Toddler Travel Must-Have’s and Tips

Toddler Travel Must-Haves | The Organic Beauty Blog

Traveling with a toddler is definitely no picnic (sometimes even bordering on a downright horror show), but with some solid planning and the right gear, the experience can be somewhat enjoyable (or at least not harrowing). We’ve traveled a ton with our munchkin, pretty much since she was a few months old (for my tips on traveling with babies, check out Must-Have’s and Tips for Airplane Travel with Baby), and I feel like we have toddler travel down to a science by now.  Granted, every kid is different, but most toddlers need the same basic stuff to stay happy and engaged during a long flight — food, lots of fun activities, and yes, a screen (if you’re willing to go there).  Hopefully our extensive list of toddler travel tips and must-have’s will help you keep your little occupied and happy (not to mention healthy!), and will help keep YOU sane!

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Why I’m Embracing Minimalism This Holiday Season.. And Beyond

Embracing Minimalism This Holiday Season  |  The Organic Beauty BlogAnyone who knows me know that, at my core, I am anything but a minimalist.  Historically, I keep everything —  I have clothes, jewelry, notebooks, diaries, and trinkets dating as far back as elementary school.  I love stuff — I have stockpiles of unopened journals, stacks of books I’ve never read, and storage boxes full of trinkets, decorative items and pillow covers for seasonally swapping out.  I love to shop, I love presents, I love information, and I love options.  Needless to say, embracing minimalism does not come naturally to me.

But as I’ve gotten older (or, shall we say, more mature), and more tuned deeper into the wants and needs of my soul, I’ve begun to realize that not only does more stuff not lead to more happiness, but quite to the contrary, it leads to more anxiety, more distraction, and more physical and mental clutter.

Those of us with kids know that parenthood only exacerbates this phenomena.  Having children seems to mean an endless accumulation of clutter — physical, mental, emotional. I felt this keenly shortly after little M was born, and I slowly began the process of KonMari-ing my life (for the uninitiated, that is the Japanese art of decluttering your life and paring down your possessions to simply things that bring you joy.. It’s the best thing ever.  Even GOOP says so).  I’ve donated and sold mountains of clothes, books and jewelry that didn’t bring me joy; I’ve thrown away stacks of old papers and notebooks; I’ve allowed my (super minimalist) husband to throw away long-kept household items that were broken, old, or otherwise no longer useful.  It has felt great.  Liberating.  Clarifying.

But then the holidays roll around.  Between the shopping, wish list creating, decorating, cooking, and celebrating, it’s so easy to forget why less stuff equals more happiness, more calm, and a happier family.  So I am pausing my perusal of 12 Days of Deals on Amazon to remind myself (and hopefully inspire one or two of you!) of why I’m embracing minimalism, especially at this time of year.

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The Easiest, Prettiest Holiday Photos You’ve Ever Done

Minted Holiday Photo | The Organic Beauty Blog

Growing up, we were never a holiday photo card family.  With the exception of school photos, we never had any professional photos taken — as a Russian-Jewish family, it just wasn’t something that was done.  Secretly, I always envied our American family friends around the holidays — those adorable family photo cards that we received, with the little updates on the goings-on of the year just seemed like such a special way to celebrate family milestones and share holiday cheer with friends.

Now that we have our own little family, I finally have the opportunity to partake in this distinctly American holiday tradition, and every year since our little one was born, we’ve created our holiday cards with Minted. I love their beautiful designs, ranging from minimal and modern to traditional and glitzy; I love how easy the cards are to customize; and I especially love the awesome perks, like free address labeling and maintaining a digital address book.

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How to Have a Healthier Halloween.. and start to the holiday season


How to Have a Healthier Halloween | The Organic Beauty BlogHalloween marks the beginning of the holiday season — often a time of overindulgence, guilt, and then backlash come January.  This is a crappy cycle that I’m constantly working with my clients to break, but it’s a tough nut to crack, in part because it’s so deeply engrained in our culture. Here’s an interesting thought though, we can create the culture in our own families; we can literally create, right now, a paradigm of what our children know as “normal,” and we have a lot more control around it than we think.

We can’t shield our children from the big bad world of processed food, candy, and overindulgence, but we can 100% make healthier choices in our own homes that show our children an alternate path to what is essentially a two month food binge.

The kicker is that we have to make these choices for ourselves too.  We don’t want to be those parents that hide our kids Halloween candy and then eat it ourselves after they go to bed.  We’ve gotta practice what we preach, and that takes a general reframe around this fun, sugar-drenched holiday, and the holiday season in general.

Now we all have to decide where to draw the line and what works for our respective families, but here’s what I’m doing in our house to have a healthier halloween, and by extension, holiday season!

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Never Ask “What Do I Wear?” Again

Never Ask What Do I Wear Again | The Organic Beauty Blog

I don’t know about you, but picking out my outfit every day feels like a gigantic inconvenience, especially now that I’m a mom.  I totally understand why so many mamas default to their signature easy, comfy leggings and t-shirt combo — we just don’t have the brain power to dedicate to fashion right now.

