Saturday, January 31, 2015

Eco-Friday: How to have a Baby Clothes Swap Party

Inspired by last week's episode of the Style channel's Tia and Tamera where the twins organized a pop up shop sale of old baby clothes and other unwanted items for charity, I thought about sharing another great idea for getting rid of clothes the baby has outgrown. Baby clothes swaps! 

Personally, I have attended a couple of clothing/closet swap parties for adults where girlfriends get together, take turns and shop each others' clothes that we won't wear any longer. It is a trendy and economical way to get "new" clothes without breaking the bank and swapping out your wardrobe.

In these tough economic times, purchasing new clothes for an impending arrival, especially for families on a budget and with more than one child, is not always an option. Organizing a baby swap is a very wonderful way for everyone to save a buck and get some new stuff. Here are some tips I gleaned from online research:

Step 1 - Select a date. 

  •  Based on your schedule and your family’s schedule, select a date that best works for you.  
  •  From there, decide if your swap will host both kids and adults – this will also help in determining the time of your swap (daytime vs. nighttime), the food, the activities, etc.  

Step 2 - Declutter. 

  • Get the word out about your Clothing Swap house party sooner rather than later. This gives everyone ample time to clean out their closets and find items to swap.  
  •  Make sure to invite your  guests three-to-four weeks in advance. With your invites, give your guests the following instructions:

What to bring:
Kids clothes and accessories in all sizes that are wearable and freshly laundered.

Most swap-worthy items fall into 3 categories

  • NEW Clothes (with tags)
  • NEARLY NEW Clothes (worn only once or twice)
  • GENTLY USED Clothes (worn, but still in very good condition)

What NOT to bring:

Out of respect for fellow swappers and your community, please do not bring ripped, dirty, stained items, those with broken zippers, or otherwise unwearable.              
Note that all unclaimed items can be donated to a host selected non-profit or cause.

Step 3 - Prepare for your party. 
You can create a successful swap by designating different areas of your home for different articles of clothing or different children’s clothes sizes. For example, your living room might be the location for all clothes for newborns, while the bedroom might have clothes for toddlers. 

Set up different tables clearly labeled with sizes or type of clothing to help your guests “organize” when they arrive. 

Mirrors, racks and hangers are helpful but not required

Hope this is helpful. 

And sidebar: it was refreshing to see Tia Mowry Hardrict  and Tamera Mowry-Housley balk at a pricey bottle of olive oil in that episode earlier and second guess a decision to pay $80 for some flimsy resort wear an episode before when they went to the Bahamas. So many times on reality TV shows, we have women, who may not necessarily be independently wealthy, make so many outlandish shopping purchases flagrantly and without any regard to the final price. You'll see the camera zoom in to a total that is 500th times what an average family would pay or even earn in a month. Many times, they can't really even afford the crap but do it for the cameras and show. It's so great that Tia and Tamera don't buy into that and reveal that even though they may earn more as actresses, they watch their pennies and wallets and refuse to succumb to extravagant spending. It's a great lesson and good to see. The truly wealthy people on this earth do not spend extraneously as "new money" people do and that is the reason they remain wealthy. Okay. Off my soap box now! :-)
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Friday, January 30, 2015

You've heard of 'free range chicken'; Now there's 'free range kids'

Parents who let their young children walk home from school and roam free without adult supervision around town are getting into trouble.

The new hip term for the practice is "free range." Yes, the same term we use to describe chickens that grow up on a farm free to roam and that are not pumped with anti-biotics and growth hormones. (Poultry loves say these chickens taste the best and are healthier than conventional chickens that grow up on poultry farms)

Close to where I live, a couple of kids, 10-year old Rafi Meitiv and his 6-year old sister Dvora were walking home from the park in Silver Spring, Maryland when a police officer stopped, questioned them and drove them home to their parents.

The state child protection services threatened to take the kids away from their parents, Alexander and Danielle Meitiv, unless they came up with a safety plan citing laws that state leaving children unsupervised is a form of neglect.

"I'm just parenting the way I was parented and the way that almost every adult I know was parented," said Danielle who, with her husband, have found themselves in the middle of the "Free Range Parenting" debate.

There is even a 2010 book by Lenore Skenazy on the topic "Free-Range Kids, How to Raise Self, Self-Reliant Kids (Without going Nuts with Worry)."

On the opposite side of the Meitiv's are those who say they are setting up their children to be victims of bullies, child predators or crime perpetrators who may take advantage of young children.

It's so interesting to me that there is a new term for the way I grew up.

