Archive for the ‘ Your Life ’ Category

Dressing for Pregnancy When It’s Cold Outside

Friday, January 17th, 2014

** guest-edited by Olivia Capone Myers, Design Director for A Pea in the Pod

Warmth, comfort, and style are the keys to feeling and looking great during the colder months, especially during your last trimester.

Opt for a demure long-sleeve LBD for a winter baby shower like the Nicole Miller Long Sleeve Ruched Maternity Dress. For a more casual but polished look, try the Rebecca Taylor Long Sleeve Lace Maternity Shirt paired with skinny jeans or leather leggings. Add our Open Front Ponte Maternity Jacket and a statement necklace to complete your look.

The ultimate in comfort, our patented Secret Fit Belly® is a stretchy seamless panel available on your favorite bottoms from leggings to designer denim. The panel provides excellent support and can even be worn post-pregnancy as your body transitions. Plus you’ll still be able to wear your favorite designer styles from skinny to boyfriend jeans.

Layering is essential during the last few months of your pregnancy. Our seamless, adjustable strap and shelf-bra camis are great to pair underneath fitted blazers. A T-shirt, tank, or long-sleeved shirt with flattering side-ruching is perfect to wear underneath a cardigan or to layer with a sweater. They smooth out your look and add a layer of warmth.

Winter weekends are for lounging! Relax in style with our cozy Splendid® Long Sleeve Maternity Hoodie. Pair this hoodie with our super-soft French Terry Drawstring Maternity Lounge Pants; they adjust to accommodate your growing baby bump and are comfortable to wear even after baby arrives.

Winter months can be especially harsh on your skin. Basq Skincare’s Citrus Sugar Body Polish gently exfoliates and helps to brighten dull, tired skin. Basq also makes some fantastic body oils that are perfect for maintaining your glow; they moisturize, strengthen and tone your skin and have a soothing fragrance.

Is it mostly clothes for your workplace that you need? Check out this Parents video for a few more tips!

Clothes for Work
Clothes for Work
Clothes for Work

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Wanted: Beauty Product Testers!

Thursday, January 16th, 2014

For an upcoming issue, Parents is looking for moms with children under the age of 10 to test out new beauty products in the following categories: facial skin care, body skin care, hair, and makeup.

If you are interested, send an e-mail with Mom Tester 2014” in the subject line to parentsbeauty@gmail.com by January 22nd, 2014. Please include the following information:

1. Name
2. E-mail address
3. Mailing address
4. Age of your child(ren)
5. Your hair type (curly, wavy, straight; thick, thin)
6. Your skin type (dry, oily, combination)
7. Do you color your hair? (highlights count!)
8. Would you be willing to color your hair at home?
9. Do you have stretch marks?
10. Do you have cellulite?
11. Do you wear body sunscreen on a daily basis?
12. Please refer to the chart below and list the number that most closely matches your skin tone.

 

Important Notes

Sorry, but you are not eligible if you:

  • Are currently pregnant or are planning to become pregnant by May 2014
  • Live outside the U.S.
  • Receive mail at a P.O. Box

Also, you cannot be allergic to ingredients commonly found in cosmetics (i.e. fragrance), and must be willing to test products that don’t promote themselves as “natural” or “organic.”

 

We look forward to hearing from you!

Image: Three young women applying makeup via Shutterstock

 

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Safe Body and Skin Care Products for Kids

Tuesday, January 14th, 2014

It’s scary to think of all the harsh chemicals we ingest daily during harmless activities. Until recently, I didn’t even know that the shampoos, soaps, and cosmetics I was using contained ingredients that were actually dangerous for my health. Many moms are deciding not to take their chances and are instead switching to products made with natural, organic, and easy-to-pronounce ingredients for themselves and their little ones.

Gregg Renfrew, founder of Beautycounter, is one of these moms. After noticing a lack of safe yet stylish products on the market, Renfrew created the body and skin care line, which launched last spring. Renfrew’s Beautycounter products, such as the Everyday Shampoo and Conditioner, are vegan, gluten-free, and made without harmful petrochemicals. Bonus: they come in sleek, sophisticated packaging so you can feel good about replacing some of your old favorites on your vanity.

Of course, parents and their children appreciate different styles and tastes, so with that in mind, Renfrew has decided to extend Beautycounter to create Kidscounter. The line, which launched with its Bath Collection in November, is made with the same healthy goal in mind but with a kid-friendlier approach. The first three products of the kids’ line are the colorful and fruit-scented Nice Do Shampoo, Not a Knot Conditioner, and Squeaky Clean Body Wash, retailing for $16 each.