But I, personally, am not content to just give up and go for the easy way out.  I want to look good, I want to feel good, and having a time/brain/emotion draining little human in tow is no excuse not to make it happen.

My solution for the last two years has been to shop.  I buy more and more stuff, thinking that just this one new addition to my wardrobe will freshen everything up and motivate me to look the way I want to feel.  But the reality is that now my closet is overflowing with clothes, and every morning, I’m still plagued with the eternal question: What do I wear?!??!  (Followed immediately by: “I have nothing to wear!”)

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How to Enjoy Stay-at-Home-Motherhood More

Enjoy Stay-at-Home Motherhood | The Organic BeautyFor the first year of motherhood, I was on cloud 9.  I loved this sh*t.  I felt like I was made for being a mama.  But life with a baby is verrrry different from life with a toddler.  I can’t just put little M into her carrier or stroller and spend the day out doing what I want to be doing anymore.  I don’t have the luxury of those two nice, long naps anymore, that afforded me to the opportunity to relax, get work done, and maintain some balance.

My little M is a full-fledged person now, with her own opinions and desires.  And though I still follow all of my 5 Secrets to Happier Motherhood, suddenly, as we approached a year and a half, they just weren’t enough.

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Motivation To Keep Breastfeeding, Even When It Sucks

Motivation to Keep Breastfeeding Even When It Sucks  |  The Organic Beauty Blog

Breastfeeding is one of those aspects of motherhood that you just expect to come naturally.  We’re mammals after all, right?  Do mama bears and lions really struggle with low supply, sore nipples, and mastitis? Obviously our animal counterparts are spared the emotional and lifestyle dramas and sacrifices that come with choosing to breastfeed their young — the stigma of feeding in public or breastfeeding a toddler, the limits on alcohol and potential dietary restrictions, the feeling of being totally tethered to your baby at all times (especially if, like mine, they have no interest in drinking pumped milk from any receptacle).  Even with those particularly human challenges aside, it just seems like it should be easier to do something our bodies were built to do.  But it isn’t.  At least not for many of us mamas.

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5 Minutes to Looking Put Together (even when you have no time)

5 Minutes to Looking Put Together | The Organic Beauty Blog

A mama recently posted in one of the many FB groups I’m in that she feels like it’s impossible to look and feel put together with a baby and a toddler around.  Though I only have one of those to contend with, I sometimes feel like little M is both a sweet, needy little baby and a willful, naysaying toddler all rolled into one — so I can relate.  As moms or otherwise busy ladies strapped for time in the morning (or EVER, for that matter), it can be super hard to make time for seemingly meaningless rituals like hair and makeup.  BUT, feeling schlumpy is a big cause of the lowered self-esteem, motivation and sex drive that can come with motherhood (or super mega busy ladyhood).

To that, I say “No way!”

Feeling put together can mean the difference between a confident, radiant, and joyful day-to-day, and one that is, well.. not.  The effects of this one seemingly meaningless act of self-care reverberate across all areas of your life.

But fear not! I am certainly not of the camp of women who always look polished and manicured, and I definitely don’t want you to feel that pressure (unless you’re one of those women, in which case, kudos to you!).  So I have perfected a super quick, low maintenance approach to looking more or less put together that leaves me feeling like a sexy lady and not a frumpy mom who may or may not still be in yesterday’s undies.

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The BEST Lactation Cookies Around


the-best-lactation-cookies-aroundI never thought that I would have to worry about milk supply with a one year old, but alas.  Little M turned 14 months and started nursing like an infant again (growth spurt? developmental leap? who knows!), and my boobs just can’t keep up!  I’ve been upping my lactogenic tinctures and eating more milk boosting foods in general (read my 6 Ways to Boost Milk Supply for details on both of those), but I needed a little extra oomph.  That’s where these delicious lactation cookies came in! Seriously, this recipe is the best one I’ve found, and I’ve searched far and wide.

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Mini-Meditations: Mom’s secret to getting through the toddler years

Mini-Meditations for Moms

Back in the day, when I was a freewheeling ladypreneur who set her own rules and schedule, before the baby, and nap time schedules, and play dates…  Back when all I had to do was take care of me, and I did a damn fine job of doing it….  Wayyyy back then, I had a lovely little meditation practice.  I would wake up, put on the tea pot, and sit on my meditation cushion in front of the floor to ceiling window in our Brooklyn apartment.  I had a little altar, with all the things I thought belonged there — a big ceramic buddha head, some candles and crystals, all the good stuff.  For 15-20 minutes, I would sit and focus on my breath or listen to a guided meditation.  I felt grounded and I felt good.

But that was oh so long ago.  Now, my daily schedule is dictated by an adorable, opinionated creature with needs of her own.  She wakes up in the ungodly hours between 6 and 7am, and so begins our daily adventure. During her naps, I cram in as much relaxation and self-care as I can, while still keeping myself fed, my business afloat, and my house in (relative) order.  Needless to say, that leaves little time for my meditation practice of yore, and that hasn’t been a big deal… until now.

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