Loading...
Browsing Category

Tips

17 Nail Colors That Flatter Dark Skin

Dark skin women nail inspiration images are hard to come by.

Before you head to the nail salon or purchase a nail polish color, often times you want to see how it would look like completely on your skin tone. Obviously, you cannot uncap a sealed bottle and paint your nails in advance. Therefore, you either have to guess and hope it comes out fine or, alternatively, you search online for images of women with similar complexion that you have in the colors in the nail polish you’re interested in purchasing.

As a person with dark skin who loves to switch up her nail color, I’ve found it challenging to find images of women with darker skin tones on Pinterest and other visual search platforms that feature fashion inspos.

As such, I decided to curate some photos and feature myself in the nail color in consideration of other women out there like me who similarly struggle in this arena.

1. Mint green or aquamarine

Mint or Aquamarine is a cool attention grabbing color. This shade contrasts well against dark skin and stands out for sure. It’s one of my faves to rock especially on vacation or during the Spring when looking to switch up the wardrobe for warmer months.

2. White

You gotta love the stark contrast of white against dark skin. It stands out as much as mint green but is not as flamboyant a shade. White looks classic and can be worn in corporate and traditional work settings.

3. Brown

With brown being so close a color for brown people or deeply tan and olive complexioned people, it makes sense that this hue complements well with their skin. This axiom is true for light brown to darker brown shades of this nail color. All aspects of the spectrum work!

4. Green

Dark green is also a complementary color to deep tan and brown skin so you cannot go wrong painting your toe and fingernails in this shade. It’s a wonderful tone for the Fall  and Winter months for those who live in seasonal climates.

5. Yellow

Sunny yellow can brighten the mood. It’s a bold color that is so vibrant it will steal all the attention. It may be too bold for conservative settings but for anyone who wants to mix up their style and elevate their fashion level, this is the perfect pick!

6. Grey

Grey is a natural and neutral shade that is still dynamic albeit in a very subtle yet classic way.  Grey also complements any skin color from pasty white to blue black. All complexions work well with grey.

 

7. Burgundy

Another earthy warm tone is wine, magenta or burgundy. This hue is beautiful and classically attractive and is a good shade for work and formal events. They work on short, medium or long nails.

8. Blue

I love the stark complement of a dark blue nail polish against the rich hue of melanin enriched skun. Whether your nails are long or short, this color is a beautiful shade for modern women.

9. Gold

You can wear a metallic gold or a softer matte or muted version of gold  and know you will look polished and well put together. Gold is an understated shade but can be ornate at the same time.

10. Turquoise

I love this shade of blue because it always turns heads. It makes me happy and lets the world know you’re upbeat and ready to capture the day. Okay, maybe that is overstating things a bit but turquoise is a wonderful color.

11. Pink

A traditional feminine color is pink and out of all colors, I think this hue of nail polish is the most vibrant for dark or very tan skin colors. You can match your make up easily in pink. Whether baby pink or hot pink or blush pink, try it in every shade.



12. Indigo

This is close to blue and purple and for that reason is  very fun shade of nail polish. In Autumn, indigo nails go well with your warm scarves, layers and boots weather.

13. Orange

Orange is another warm tone that I love. You can try lighter shades like Sherbet or mid range orange in Tangerine or super bright Neon orange. All shades complement well with melanin rich skin.

14. Red

When I think of Winter, I think of candy apple red nail polish. This color looks great on any complexion and especially on highly melanated skin!

15. Peach



Peach is a lovely Summer color. It’s light and airy and complements darker hued inviduals perectly!

16. Neon Green

This exotic color looks great on dark complexions. It is so outrageous on anyone so don’t be afraid to be confident and go brave in this!

 

17. Nude
A clear top coat or a very pale pink that resembles the nail bed flatters all shades and colors.

There you go! Go brave or go natural! Have it your way, ladies!

Get Family Organized for the New School Year and All Year

Life will be so much easier this school year of distant learning and continued remote working if families get and dremain organized. I co-sign all of these tips from guest blogger Marty Basher, design expert with Modular Closets,https://www.modularclosets.com who explains how to get the entire family involved.

