The Hottest Hair Trend for Holiday 2014

We’re guessing Frozen has something to do with it: Braids continue to reign supreme! We love this trend for girls big and small because braids look fancier than ponytails, but work just as well to keep the hair off your face. And even if you don’t have a lot of length, you can still find a style that works. Take, for example, this short and sweet look shown on Stroller in the City mommy blogger Brianne Manz’s 3-year-old daughter, Siella. I met both of them when I hosted the Johnson’s No More Tangles Seasonal Celebrations Hair Workshop .

Need more inspiration? The beauty feature in the December 2014 issue of Parents is dedicated to fairy-tale-inspired hairstyles with a grown-up twist, including this one we’re calling The Spellbinding Side Braid. It’s a french braid on top and a fishtail on the bottom. Sounds complicated, but our associate photo editor (and resident hair model), Michele, will help you get a handle on it with this video. Cheers to gorgeous holiday hair!

Get Fairytale Hair: How to Do a French and Fishtail Braid
Get Fairytale Hair: How to Do a French and Fishtail Braid
Get Fairytale Hair: How to Do a French and Fishtail Braid

Young woman with beautiful hairstyle, isolated on white via

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How Cluttered is Your Garage?

cluttered garageAccording to the U.S. Department of Energy, ¼ of people with two-car garages have so much stuff in there that they can’t park a car. We want to know, what items in particular are to blame for all this clutter? Weigh in by taking our poll below.

Image: Cluttered garage via Shutterstock

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Parents Goody Giveaway: Enter for the Chance to Win a Fisher-Price Power Wheels F150

What do you get the kid who has everything? How about his own car?! The 2014 Power Wheels are out for the holiday season, promising to make your kid the coolest on the block with a roomy truck bed, working tailgate, speeds of up to 5 MPH, the ability to reverse, and in some models, a working radio and lights!

And for laughs, you need to see their new commercial, just click on this picture: 

ONE (1) lucky winner will receive one (1) Fisher-Price Power Wheels F150, worth approximately $360 and appropriate for children ages 3 or older. (If you don’t win but still want one of these, start your shopping here!) To enter, leave a comment below, up to one a day between now and the end of the day on November 24, 2014. Be sure to check back on November 25th and scroll to the bottom of the post to see who won. We reach out to winners via Facebook message (it goes into your “other” message folder on Facebook), so if you win, look for us there as well.

NO PURCHASE NECESSARY.  Open to legal residents of the 48 contigual United States and D.C., 21 years and older. Begins: 4PM EST on November 18, 2014. Ends: 11:59PM on November 24, 2014. Subject to Official Rules at Void where prohibited. Sponsor: Meredith Corporation.

For more check out our official rules. Goody luck!

Best Toys That Get Kids Moving
Best Toys That Get Kids Moving
Best Toys That Get Kids Moving

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Christie Rampone: A True Female Superhero

To her teammates, professional soccer player Christie Rampone is “Captain America.” But to Rylie, 9, and Reece, 4, she’s simply Mommy. As the leader of the U.S. National Women’s Soccer Team and a 3-time Olympic medalist, Rampone has proven her athletic prowess, and after being diagnosed with Lyme disease she proved how truly tough she is. Parents caught up with Rampone to talk about her unique schedule, how she addresses her health with her kids, and what she hopes her girls learn from Mommy.

P: You’ve been an athlete your whole life. Are your daughters also naturally athletic?

CR: They are. They’re both playing soccer right now. Rylie is obviously more competitive, Reece just played small season with small goals and was fun to watch. Rylie’s playing basketball and they’re both dancing, so very active.

Will your child take after you? Find out what career she’ll have!

P: So it seems they have no problem running around on their own. What do you do to stay active as a family?

CR: In the spring and summer we do a lot of bike riding. When I do some of my workouts Rylie will come along with me and try to understand what it takes to be where Mommy is—she always says she wants to be like Mommy. We do fun activities in the backyard where I make obstacle courses. I don’t have a hard time with them getting outside; it’s more getting them inside that’s the question for me.

P: Playing on the Women’s National Soccer  Team what is your travel schedule like? Do the  girls ever come on the road with you?

CR: The travel this year is pretty intense because it’s a World Cup year so I’m on the road for three weeks, off for a week. We’re doing a lot of overseas trips to Brazil, England, France, Portugal. I bring Reece, the little one, with me most of the time. My older one will come when she has a break from school or we’ll do a long weekend where she’ll leave Thursday night, miss Friday school and come back Sunday. We try to make it work. I don’t want to be apart for too long, but Rylie has a lot of activities and I want to make sure she’s there because she has committed to her soccer team and basketball. It’s kind of up to the girls if they want to come.

P: When you are home, how do you spend quality time with them but ensure that their routine isn’t compromised?