One of my favorite memories as a child happened when I visited my cousin Abe in New York City at age 6 or 7 and of us traveling all over the burrough from park to park, playground to playground, flea market to corner store, visiting his friends at various other apartment buildings all day. We were supposed to make our way back home to go to a wedding which brought my family and I up to the city, but didn't. So we got left, then, realizing this fact, we headed back out for a few more moments of fun until the sun came up.

No officer, adult or other authority figure batted an eye to see us go about.

Now, I wouldn't think of releasing my 7, 9 and 12 year old in a city without supervision or at least the guidance of an older person, but certainly we do in our own town. Our kids ride their bikes on their own and run around the block to practice for their track and cross country sports. The middle kid routinely traverses down to the town creek to catch critters and has done so since he was 8-years old.

Sometimes, I worry, but I do see the value of letting them be independent and playing without the overtly watchful eye of their parents.

We live in the world of helicopter parenting, where parents shepherd their kids' every move and do not allow them to be independent, make mistakes and learn from them. I am guilty of being one too, to a certain extent on some things. 

Society is also rightful in being fearful that the "mistake" end up being one that can cost a child his or her life. We've seen that before. So, yeah, that matters too. 

What are your thoughts on the matter? Chime in!

h/t ABC News

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Courtney Love did heroin while pregnant with Kurt Cobain's daughter France's Bean

Courtney Love admitted using heroin once while pregnant with daughter Frances Bean Cobain.

Love made the confession while speaking in a new HBO film documenting the life of her then-beau, famous grunge band Nirvana frontman Kurt Cobain.

The singer turned actress said she was confident doing the drug wouldn't harm her unborn child. 

'I used it once then stopped," Love admitted in the documentary film Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck"I knew she would be fine.'' 

Speculation that Love had done drugs while pregnant has circulated for years and was the subject of a lot of tension among her and Kurt's industry handlers. 

Love and Frances reunited in public for the first time in 5 years recently when on January 24 they hugged on the red carpetb at the Sundance Film Festival in Aspen, Colorado before the film's screening.


Read more about it all in HuffPo


Valentine's Day Style inspiration for you and Jr.

Valentine's Day is two weeks away! Are you dressing up your little one in red for school, dinner, or some other function for the holiday? Or how about for yourself. Will you be painting the town red with your significant other or spouse?

Have fun! We've got some style inspiration ideas for you to consider as you plan your outfit or your son or daughter, powered by our friends at Shopstyle:

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Thursday, January 29, 2015

35 blogs for new moms following a low carb lifestyle to lose weight

So I am on a low-carb kick these days as I try to drop a few sizes and get to fit into all these itty bitty sample size clothes these fashion designers offer up bloggers. Once upon a time I was a size 2. Okay, that might have been in high school and once in college, but I digress. So you all get the benefit of my research on low carb option. Here are 25 blogs Kenney Myers assembled and asked me to share with you all a while ago. So here ya go! Perfect if you just had a baby and are doing Atkins or Zone or some other low-carb diet to help you get back to pre-pregnancy size.

Good luck!

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Snooki & JWOWW give up reality TV to become fulltime stay-at-home moms

The Jersey Shore era has officially ended.

Next Wednesday will be the last episode of the spin off, Snooki & JWOWW, to the wildly popular MTV reality TV show which featured the some alcohol-induced, testosterone bucking and ratchet debauchery days and nights of a group of friends who vacationed on the New Jersey shore for summer vacation. The original show ran from 2009 to 2012 ending with the season Nicole "Snooki" Polizzi was pregnant. 

Jennifer "JWOWW" Farley penned a sweet note alerting her fans of the end on her blog:
The end of Snooki and JWOWW is near! As women, it’s all about our kids. We don’t care about getting our hair or makeup done. We’re basically stay-at-home moms. The “Snooki and JWoww” series finale airs next Wednesday where you will see Snooki and Jionni get married and our baby Meilani get christened. It’s the end of a big chapter of our lives and it’s bittersweet. I think both Snooki and I want our kids to grow up having normal lives and not be in front of the cameras 24/7. We did it as adults so we had a choice, it’s time we let them have that choice to. Just because we won’t be on your TV screens anymore doesn’t mean you won’t be hearing our honest and dirty rambles! You just have to stay tuned to see where we’ll be next! Can’t wait for the next chapter in our lives! XOXO
This show lasted only two seasons because it appears there's no ratings for breastfeeding moms. *snark*

I am actually that old that I remember when MTV used to just do specials in the summer following a few kids to the shore (not this group) for vacation and never imagined it would turn into a full-time show that will create stardom for its cast members. (Nicole has over 6 million followers on Twitter and JWOWW has close to 4 Million). At times, it was the highest rated show for the music network. 