There’s nothing that promotes family unity more than both parents and kids sharing in household responsibilities. While it depends on the age and stage of the kids, here are a few tips that can help children learn to be more independent in their everyday lives while contributing to daily tasks.

Set expectations.

  • Even small children can learn to follow routines and do their ‘chores’. If anything, most kids thrive on a little routine. Figure out what they can manage in terms of household tasks, for their age, and set up a chart so they have a visual reminder. You can apply a rewards system for the reluctant helper, but ultimately, the goal is to get kids to understand that being part of a family means contributing to its well being.

Establish routines.

  • Getting kids to start to do the things you need them to do everyday is largely a matter of habit. If they get into the habit of hanging up their bookbags and coats when they walk in the door, rather than dumping them on the floor, over time you will have to remind them less and less until one day, they’re doing it all on their own! The key to that is adding some organization to the madness, which is addressed in the next point!
  • Some other routines that make a difference include: picking out clothes, making lunches and packing school bags the night before; putting all soiled clothes in a hamper; emptying out lunch bags in the kitchen and placing dirty cutlery or containers in the sink; putting all school related materials that you are meant to see in a designated ‘inbox’. By having designated spaces for items—hooks for hats and baskets for mittens in the entryway, for example—you can establish routines for ensuring that items get put away properly, rather than tossed willy nilly all over the house.

laundry detergent

Get organized.

  • In order to establish routines, it helps to be a little more organized so that everything that comes into the house has a home, and everyone in the house knows where to put things. An example that plagues many families: sports gear. If you have a designated storage space for each child—hooks, shelves, or even bins—to put sports bags and a laundry basket for soiled gear, all cleaned items can be returned to the appropriate storage area, so that they are always at the ready to be packed for practice. This all depends on how much space you have to work with, but a full closet isn’t always necessary: you could carve out a section of space in a mud room to accomplish the same thing. The key is that there is a designated spot for these items and everyone knows where that space is.

Establish a family center.

  • If you don’t want your kids asking what’s for lunch, or can you buy XYZ, or what’s for dinner, all the time, it’s a good idea to establish a family center. This is a spot, in the kitchen for example, where there is a board that shows everyone what’s going on in the family. I can include chore charts, a schedule of activities and appointments (monthly), a menu plan, a shopping list, as well as baskets for individuals to place important information, like school forms (see the point above on the ‘inbox’)! This way everyone has access to the information about who is where, who is doing what and what’s for dinner!
  • Speaking of organizing, playrooms and kids bedrooms can be a minefield, but you can make it easier for them to stay a little bit more organized, in age appropriate ways:
    • For small children, plastic bins with photos of what goes into each taped to the front makes it a lot easier for them to help with tidying the playroom. One for LEGO, one for dolls, one for trains… you get the “picture”!
    • Make sure that their closets are useful for their age. For example, having some hooks and baskets at a low level for a small child enables them to hang up their hat and put away their stuffies, while you put away items on hangers or in drawers. As they get older and taller, they can take over more and more of these tasks, getting into a solid habit of putting things away, rather than leaving them on the floor.

laundry detergent

    • A hammock in the corner makes a great stuffie holder and is easy for kids to see their ‘friends’ but keep them tidy. Another option is a hanging sweater organizer in the closet: for all the extras! Clear plastic shoe organizers that hang on the back of the door make use of a little used space, but are perfect for older kids and their collectibles, card collections, or even their supply of nail polish.

laundry detergent

    • Older children need aworkspace for schoolwork, as well as the supplies that go with that, so whether that’s in their bedroom, or in a den with a desk, make sure that each child has a way to store their materials, marked papers and so on. A shelf in a closet with a basket of their own makes perfect sense for this. Another great option is a rolling file folder / drawer unit, which they can move out of the way when it’s not in use.

