Fun in the Sun: Kid-Friendly Activities!

Dear Diary, As busy and occasionally crazed Mamas, we know EXACTLY what seeing the sunshine peeking through our windows in the morning means. It means getting the kids to play outdoors, of course! But let's face the facts - this is sometimes easier said than done. There are times when children get so excited that they rush outside only to return 20 minutes later, speaking those infamous words, "I'm bored!"  Then, there are other times when they can happily play outside all day long, which can make our smiles just as wide as theirs! Of course, children in younger age groups can't play outside unattended, like my little Branden. (In fact, I'm continuously pondering exactly how old he will be before he's allowed out in New York City streets alone...40 perhaps?) I'm in the same boat as all of you, being a mama that wants to help my child create happy summer memories. So I thought  I would come up with some fun outdoor activities for summer that involved the entire family and are fun no matter what age group. I decided to seek out activities that don't cost an arm and a leg that can be done in the home vicinity without lots of traveling or preparation involved. But before setting out on any of these adventures, don't forget your sunscreen! Kid Friendly Activities Bootcamp- Exercising as a family can be a lot of fun! It's a great idea to have Mom and Dad plan a family friendly version of the so popular boot camp work-out classes and then have the whole family participate. … [Read more...]

Make a Splash!

I'm not going to lie, I still hate bathing suit shopping! This is just one of those things that doesn't get better with age, as far as I am concerned. In fact, I think that there is even MORE that I worry about now! Ya know?... things in addition to all the usual bathing suit/body insecurities. Now that I'm a Mama, I have added things to look for in a bathing suit.  So, as a Fashionista AND a Mama who needs a bathing suit boost, here's my wish list for summer fun: A bathing suit that keeps me from accidentally exposing parts of my body to the public that I'd rather keep hidden, while I am chasing after Branden or reaching over to grab him or being slammed by a wave! A bathing suit that hides my love handles. (Feel free to substitute your own pet peeve of a body issue!) And, of course, a bathing suit that makes my chest to appear higher than it actually is. Yeah, a visual breast lift would be nice! Again, you know what you need in this department, whether it is minimizing, maximizing, or simply flattering what you know looks good! So, I thought that I would put together some bathing suit options that are Mama-proof! (Translation: Bathing suits that will help you feel wonderful, even while you chase your wild thing down the beach!) When you are ready to go shopping, keep in mind your own body shape and what compliments that shape best. Try brushing up on my post Being Fashion Conscious: Dressing For Your Body Shape before you hit the mall. And, you want this to be a … [Read more...]

Beautiful Differences: How to Find the Right Make-Up Palettes For Your Skin Tone

  So I'm sure you have all been in this situation before: You are running late in the morning and have no clue what you are wearing to work, and then it happens! You run out of your most necessary beauty product! Typically, when this happens to me, it is a result of me already being "too busy" and putting off a trip to the store even though I know I'm running low on a product I love.  This happened when I completely ran out of my favorite primer the other day. So I ended up making a special trip to the Sephora on Lexington Avenue after work, since I can't go a day without this product! When I walked inside, as usual, I was sucked into everything around me. The smells, the packaging, and, oh, the colors! The many, many, many color options in there can be almost paralyzing. (Wouldn't it just be easier if there was one shade of lip gloss to choose from?) This quandary of mine lead me to my computer to do a little research on skin tones, color palettes, and how to narrow down my search when it comes to figuring out which make-up shades work best with my skin tone. So the first piece to the palette puzzle of make-up is to figure out exactly what skin tone you have. I thought this would be the easy step, but, was I ever wrong!  I eventually learned that the best way to establish your skin tone  is to spend a little bit of time examining a part of your body that is rarely exposed to sun (or sunless tanning products). A great place to look is your nail beds. You … [Read more...]