All of the Beautycounter and Kidscounter products are available for purchase at beautycounter.com or through a local Beautycounter consultant.

Image courtesy of Beautycounter

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Hilarious Mom Blogs About Quirky Challenges

Monday, January 6th, 2014

Most parents’ New Years resolutions tend to be similar: spend more time with your kids, turn off electronics at night, eat healthier as a family. Would you ever consider making your goals for the new year more unusual? One Seattle mom of two, Beautiful Existence — yes, that is really her given name — does just that. Each year Beautiful surprises her followers with a completely random-sounding challenge for herself. In 2013, she promised that she would eat at Starbucks for every meal. Every single meal all year. And, the year before that, she vowed to follow Parents magazine’s advice all year long. She made crafts, used our parenting tips, and even took the opportunity to make fun of our ads. (We’re flattered!)

For her Starbucks challenge, Beautiful had to get creative, especially around the holidays. On Passover, she made an impressive-looking Seder plate and, on Thanksgiving, she had her own little feast out of Starbucks offerings. She even gave herself a Starbucks Coffee Facial Scrub. (For the record, according to Beautiful, it worked great.) She was able to stay on the Starbucks-only diet all year, though she was, of course, eager to eat somewhere else on January 1.

What will Beautiful be doing this year? She’ll be learning every recreational sport — there are over 80 on her list. Now that’s a dedicated and healthy goal.

Beautiful’s hilarious blog is not only an entertaining look at her daily trips to the popular coffee chain, but also an example of a mom who had an offbeat, awesome idea and went with it. It’s exciting that one person can create such a following through blogging.

If you’re feeling creative, try this fun and easy craft with your kids.

Kid Craft: Cute Paper Animal Heads
Kid Craft: Cute Paper Animal Heads
Kid Craft: Cute Paper Animal Heads

See which health stories will be big in 2014 and sign up for our daily newsletter to stay up-to-date on parenting news.

Image via Shutterstock

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Postnatal Yoga Tips from Rockstar Teachers

Monday, December 23rd, 2013

** Guest-edited by Kristen Kemp, yoga instructor

My last baby popped out 6 years ago, but I vividly remember the feeling that everything—my strength, energy, muscle tone and stamina—had been completely zapped. Where I was once able to run two miles up and down steep hills for exercise, all of a sudden, walking up and down the stairs to the laundry room was as strenuous as running a marathon. I reassured my latest yoga student—her adorable baby is 6 weeks old—to start slowly and steadily. All of our muscles remember what they used to do and luckily, our minds are even stronger than our bodies. We can think ourselves back into fitness.

I learned all of this at the amazing Yoga Journal Conference I attended in November. For yoga geeks, it was a dream come true. I spent two days in an intensive anatomy workshop with the brilliant celebrity teacher Jason Crandell. He taught me about muscles and bones—and how to make them strong. Another famous yogi, Kathryn Budig, taught arm balances (these are post-post natal moves you’ll love working up to). I did some crazy 8-point pose (see photo) where my arms were bent and my legs were parallel in the air about a foot off the ground. I thought, ‘I’ve come a long, long way since my kids were born.” I was so proud of myself. As Kathryn had said earlier, “getting stronger is amazing and empowering.”

For the holidays and New Year, I, of course, recommend yoga. In the wise words of the great teacher and sage Cyndi Lee, sometimes you have to put you first. “Take care of yourself so you can be a better mom, business partner, whatever. You can take better care of other people when you take care of yourself first. Only then will you have a little extra to give.”

If you’re interested, the next Yoga Journal Live conference is in San Fran on January 16 through 20. I’ll be at the YJ Live in New York City in April. Message me if you’ll be there, and we can meet up. I’ll definitely post new-mom moves I get from there, so stay tuned.

So go ahead and get started now. I’ve posted one of my favorite beginner videos by Jason. He’s a super-safe and inspiring teacher who offers this cool and relaxing 15-minute beginner yoga sequence. I’m taking this to my postnatal client on Friday.

