Author Archive

Blackheads Just Got Beautiful. Well, Sort Of.

Thursday, August 16th, 2012

The brand that brought you the miracle-on-a-strip pore cleanser 15 years ago is back with a bit more pizzazz. Using pop art as inspiration, Bioré has launched a limited-edition, eye-catching tin for its popular blemish busters. Although the packaging has gotten a retro makeover, the clinically proven formula remains the same, whisking away the dirt and debris that cause the pesky blackheads we know you love to squeeze. So for around $8 a package, why not perk up the appearance of your skin—and bathroom?

(Bioré Limited Edition Tin is available for purchase in drugstores)

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Will Virtual Textbooks Boost Learning?

Thursday, August 9th, 2012

Are the days of lugging around textbook-filled backpacks becoming obsolete? Developers at Kno, an education-geared software company, hope so. Yesterday, Kno announced their plan to offer interactive K-12 textbooks for iPads, tablets, and the web for only $9.99. The app will allow parents and children to enhance learning experiences through various interactive features, including automatic flash cards, customized quizzes, and 3D models. Kno’s product comes just months after the federal government issued the Digital Textbook Playbook, a plan to get all students and teachers using e-textbooks within the next few years.

More and more companies are now scrambling to increase education rates after appalling reports from the Council on Foreign Relations stated that the U.S. education system has failed to prepare kids for competition at a global level. If that didn’t sting enough, schools endured another attack last week when a study done by Harvard University’s Program on Education Policy and Governance found the United States’ academic growth now ranks in the middle of the 49 countries involved. Somehow, schools in America just aren’t making the cut, leading companies like Kno to take education into their own hands.

So what can you do to help your child stay ahead of the pack? Learn a lesson from the top educational systems in the world and take home some pro tips to try yourself. Being proactive and aware of your kid’s education is the key to their future success.

Image: Little girl thinking via Shutterstock

 

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Dads Have Unique Powers of Persistence

Thursday, August 9th, 2012

Looks like Dad is going to get a little more appreciation than just on Father’s Day! A recent study from Brigham Young University shows that dads play a huge role in helping their young children develop persistence. According to researchers, fathers who practiced “authoritative parenting” raised persistent kids who had better grades in school and lower rates of recklessness later in life.

The key to being an “authoritative” parent and not an “authoritarian” is granting kids personal freedom, while still holding them accountable for their actions. Dishing out appropriate levels of discipline will help children build persistence, so try to refrain from making empty threats that they will inevitably tune out.

Of course, it’s tempting to get your kids to break out the toothpaste by telling them dirty teeth will fall out, but it won’t benefit them in the long run, as one of our readers quickly found out. The funny dad’s best threat? “Either you get dressed right now, or you’re never going to get dressed again.” (For more seriously silly warnings, click here!) Rather than pretend to revoke clothing privileges, though, why not give your discipline tactics a makeover that will encourage perseverance instead? Your kids will thank you for it later.

Well, hopefully.

Image: Father and son via Shutterstock

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Behind-the-Scenes at Parents Magazine

Wednesday, August 8th, 2012

Everyone has their own perception of what the magazine world is really like. To outsiders, it’s reminiscent of the glamorous and cutthroat scenes from The Devil Wears Prada, complete with Meryl Streep-like bosses on every floor. But to us—the editors, writers, and designers—it’s work. Well-dressed, perk-filled work. Granted, I’m just an intern (shock, horror, surprise!), so I only experience a fraction of the long days and hectic schedules of “real” employees. In return, however, I face multiple coffee runs, hours of tedious, backbreaking photocopying, and overall mental degradation.

…At least, that’s what I thought I would be doing when I came to New York for the summer. A magazine internship isn’t complete without at least one cringe-worthy story, right? Wrong. The atmosphere at Parents is nothing at all like Hollywood depicts. In fact, the staff here is so genial and kid-crazy that I half-expect to find a toddler sitting at my desk every morning, waiting to give me hugs. There is no coffee fetching or intern abusing, and I can proudly say that I have yet to pick up someone’s dry cleaning. My “work” has consisted of everything from covering press events with celebrities to wrangling the country’s cutest kids at the Parents cover contest photo shoot. I’ve crafted a car from a cardboard box and created fortune cookies in the break room. I’ve even experienced toy testing, which is a magical time where every amazing, never-before-seen toy is stuffed into one room so editors can decide which of them they like best. My job? Play with the toys beforehand (that’s me above, regressing to my 5-year-old self).

Of course, I don’t always feel like Tom Hanks in Big, and sometimes, I even have to do real work—like write this laborious blog post—but there’s always another fun reward on the horizon. While I could go on and on about my summer adventures, today is Bagel Wednesday in the office, and I really want to snag one while they’re hot.

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Meeting Kristin Davis? All in a Day’s Work

Friday, August 3rd, 2012

Product launch parties in New York City are similar to fancy parties that you always dreamed of attending as a child (or, in my case, also as an adult). There are tiny finger foods floating around the room, swarms of journalists boasting of their latest ventures, cameramen lazily snapping pictures of the scene, and, you know, a celebrity or two.