The Working Mama

[ So excited to introduce you all to our first guest post by blogger/mother/designer Kristen Luciani! You can check out her personal blog, Me and My Three and look for her book Accessorizing Failure, that will hopefully be hitting book stores soon!) Guest Post By: Kristen Luciani I am a full-time working mom, but sometimes I wonder if the money is worth the stress and aggravation.  I find that moms work for one or more of a few reasons – they have to work, they love their jobs, they love the lifestyles that their jobs provide them, or they really weren’t cut out for motherhood and need an escape.  I work primarily for reason number three; although sometimes reason number four applies…I am only human, after all.  And let me tell you, the lifestyle isn’t just something my husband and I are accustomed to; my kids are also quite comfortable with Mommy working and all of the benefits that provides, particularly my oldest. Anyway, I think my biggest issue is that I don’t really thrive under someone else’s management.  I have very strong opinions about how things should be done, and I get frustrated when people do not accept and embrace my points of view.  This must be one of the reasons why I love motherhood – my kids may not embrace my views, but they have no choice but to accept them.  Fighting against them is really futile.  I am ALWAYS going to win,  at least while they live under my roof. My husband calls me an “entrepreneurial spirit.”  He says that I don’t work … [Read more...]

Why We Love Vtech Switch and Go Dinos

  As busy Mamas, we all know how important it is to find ways to occupy our children for more than 20 minutes! If you have a busy toddler like my little man, this need becomes even more urgent.  There are days when I am so desperate that I would be willing to pay an arm and a leg for 10 minutes of peace! Well ladies, today I have met my ecstasy, in the form of the cool new Vtech Switch and Go Dinos set that occupied Branden for well over 30 MINUTES, and counting!!! As I was trying to get some computer work done this morning, I introduced Branden to two new friends: Silver, The T-Rex Dino and Horns, The Triceratops Dino.  Not only are they cool Dino figures, but they transform to cars as well.  Branden couldn’t have been more overjoyed at their appearance, since these toys are the perfect marriage of my little man’s two favorite things at the moment…cars and dinosaurs!  I can only assume there are many other 3 year olds out there who would feel the same! The toys very easily transform from Dino to car and back again, so Branden could do it on his own without asking for help, which leads directly into my personal ecstasy! Why We Love Switch and Go Dinos! This toy set is completely interactive with a captivating LCD screen that teaches my little man fun facts about dinosaurs while he is having fun! (What Mama doesn’t love a little learning being thrown into the mix?) The dinosaurs come to life with each movement, and whenever it was transformed into a car, Branden … [Read more...]

Sunscreen 101

Dear Diary, This past weekend, my husband had to drill (A.K.A he had to report to his post in Queens, New York to complete his one weekend a month duty to the Army Reserves). So, it was just me and my little man hanging out for two days of mommy/toddler fun! It was a beautiful weekend, so our plans consisted of some SOHO shopping, Union Square Park and Farmers Market, and if I was feeling rather ambitious, the Central Park Zoo. I got us all packed up on Saturday for day #1 of our adventures! As soon as I stepped outside into the hot sunshine, I realized that I dropped the ball and forgot to get us all lathered up in sunscreen. AND, to top it all off, Branden tends to act as a little parrot, so I got to hear "Mommy forgot the sun cream!" all day long! So, before heading out to the park on Sunday, I tore the house apart trying to find the all natural baby sunscreen that I had spent a fortune on last summer, and got Branden lathered up 20 minutes before heading outside. The fact that I had so much trouble finding where I had last left the sunscreen left me feeling a bit concerned, since deep inside I knew we should be using this daily, NOT just when the sun is shining. As a concerned parent, I knew in this moment that some research was in order! So, as concerned Mamas yourselves, here are the "need to know" facts in the form of Q & A's about sunscreen and how to choose the right one for you and your family: Sunscreen 101 How does sunscreen work? There are two … [Read more...]

5 Chic Over-Sized Bags For Women While Carting Kids Around

  Okay, I think we can all agree on one thing: our bag is pretty much an extension of ourselves. The bag we carry goes wherever we go and is filled to the brim with everything important in our lives. I separate bags for women into a few different categories which apply to different situations or events in my life. First, of course, is the diaper bag, the necessary accessory for anyone with a baby from infancy up to about a year and half. (Yes, there are a few out there that could be considered as "fashionable".) Second, there are day to day bags, which are medium-sized, pretty on the eyes, and able to hold all of the items that I need whenever I am at work or out and about without my family. Third, there are the nighttime bags, which are sexy little bags that are purchased to match a specific outfit for a night on the town. Then, there are the Mama Bags - the most important bags for women of them all.  By terminology a la Allison Cooper, we can define Mama Bag as follows: Mama Bag- (noun) 1. An over-sized bag that is used as a combination diaper bag and day to day bag. It it highly fashionable, versatile, and practical. It is most likely adorned with many pockets to hold items such as: wallet, diapers, wipes, cosmetics, cell phone,  shopping lists, and diaries. It does not scream "Diaper Bag!" 2. Plural usage Mama Bags: meaning that a Mama can have more than one, even an entire closet full. Now, Mama Bags aren't necessarily built specifically for Mamas, … [Read more...]

