Freebies2Deals and The Orange Rhino.

Next up for the challenge was Courtney Lopez. Check out this priceless Instagram video, showing her support for the cause — with some help from her adorable 3 1/2-year-old daughter Gia.

“I was nominated by @herscoop and @celebritybabyscoop for the #icebucketchallenge #alsicebucketchallenge!,” Courtney says, then nominates actress Eva Longoria.

“And I nominate @evalongoria and @kearrangiovanni ! #doit,” she continues.

Courtney’s husband, Extra host Mario Lopez, couldn’t help but show his support. The Saved by the Bell alum, 40, went on to tweeting about their video.

More Hollywood mom & baby news:

Katie Holmes: “I Was A Very Nervous Mother”

“The Guncles” Expecting Baby No. 2: A Boy

Christian Bale Welcomes Second Child: A Boy

Tori Spelling & Family: Fun In The Sun

Milla Jovovich Expecting Second Child

CelebrityBabyScoop.com is one of the most popular blogs on the topic and the foremost provider of everything celebrity-baby, featuring baby fashion, baby names, baby trends and up-to-the-minute celebrity baby gossip and pics. Get all the latest news, updates, and photos about Hollywood’s most beloved celebrity moms, dads and their babies. Who’s the latest Tinseltown baby? Who’s due next and who just announced a pregnancy? It’s all on CelebrityBabyScoop.com.