CR: Just planning ahead. They decide if they’re going to miss something what it will be and for how long. We don’t want them to miss too much school, but at the same time going overseas and getting that experience and culture is sometimes just as good in my eyes.

The Parent's Role During School Years
The Parent's Role During School Years
The Parent's Role During School Years

P: You were diagnosed with Lyme disease years ago. How did you share the news with your daughters?

CR: They’re aware that Mommy has good and bad days. There are certain days when Mommy needs a break or Mommy’s not feeling as well. They’re so independent and they understand. I just have to communicate with them. I try to explain to Rylie that Mommy does have some health issues, but you still push on and you have to fight through. The way [my husband and I] explained it is like when she’s feeling tired in a game, that’s how Mommy feels some days just waking up. It definitely wasn’t a scare for them. We explained it in a positive way.

P: What advice do you have for other parents who may receive a difficult diagnosis or have to deal with a chronic health issue.

CR: Take care of yourself as a mom and educate yourself. The next step is figuring out what works for you. For me it’s making myself more aware of my immune system, focusing on my eating and health, exercising, taking my EpiCor, and kind of pushing through the tough days. Education and awareness is huge.

 P: As captain of the team and with three Olympic medals, it’s no question you’re a role model for young girls. Who did you look up to when you were a kid?

CR: I always looked up to my dad who was into sports. He was just so active and always willing to go outside with us and play—wasn’t huge into TV. I was inspired to try to earn a scholarship and go to college and enjoy sports just how my dad did.

P: What do your daughters do that was just like you when you were a kid? 

CR: They are so competitive. I think of how stubborn they can be at times. It’s their way or no way. I would say that that’s how my parents had it. I would say that’s little Christie out there. It’s interesting seeing a lot of the similar signs of wanting to win and being competitive and learning how to lose.

P: We know a lot more about teaching kids to win. How have you taught her to learn to lose? 

CR: We’re working on that. For a little while she felt “I’d rather quit than lose.” We had to just refocus and make sure we don’t stop playing just because we’d rather say “I don’t care” than continuing playing. That’s in soccer, board games, practicing our spelling. Rylie doesn’t want to ever make a mistake or get anything wrong and that can’t happen. Sports is made of mistakes. Life is all about mistakes and how we overcome them and that’s the lesson we try to talk about.

P: What’s do you hope your daughters learn from you? 

CR: Just to persevere and believe in themselves. Life is tough and you can have people who don’t believe in you but I think as long as you believe in yourself you can keep pushing forward.

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Shakira’s Son Influences Fisher-Price Toy Line

*By Patty Adams Martinez

Shakira is parenting son Milan, who turns 2 in January, to the beat of her own drum.

You were born in Colombia but are raising Milan in the U.S. and Spain. Is your parenting style a blend of all three cultures?

Yes. In Spain, parents speak to their children as equals, which I like, and I feel that the children respond in turn. But in all three cultures, parents are attentive to their children. Gerard [Piqué, her soccer-pro boyfriend] and I both grew up in very close-knit families, and that has made us very openly affectionate parents.

How are you incorporating your heritage into Milan’s upbringing?

Milan got his Colombian passport, which was a very special moment for me. I want him to know and embrace that side of his culture, and I plan to bring him back as often as I can to make sure it’s something he feels a part of—from music to food to family.

How much of an influence was Milan on the line of baby gear and toys that you co-created with Fisher-Price [for sale exclusively at]?

He was a great influence—especially on the soccer ball in particular, since he loves to kick the ball around. I also wanted to include toys that I think are timeless. The blocks in the collection (seen in the picture above right) came from a vivid memory I had of playing with some in my own childhood.

You kept a diary the first year of Milan’s life—a tradition passed down from your own mom. What were some of your favorite moments captured?

His first steps! We were in London at a recording studio, a month and a half before his first birthday. Who knows? Maybe the music motivated him to get up and dance!

You’ve said you want to have enough kids for a soccer team! Is that still true?

(Laughs) Perhaps I was a bit ambitious when I said that! Two or three children would be nice. And I’d like to have a daughter.

How has being a mom helped you learn how to delegate?

I have a tendency to want to be involved in every facet of my career, and in the past my personal life often took a back burner. Becoming a mom forced me, in the best way possible, to re-prioritize and make room for the things that are most important, while recognizing that there are things that I can let go of and the world won’t crumble around me.

Image courtesy of Shutterstock

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Real Glam Moms: “I think having time to feel pretty and put together puts me in the right mindset to be a better mom”

Here’s the newest installment of a brand new series from the Parents beauty department about mommy bloggers. Each installment will feature what beauty means to real moms no matter what their beauty routine is like—and how they take time to themselves after having children. 