 

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My Best Holiday Tradition

Monday, December 16th, 2013

When I said, in a Parents.com post on holiday traditions, that my favorite is taking a one-on-one holiday date with each of my kids, some people complained that my kids need more than one day a year of my attention. But of course, those two get my attention all day, every day. Here’s what makes a holiday time-out so special:
* They get me all to themselves with no sibling, no daddy, and no friends around. You’d think this would happen more often than it does, but I, like most mommies, have to work to be completely alone with any member of my family (the exception being my firstborn’s babyhood…we had plenty of alone time together!) Being with one kid usually means doing homework, walking to a playdate, shopping, or any number of mundane things, as opposed to just enjoying each other.
* I don’t cheat and do anything I “have” to do. That includes running by a bank or post office, etc., because then it wouldn’t feel like a date, right? 
* They get to skip school! At least as long as they are in preschool or elementary school. I try to keep our holiday date off of Saturday or Sunday, when we’re already off-duty. I take a vacation day from work, I excuse them from school, and we both take a break from responsibilities. On a weekday! It feels a little scandalous.
* I follow each kid’s lead. Joe is a nut about penguins, so this year’s date was to the Central Park Zoo where we spent maybe 45 minutes in the penguin room. After, I started to make an argument for seeing other animals (to make that entrance fee worth it!), but Joe wanted to eat a hot dog and then go look at Christmas decorations. So that’s what we did.
* Each kid gets something special, and I don’t fret about making  things even. Grace is now in middle school so, for the first time, I chickened out about taking her out all day. Her special mama date was a sleepover at the Conrad Hotel in lower Manhattan. (It’s not as pricey as it looks, at least by Manhattan-hotel standards, and it’s kid-friendly.) In the morning Grace ordered room-service breakfast, which to her represents the pinnacle of luxury. The fact that I didn’t have to fix breakfast, make the bed, or launder the towels was my own pinnacle of luxury. Joe didn’t get a hotel stay, and Grace didn’t get to miss an entire day of school, but they accept that they can have things that are different and equally special.
* Obviously, we do holiday things. When the kids were preschoolers I took them to St Patrick’s Cathedral a few years in a row, where they have a beautiful nativity scene with a crib that stays empty until Christmas. It felt more meaningful to discuss what Christmas is, mama-to-child, outside of church service (and outside of some lecture about asking for too many gifts, lol). Now that they get it, we more often view the Rockefeller Center Tree, or join activities like the cookie-decorating that the Conrad Hotel puts on. (Happening this Saturday, December 21st, from 3pm to 5pm, if you happen to be in NYC!)
Maybe I am just getting old, but it feels like the world is spinning so fast these days that taking a time-out with these little people is the best tradition I’ve ever come up with. I hope you all get a real rest and respite with loved ones in the next few weeks, before we’re on to new-year resolutions and a busy 2014. Happy Holidays!
We’ve put together a helpful email full of our best holiday projects, recipes, and more! To get your copy click here.

Tabletop Tree
Tabletop Tree
Tabletop Tree

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Spread Cheer, Get Some in Return!

Tuesday, December 3rd, 2013

With the food riches of Thanksgiving behind us, Christmas is looming just around the corner (about three weeks to be exact). Though many get caught up trying to find the perfect gifts for family and friends, it’s easy to forget that presents don’t always need to come in shiny packages. 

Today’s #GivingTuesday, a national movement that started just last year. The goal: create a national day of giving where people can pay it forward. Whether that means donating to a favorite charity or volunteering at your local shelter, being charitable is all about finding the causes that matter to you.

One toy company is taking that mentality and spreading the joy throughout December. Tegu, known for its award-winning magnetic blocks, recently introduced a new member to the family: the Tegu Elf. And he’s on a mission to give back this holiday season.

From now until December 20, he will be tracking the hashtag #TeguElf across social media–Tegu’s Facebook wall, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram. Once he finds a person in need, he’ll send a special present your way, anything from free Tegu products to a restaurant gift card.

To get the elf’s attention, just send out a message with the hashtag and the thing you’d like most this Christmas. Don’t forget to look outside your immediate family, too. The elf is on the lookout for charities to donate to as well.

In the weeks to come, be sure to track his movements and announcements on Tegu’s Facebook page. Each day, he offers something new (such as free cubes placed in every fifth order on the site). In the meantime, if you have your own plans to give back today, share a picture explaining your good deeds using the hashtags #GivingTuesday and #UNselfie.

The time it takes you to do something for others will feel so much better than battling a sea of frenzied shoppers.