(All right, maybe I was the only child who dreamed of a party like that.)

Regardless, today’s event was fantastic. I went to a product launch for Zarbee’s new adult line of honey-based cough products. Zarbee’s is the queen bee of natural, drug-free cough relievers for kids–and now parents!–and their products have earned them a few Hollywood mega-fans, including one certain Sex and the City star.

As I sat in the gorgeous penthouse suite of a swanky Manhattan hotel, surrounded by well-known bloggers, editors, and writers, Kristin Davis herself sashayed into the room on sky-high Louboutins (“They’re Charlotte’s heels!” she later whispered to me) and surprised the speechless crowd.

Kristin, who is mom to one-year-old Gemma Rose, chatted about the difficulties of trying to be the perfect mom while also being a single parent. “It’s challenging,” she admitted, “but so very worth it.” As you could guess, the celeb was just as sweet and bubbly as her old on-screen character, Charlotte, complimenting my outfit and repeatedly thanking everyone for coming. After a quick picture with her (she touched my waist!), I skipped out the door, grabbing a Zarbee’s goody bag and a macaroon on the way. My travel back to the Parents headquarters was spent in a dazed, smiley state—which most likely terrified other people—and I contemplated the likelihood of Kristin and I becoming best friends. (Outcome? Unlikely.) Still, no complaints for a day’s worth of “work.”

Which celebrity would you be most shell-shocked to meet? Tell us below!

 

Image: Kristin Davis with author via Zarbee’s

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Willow Smith: Too Young for a Pierced Tongue?

Tuesday, July 24th, 2012

We’ve all grown accustomed to the daring style statements of Will and Jada Pinkett Smith’s daughter, Willow. In the last year alone, the young celeb has been seen sporting sky-high platform shoes, bright green hair, and, as of late, a tongue piercing. Did we mention she’s only 11 years old?

The most recent cause of public uproar came when Willow instagrammed a picture of her and a friend proudly displaying their mouth piercings (there she is, at right). Turns out the piercing was a magnetic stud, but critics still questioned the Smiths’ lenient parenting style and its effect on their kids. In the past, Will has publicly defended his daughter’s choices, explaining that Willow is in control of her body and can decide what she does with it (including shaving her head). Though we’re all for nurturing a child’s independence, we can’t help but ask: When your child is 11, how much freedom is just too much?

It’s important to help your kid develop his individuality, even if that means occasionally giving in to his newfound “let me do it!” demands. Sure, allowing your youngster to wear his Halloween costume to the grocery store once is cute, but what if he insists on donning it every single day for a month? If you give in now, could that pave the way for a child to insist on hair dye or piercings (fake or otherwise) later? While we all want our children to learn to fly solo, we wonder where the line between self-sufficiency and complete autonomy lies, and how far parents are willing to go to let their kids feel independent.

If your child wanted to shave her head, dye her hair, or “pierce” her tongue, would you let her? Share your thoughts below!

 

Image: Willow Smith and friend via Webstagram

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Taylor Dayne: Surrogacy and Single Parenthood

Monday, July 16th, 2012

You probably remember Taylor Dayne as the big-haired,‘80s pop sensation that captured the world with her hit, “Tell It to My Heart,” but that’s not how she’s billing herself these days. For the past decade, Dayne has been center stage to a different crowd—her 10-year-old twins, Astaria and Levi, whom she had through surrogacy.

“I felt that it was all meant to be,” Dayne told Parents in a recent interview; “My children were just waiting for their time to come into my life.” For many of us, the thought of being a single mother and bringing two kids into the world seems daunting, but for Dayne, whose biological clock was a “time bomb,” it was a decision that she wanted—and needed—to make.

“I’m not a ‘coulda woulda shoulda’ girl. I didn’t want to be the woman who looked in her rear-view mirror and realized she never contributed something to this life,” she explains. “I wanted to have a larger purpose and I saw my chance at it through surrogacy.”

While the happy mom’s mantra is “single I am, but a family we are,” she admits that she would eventually like to share her life with a partner and expand her three-unit family. “Conventional or not, we’ve made our family work for 10 years,” says Dayne, “And for now, we’re happy.”

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Win Your Bucket List

Friday, July 13th, 2012

What ever happened to the wish list you had as a child—the one where you planned to ride an elephant in Africa, touch the Eiffel tower in Paris, and play in the oceans of Hawaii? If you’re like most adults, your list of whimsical dreams was replaced with paying bills, saving for your kid’s college, and planning for retirement. But what if you had the chance to make your number one childhood wish come true?

Hilton Garden Inn wants to make that happen with their second annual Life’s Ultimate To-Do List contest. Like your very own fairy godmother, Hilton Garden Inn will help 10 people cross off the top goal from their bucket lists—and give them $2,000 and airfare to make it happen. All you have to do is tell Hilton your ultimate wish by August 5th and why you deserve the prize. It’s that simple! (And way easier than planning your next vacation.) Check out Hilton Garden Inn’s facebook to see the rules, recent entries, and to submit your own.

Who said only kids get to have all the fun?

 

Image: Man parasailing over the ocean via Shutterstock

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