With the cold starting to set in, I’m starting to realize just how many sweaters I actually have (i.e. not enough). I’ve lived in Florida for the past four year, so my wardrobe has been more geared for the hottest days of New York winters. Meagan Rigney has given me major winter wardrobe inspiration. On her blog, Because of Jackie, Meagan shows off her love of personal style. “It also pushed me out of a style rut and forced me to think more about how I present myself,” she says. Well this mother of two (Molly, 6; Brady, 5) is pushing me out of mine, too! Today she tells us all about her argan oil obsession and spills some super-sized secrets.

Meagan Rigney

What is your beauty routine like?

It is fairly simple and streamlined at this point. I know what I like, and I can do it from start to finish in about five minutes. I moisturize with Josie Maran Argan Oil and Cetaphil sunscreen. Then  I add either Josie Maran’s foundation (It’s like a BB cream.) or bareMinerals bareSkin Pure Brightening Serum Foundation if I want more coverage. Then it’s just eyeliner, mascara, blush and lipstick or gloss. My hair is typically down and simple. Most days, I also wear a bright lip, which is my secret to looking like I tried way more than I actually did! Red and bright pink are my faves.

Did you wear makeup when you gave birth?

I did! I’m a big fan of going simple at that time because birth is messy business, but a little eyeliner, mascara and lipgloss can do a lot for you. There are so many pictures of this time in your life—why not look back and feel you looked great? I showered before my daughter was born and blow-dried my hair, and I’m so happy I did (mainly because it was my last one for quite a few days!). I say pack a little makeup bag in your hospital bag and some pretty pajamas. You will often have lots of visitors, and looking your best will go a long day to feeling better about yourself at this time.

 How did you learn to do your makeup?

 I still wonder if I really KNOW how to do makeup! I read a lot of fashion magazines as a teenager (I still do!), so most likely, I learned tips from magazines.

How has your beauty routine changed since you had Molly and Brady?

It has changed only in the sense that I often do my makeup and hair with two children sitting on the bathroom floor with me! I don’t have as much time to fuss, so I choose products that do a lot for me. Simple eyes (liner and mascara only), paired with a bright lip are my go-to look.

Have your children ever commented on your makeup or beauty routine?

My daughter loves all things girly, so she likes that mommy has pretty lipsticks. (I often leave a lipstick kiss on her hand when I drop her off at school!) I love that having a blog makes me try harder on my appearance and how I present myself because it shows my children that I am a person, too, and I deserve to be the best I can be. At this point, my kids probably assume that all mommies wear red lipstick at school drop offs, and think nothing of it.

What’s the best beauty advice you’ve ever received?

The simplest things are true: Wear sunscreen ALWAYS, exercise, drink water, and eat health foods. Also wear mascara if that is the only thing you can do. It instantly lifts your eyes!

My beauty advice for moms is… Take the time to make yourself feel good! I have been there with a newborn and a young toddler crying at my feet (it was crazy!), but it takes two minutes to wash your face, put on mascara and lipgloss, and to throw on a clean shirt and pants. After bedtime is always one of my favorites times of the day, when the kids are asleep and I can read for a few minutes or take that time to lay out something pretty to wear the next day. Sometimes a little pre-planning goes a long way, and it’s fairly easy to do!

What is the importance of taking time to yourself?

I think having time to feel pretty and put together puts me in the right mindset to be a better mom. I am a woman first, and taking that five minutes (and a little prep time the night before on what I’m going to wear) sets me up to look and feel good about myself all day. I fell in the trap of letting myself go a bit after having my kids back to back, and taking that time to exercise, put on a little makeup, and dress nicely has made the biggest difference.

My celeb mom beauty icon is.. Jessica Alba. She always looks put together and stylish, yet I know she is a hands-on mom of two.

How much do you usually spend on beauty products a month?

Good question…probably too much! I invest in certain products that last me for a long time. Argan oil, Wen cleansing conditioner and Philosophy lotion comes in super sizes from All my other makeup comes for Ulta or the local grocery store.

I can live without  Josie Maran’s Argan Oil! It is great as a moisturizer, and I also use it on the ends of my hair before flat-ironing it. In the winter, I can put it on my kids’ faces, and now I find my husband begs for it as well! I love Wen cleansing conditioner for my hair. And shoot, I can’t forget my Philosophy Fresh Cream or Pure Grace lotion!

 My dream beauty product is … Something that would make my hair dry amazing with no styling tools or work on my part!


  • Urban Decay eyeliners: I feel most like myself with eyeliner on, typically either a dark brown or black on my lower lid only.
  • Mally mascara: It’s soft and doesn’t make my eyelashes feel spiky.
  • Josie Maran Argan Milk: It’s a serum I wear under her face oil to boost moisture and reduce lines.
  • Sebastian Potion No. 9: a  great, non sticky hair product that sorts of works as a zillion products in one.