Polizzi, who has two children, has gone on to pen a New York Times best seller and has a bunch of other lucrative entrepreneurial ventures.  Jennifer "JWOWW" Farley, too started a tanning lotion line and sells many products as well as appears on a variety of other reality TV shows on TV.

Among some of the other successful cast mates include Mike "The Situation" Sorrentino who has his own show on TVGN about his life and Paul "Pauly D" DelVecchio is a highly-paid and sought after DJ who has worked with 50 Cent to Britney Spears.

It was a fun ride. 

Time for full time mommyhood! What do you think of their decision?
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10 iPhone apps to help you manage your household expenses

In the world of mobile devices, few are as popular or as versatile as Apple’s powerful iPhone. Busy professionals have quickly learned just how useful an iPhone can be when it comes to streamlining business operations and tracking data, but it may come as a bit of a surprise to learn how much the iPhone in your pocket can do in terms of managing your personal life as well. These 10 apps are effective and valuable budget-management tools and can assist you in the often complicated business of tracking and keeping up with household expenses.
  1. Manilla – Chosen as a Top 100 Web Business by PC Magazine and’s App of the Week, the free Bills & Account Manager app from Manilla helps you monitor your bills, statements and notices so that you can keep up with exactly how much money you’re spending in each area. As an added bonus, you can also set up text or email message alerts to let you know when a bill is due to help you avoid further damage to your finances with late fees and penalties.
  2. Expenses and Income – CashTrails Lite – The free Lite version of CashTrails lets you track both what’s coming in and what’s going out, as well as log your daily expenses to help determine exactly how much money is spent on incidental purchases. Group filtering to separate your regular expenses from those of a professional nature or special vacation spending allows you to compartmentalize your budget and organize your entries in a way that makes most sense to you.
  3. Spending – The simple name of this $2.99 app is an indication of exactly what you can expect from it; an app that is no frills, no fuss and directly to the point. Spending helps you keep up with how much money you spend, track your expenses and manage your accounts quickly and easily. There are no extraneous features and no superfluous commands or complications, leaving this app beautifully easy to use and free of frustration.
  4. iSpending – With this free app you can set up separate categories to compartmentalize and track your expenses in a more detailed fashion, while still keeping an eye on the big financial picture. Daily, weekly, monthly and annual summaries are displayed on the home page, allowing you to access budget and expense information at a glance.
  5. Pageonce – Money & Bills – Part of managing your household budget and tracking expenses is making sure that you stay current with all of your bills. That’s where this free app comes in handy, allowing you to keep up with and even pay all of your bills with just a few taps of the screen. Called the “Cadillac of money management apps” by CNN Money and chosen as an iTunes Staff Favorite, Pageonce is a valuable expense tracking tool.
  6. iXpenseIt Lite – Tracking daily and monthly expenses is fast and simple with the free Lite version of the paid iXpenseIt app, which is more than powerful enough to easily keep up with household budgeting. CNN Money Magazine calls iXpenseIt Lite one of the “Best iPhone Apps” and LAPTOP Magazine rates it among the 50 Most Useful iPhone Apps.
  7. Expensify – While this free app is designed for business travelers, you can still keep up with your daily household expenses by using Expensify. You can even generate full PDF copies of your household expense reports for later review!
  8. Checkbook HD Free – Once upon a time, household expense tracking and management was accomplished by keeping an up-to-date and accurate checkbook register. As paper checks become less and less common, this free app simulates the experience to help you keep up with your bills the old fashioned way.
  9. Bills Monitor Free – With this free app, you can review upcoming expenses through the calendar view or specific categories, keeping up with what’s going out at any given time. If you’d like to keep your household expenses and budgeting information hidden from prying eyes, there’s also a password-protect function.
  10. Smart Budget – Free, straightforward and easy to use, Smart Budget allows 30 trial transactions before requiring an upgrade to the full version, giving you plenty of time to decide whether or not this expense management and household budgeting tool is for you. Should you choose to upgrade, it can be quickly and easily handled with in-app purchasing.
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Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Molly Sims' Red Carpet Maternity Fashion

Yup, I think I've said this before but Molly Sims definitely is having the most awesomest fashionable pregnancy this go-round.

I love loved this actress, author and former model's long black strapless Lela Rose ball gown she wore last November 2014 while attending the 2014 Baby2Baby Gala presented by Tiffany & Co held at The Book Bindery  in Culver City, Cali. So elegant and flawless.  She wore shoes by Alaia and Norman Silverman jewels to accent this fab look.