Don’t Sugar Coat The O’s!

Editor’s Post by Deborah Hetrick Catanese Twenty and thirty and forty, OH MY!  Certain birthdays can push our buttons, especially those that end with a zero! And it starts YOUNG.  Remember 1-0? Otherwise known as ten?  Yes, you reached the excitement of double digits, but what fun was there in that, since you STILL weren’t a teenager? It brings to mind that old phrase…"It’s just a number." Well, don’t believe it! It’s kind of like a lot of that unsolicited advice, right, Allison, LOL? (See "The Tango of Unwanted Parental Advice" )  You can choose to believe the myths that keep on coming at you, but when it comes to age, it’s probably best to just trash the rationalizations and face up to the O’s. Trust me on this, since I have more experience with these O’s than many of you. So let’s just take a look at all of these potentially troublesome numbers and let my hard earned “wisdom” guide you along the way. 2-0. Well, THERE is a very annoying number.  You have to stop being a teenager. But you are not officially an adult. Adulthood is not necessarily something you are striving for just yet, but you DO want to be able to have a legal drink.  You want to show that real ID while being carded, and get all those free drinks!  Next year, sweetie. Enjoy limbo for a year, while your friends run out to bars! 3-0. There was a phrase when I was young that sums this one up…"Never trust anyone over thirty."  We were so foolish as to think we had absolutely FOREVER before … [Read more...]

Parenting Pet Peeves

Dear Diary, I'm not the kind of person to judge or run up to people in public that I don't know and offer unwanted parenting advice. Unless I am asked, I try to keep my mouth shut and turn my head in the other direction. I do believe that every family has to find their balance, their "normal", and their own ways to parent that work best for them. I wouldn't want people coming up to me and telling me that I am doing something wrong, whenever it is working for  me. With that being said, there are two parenting pet peeves of mine that bother me beyond belief. I need to get them out in the open, because they don't just affect the family of the children but everyone else that is around them. Unfortunately, I see these terrible behaviors very frequently, and it is simply bad Mama behavior. Parenting Peeve #1: Swimming with a newborn I understand how cute it can be to dress your new little bundle of joy in a teeny weeny bathing suit and show them off at the pool. Keep in mind, Mamas: A LITTLE INFANT CANNOT HOLD THEIR OWN BODY TEMPERATURE!!!! Therefore, putting a tiny baby in a swimming pool when they are only a couple of weeks old is not a good idea. Nor is it advisable to put sunscreen on a child's entire body at this age, so allowing your infant to be exposed the brutal rays of the sun is a poor choice as well. [Pediatricians advise that newborns should be mostly covered by clothing whenever out in the sun, and sunscreen may be applied to small areas such as hands and … [Read more...]

The Mommy Beach Bag

Dear Diary, This past Memorial Day Weekend, I celebrated with my boys by having an awesome beach day! My husband and I planned ahead to make sure that we had all of the necessary beach essentials ready for the next day. On Monday morning, we packed up  the car with all of our towels, beach bag, etc, and headed to Far Rockaway Beach for a relaxing day. (Don't worry, whenever I buy my mansion in the Hamptons, you will all be the first to know! But for now, Far Rockaway it is!) Throughout our beach adventure day, I realized that there were some things that I could have brought with us to make things a little bit easier and less sandy. I know that a lot of Mommy's are planning beach trips with their families this summer, so  I comprised a list of beach bag essentials for every Mama. Having these key items in your fabulous beach bag will make your beach time memorable (without worrying about the things that you forgot)! The Mommy Beach Bag Essentials: A Stellar Beach Bag- I think that it's most important to first start with the right beach bag. It doesn't need to be expensive, as long as it is over-sized and has some special compartments that you can use to hold the little things that you don't want to get misplaced. Towels- This is an obvious one, but not something that you want to forget! If you have a big family, bringing along a large beach blanket can also come in handy! Waterproof Wallet- Just in case there is something that you need to buy while at the … [Read more...]