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Family Favorites for Feeding America

Tuesday, November 26th, 2013

Just like many others, my family’s holiday season is all about tradition. Though Thanksgiving is a couple days away, I already know we’ll be having my aunt’s garlic “smashed” potatoes and my gram’s pimento-stuffed celery (even though she’s the only one who likes it). We keep these recipes in the rotation because they’re near and dear to us. But this year, sharing them with others gives bigger benefits to those in need.

Go to Dish Up the Love to submit your favorite recipe and $1 will be donated to Feeding America, a nationwide network of food banks leading the fight against hunger. Each dollar provides nine meals for families who need them.

Partnering with the program is Top Chef alum and mom Antonia Lofaso, whose first book The Busy Mom’s Cookbook was recently released in paperback. A single parent, Antonia relishes her time at home with her daughter, Xea, making memories through food.

“For me the holidays are about making memories with family and friends around the kitchen table and giving back. Dish Up the Love celebrates these special holiday moments,” Antonia says. “I shared the recipe for my grandma’s lasagna because it’s served at all Lofaso family holidays. At Thanksgiving, we have turkey, but there’s always lasagna and tons of other Italian food.”

Grandma’s Lasagna

Serves: 6 to 8
Total time: 85 minutes

SAUCE INGREDIENTS
• ¼ cup olive oil
• ¼ cup chopped garlic (about 8 cloves)
• 3 (16-ounce) cans of peeled, whole plum tomatoes
• ½ teaspoon salt
• 1 teaspoon sugar

LASAGNA INGREDIENTS
• ¼ cup olive oil
• 1 ½ pounds ground turkey
• ½ teaspoon salt
• 2 tablespoons dried Italian seasoning, or 4 teaspoons fresh marjoram or oregano
• 1 (9-ounce) package of no-boil, oven-ready lasagna noodles
• Sauce (from above)
• ½ cup shredded or grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
• 2 cups whole-milk ricotta cheese
• 4 cups shredded whole-milk, mozzarella cheese
• 3 Roma tomatoes, sliced into 6 to 8 slices each
• 12 medium to large fresh basil leaves

DIRECTIONS

1. For the sauce, head the olive oil in a 4-quart saucepan over medium heat. Add the chopped garlic and just as it starts to brown around the edges, throw in the canned tomatoes. You don’t want the garlic to burn, so have the cans open and ready to go beforehand.

2. Add the salt and sugar and whisk it all together. Let the sauce simmer on medium-low for 40 minutes while you prep the other ingredients. If any foam rises to the top of the sauce, skim it off. That’s the acid from the tomatoes, and your sauce will taste better without it. Using a hand blender or counter top blender, blend on medium until smooth.

3. Preheat oven to 375 F. In a 10-inch sauté pan heat the olive oil on medium-high. Add the ground turkey and the salt. Cook the turkey for about 5 minutes, until it’s browned throughout. Just as it’s finishing the cooking process, stir in the Italian seasoning. Drain any excess fat or liquid from the pan.

4. Cover the bottom of a 13 x 9-inch baking pan with 3 sheets of pasta. Ladle 1 cup of sauce over the noodles. You don’t want the sauce to soak through, so you don’t need to overdo it. Layer on half of the meat, followed by half of the Parmigiano-Reggiano, and half of the ricotta cheese. Sprinkle on one-third of the mozzarella and arrange one-third of the fresh tomatoes on top of it. Top with one-third of the basil.

5. Repeat the process for the next layer: 3 sheets of pasta, a cup of sauce, the rest of the meat, the rest of the Parmigiano-Reggiano, the remaining ricotta, a third of the mozzarella, a third of the fresh tomatoes, and another third of the basil. The last layer is your presentation layer, so make it pretty. Add three more sheets of pasta.

6. Top the noodles with the last of the sauce, mozzarella, fresh tomatoes and basil. Bake uncovered for 40 minutes, rotating halfway through. The top should be a crispy golden brown when the lasagna is done, and the pasta sauce around the sides of the dish should be thick, not runny. Let the lasagna stand for 10 to 15 minutes before serving. If you cut into it while it is still piping hot, it will fall apart.

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For more information and to share your favorite family recipe, visit worldkitchen.com/dishupthelove. After submitting a recipe, you’ll be entered for weekly sweepstakes to win Pyrex, Baker’s Secret, and CorningWare products.

Get more kid-friendly recipes from Antonia Lofaso.

Recipe and image reprinted from The Busy Mom’s Cookbook with permission from Avery, an imprint of Penguin Group.

Image of Antonia and Xea by Alex Martinez.

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