But the avante garde break out moment came a month prior when she attended ELLE magazine's 21st Annual Women In Hollywood event at the Four Seasons Hotel in Los Angeles. It was cool to experiment with the crop top look while preggers.

The pull-back pony was the perfect hair to fit with the simple black wrap dress she wore while attending the Annie for Target launch event at Stage 37 in Nor York City in October.

Then while sticking with a mainly black palette, she went va va glam with a bump-hugging sequins evening dress on the red carpet to the amFAR LA Inspiration Gala in LA on October 29. The retro-waves glam hair swept to one side was to-die for!

Finally, and most recently, she departed from black and went the polar opposite in a bright yellow Lisa Perry dress with jeweled ethnic embroidered trip to the 72 Annual Golden Glow Awards Post-Party  at The Beverly Hilton Hotel earlier this month.

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Dad asks CA to ban non-immunized kids from sick son's school

A California man who has a son with leukemia is demanding the state ban children who are not immunized from his child's school.

Carl Krawitt's 6-year old son Rhett has undergone a few rounds of chemotherapy and has not re-built his immunity yet sufficiently to get all of his immunizations. Until then, Krawitt has filed a request asking that the 7% of kids at his son's school, Reed Elementary in Tiburon, California be forbidden from attending school. That rate is higher than the 2.5% statewide that take up the state's option to skip immunization for personal and religious reasons. The San Francisco Bay area, generally, has some of the highest exemption rates in the state and nation.

Rhett requires "herd immunity" or others around him to all be immunized to protect him from coming down with communicable diseases like the measles.

"It's very emotional for me," Krawitt told NPR. "If you choose to not immunize your own child and your own child dies because they get measles, OK, that's your responsibility, that's your choice."

He added, "but if your child gets sick and gets my child sick and my child dies, then...your action has harmed my child."

Krawitt and his wife sent a letter asking the state "require immunization as a condition of attendance with the only exception being those who cannot medically be vaccinated."

So far, the superintendent said he is considering and monitoring the situation and health of students at the school.

The only thing, by the time a kid contracts measles which has had a recent outbreak in California, it may be too late for Krawitt's son.

What do you think? Fair or no?

h/t NPR
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Molly Sims covers 'Fit Pregnancy' Again, gives 2nd pregnancy insights

Actress, model and author Molly Sims covers the February edition of Fit Pregnancy.  She also covered the mag in 2012 when she was pregnant with her 2-year old son Brooks.

The mom-to-be gave some great insight to the life of the 2nd time pregnant woman in her cover interview.

She shared how this pregnancy has been easier even though she said she had morning sickness all day this round and only in the evening with her first. 

The author of the new Amazon bestelling book, "Everyday SupermodelMy Beauty, Fashion, and Wellness Secrets Made Simple" said she has learned "not to freak out over every single symptom," and to be more practical, adding "now I know exactly how many onesies I need when the baby arrives. I don't have the anxiety of being a first-time mom. Moreover, I know to wear my Spanx tights when I go out, and my T.E.D. compression hose when I fly to prevent blood clots."

She also realized that being too hung up on wanting to realize a baby plan is not realistic. 

"First, I had a velamentous cord insertion [when the umbilical cord inserts into the fetal membranes rather than the middle of the placenta, causing a higher risk of rupture]," said Sims, who is married to hubby Scott Stuber. "The doctor monitored me closely throughout the pregnancy, and I had a scheduled C-section to protect the cord, which was necessary, but disappointing. This time, I don't have the same condition, so I'm not opposed to a VBAC [vaginal birth after Cesarean]."

Imperfect can be perfect.

Read the entire interview at Fit Pregnancy  HERE or pick it up at newsstands!

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Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Trend Alert: How to do the Sheer Trend, Maternity style

The Fall 2014 sheer trend we saw on fashion runways is making its way onto the award season red carpet. Maternity wear designers are not getting left behind in the movement and have been updating their options to accommodate the trend as well.

If you are one of those moms-to-be who like to keep up with trends, you'll be happy to know there are options out there tailored to you too.

Here are a few items we found while scoping our partners at Shopstyle!

photo collage: lingerissimi/bellyitch
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Best Snow Day Announcement: 'School is Closed' set to Frozen's 'Let it Go' (VIDEO)

When our kids' school is out, we get an email or an automated call or perhaps we get the word watching the local news.

Moses Brown High School principal Matt Glendinning of Rhode Island took a creative and fun route by capturing the news in a hilariously funny YouTube video to the very popular Oscar-winning tune "Let it Go" from the blockbuster Disney animated film  Frozen. 

Too funny! Check it out: "School is Closed":

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