New-Mom Makeovers: How To Look Pulled-Together Fast
New-Mom Makeovers: How To Look Pulled-Together Fast
New-Mom Makeovers: How To Look Pulled-Together Fast

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Meals I Make for My Kids Are Not Instagram-Worthy. They Eat Them Anyway.

I feed my kids well, and they are healthy, and for that I should get a freakin’ medal. But instead what I get is a Buzzfeed article called “This Woman Makes Staggeringly Pretty Meals for Her Children” showing a mom in Asia who creates works of art for her kids to eat, but first uploads photos of them to Instagram. Culinary masterpieces that, frankly, I doubt her kids even appreciate. They probably beg for a bowl of Froot Loops, but instead have to eat a rice Hello Kitty under a sunny-side-up egg sky.

Do you know what our family dinner looked like last night? It’s this bowl of mush right here: I can show you because I am eating the leftovers. Want to know how I made it? First I had to navigate Trader Joe’s on a Sunday morning, which, in my Brooklyn neighborhood, resembles Times Square on New Year’s Eve. I bought pork, broccoli slaw, and pineapple spears, and only had to wait in line about a half-hour. At 7 a.m. Monday morning I laid the slaw, the spears, and the pork in my slow-cooker, covered it all in Campbell’s Slow Cooker Sweet Korean BBQ sauce (I stockpile slow-cooker cheats in my pantry like liquid gold), and turned the dial to “low.” After getting my kids to school, commuting, working an 8-hour day, traveling an hour to retrieve my son at his band class, and then getting my daughter from her piano lesson, TA-DA! I added the finishing touch. I stirred in leftover Chinese fried rice from our Sunday-night takeout. I stress that I made this entire recipe up in my own head. We ate it, and my kids loved it, so there Hello-Kitty lady.

It took 12 hours from the time I started it to the time I served it, so if she wants to try and say she puts in more effort, I say heck no. It fed me and my kids and is feeding me again, and I’m guessing her fancypants plate only covers one of her four children. I win again. Okay, I am not going to address the sodium content in my dish, nor the calories. It had both fruit and vegetable! I am not to be made to feel guilty because I don’t carve up food to look like boats, or Pokemon, or mermaids.

That said, if she would come make this cream-cheese Olaf for me, I would be totally into it. 

Family Dinners: 4 Tips To Make Them Better
Family Dinners: 4 Tips To Make Them Better
Family Dinners: 4 Tips To Make Them Better

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Unbored Games: Easy Ways to Have Fun as a Family

By Brooke Schuldt

In a world of high-definition entertainment, sometimes it can be hard to get your kids enthusiastic about family game night. Thankfully, Elizabeth Foy Larsen and Joshua Glenn offer loads of ideas to help entertain your kids in their new book Unbored Games: Serious Fun For Everyone. Larsen discusses the importance of family play and why people should take games seriously. 

Your book promotes kids playing not only among themselves, but also with their families. Why do you think that playing together as a family is so important?

Playing games together is great for a lot of reasons: It’s a way to connect and enjoy each other that doesn’t feel forced—it’s genuinely fun, and that’s truly important. I’ve interviewed a lot of child psychologists over the years and one thing they say is that kids are often stumped by the question: “What does your family do to have fun?” We want kids to grow up with memories of enjoying time together with the people they love. And that can get tough in a culture filled with homework and regularly scheduled extracurricular activities.

Along with indoor and outdoor games, your book talks about online games and mobile app games. Why is it so important for parents to be aware of their children’s online activities? 

We enjoy a lot of online games and apps and think there’s no reason kids should stay away from them if their parents have pre-screened them and if kids can show they can regulate their use and not become addicted.

The first page of the book lists the ten reasons why games are important. How do you think playing games positively affects a child’s development?

Where do I start? Games encourage kids, especially younger kids, to learn how to keep practicing until they figure out how to do a certain move or skill correctly. They also teach collaboration, problem-solving skills and, in the case of outdoor games, are an incredibly fun way to get exercise. We encourage kids to hack or modify a game if they don’t like the way it works, which is important when it comes to nurturing creativity.

What is your favorite game to play with your family?

We love Anomia, which is a fast-paced word association game. But when all of my kids were in elementary school our absolute favorite was Apples to Apples. We’re a loud family who love to argue and persuade each other that each one of us is right. Playing that game is still a great way to get us laughing, even if we’ve all had bad days.

How is your latest book different from your previous book Unbored: The Essential Field Guide to Serious Fun?

The original Unbored is an all-encompassing activity book and resource for kids and their families that touches on all parts of a kid’s life. Unbored Games focuses exclusively on games—how to play them, how to make them, how to modify them to suit your needs.

The Best Toys of 2014!
The Best Toys of 2014!
The Best Toys of 2014!

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