      [COPY THESE HOMEWORK STATIONS]

    • Get into the habit of doing a seasonal switch, where out of season clothes are sorted (piles for those that need to be cleaned, repaired, handed down or tossed out) and the ones that are being kept or handed down get moved to a storage area—a closet in the basement or garage works well for this—so that only the items that are immediately useful are occupying space in the kid’s closet. It’s much easier to put things away if there is space to do so!
    • Finding furniture that serves double duty is a good way to maximize your storage.

laundry detergent

For example, a bench to sit on that also is a storage unit under the lid is perfect for toys that get less use, extra blankets or other things that you want to keep handy. Having these in other parts of the house also makes it easier for kids to get used to putting their things away in communal spaces. That way, the family living room doesn’t look like a toy store blew up in it at all times!

Good luck, parents!

Celebrate Baby’s First Birthday Gluten Free with These Options

Yesterday was my birthday so I thought I’d reshare this old post for those new moms out here who are already preparing for their baby’s first birthday and want to have a gluten-free option. Enjoy!

I was in my generic chain local drug store the other day on a hunt for vegan snack options and bumped into an entire section filled with paleo, whole 30, keto, vegan, GMO and gluten free options. The fact that many conventional stores are accommodating people with varying dietary restrictions made me smile.

I am always sad for kids who cannot partake in birthday celebrations at school because of a peanut or gluten allergy and because of innovation in foods, they have more option.

Whether you’re going for custom cakes at your local grocers, a large heavily discounted Costco or BJs wholesale market cake, or a specialty baker, you can now request these larger outlets create a yummy cake without the offending items!

Parents may have a challenging time finding alternatives to the traditional birthday cake for a child who is gluten intolerant. However, with some creativity, a sense of adventure in baking, or a willingness to try the unusual, it doesn’t need to be a challenge at all.

Here are some fun alternatives that kids are sure to enjoy.

Chocolate Mousse

For the chocolate lovers, serving chocolate mousse in cute little dessert dishes with sprinkles on top is just the ticket. Use candle numbers and secure them to the serving plate. Arrange the individual dishes around the candles.

Ice cream parfaits with gluten free cookies

Using parfait glasses or clear dessert dishes, layer different flavors of gluten free ice cream on top of each other. You can add fruit and/or nut layers for even more variety. Add a candle for the birthday child and you’re all set.

Sundaes

Set up a table with all the fixings for sundaes and let the kids build their own. For birthday flair, you could bring out the ice cream bucket with candles lit and sing birthday greetings to the lucky child. Make sure that the ice cream you choose is gluten free. Some ice cream products do contain gluten, but that information should be listed on the container.

Chocolate fountain

Kids and adults alike love chocolate fountains. You can use fruit, marshmallows and gluten free cake squares for dipping. When deciding what type of chocolate to use for the fountain, check to make sure it is gluten free. Chocolate is gluten free, but some companies use additives that include gluten.

If the information is not on the package you can go to the company’s website to find out whether or not the product contains gluten.

Shaved Ice

Party on a hot day? Serve shaved ice in a variety of flavors. Kids love shaved ice, and on a blazing summer day it’s the perfect birthday treat. You can get creative and make rainbow ices by putting different color syrups on the ice. You can also use two colors to make three by using colors that mix; for example, use yellow and red on each side and an orange strip will appear down the middle where the syrups meet.

Garnish servings with gluten free cookies.

Chocolate covered fruit

If you don’t want to go the route of the chocolate fountain, you can get or make chocolate covered fruit. Strawberries and pineapple are perfect for dipping. You can purchase readymade treats or you can do it yourself. If neither of those appeal to you, consider using a fondue pot and let the kids dip their own fruit in the chocolate.

Gluten free Peter Rabbit carrot cupcakes

A Peter Rabbit themed party is perfect for spring or for kids who love Beatrix Potter. For something a little different, try making these cute gluten free cup cakes.

laundry detergent

Crispy rice cake

Rice Krispie Treats are a long time favorite of kids, and now Kellogg makes a brown rice gluten free product for those who have allergies. This product is also Kosher. Making the marshmallow treat in a cake shape and adding frosting makes a nice alternative to the traditional birthday cake. Erewhon also offers a gluten free brown rice crispy cereal that is available at Whole Foods.

laundry detergent

Cupcake tree

If you have a good gluten free cake recipe, you can make cupcakes and arrange them on tiered serving plates. Some moms make regular and gluten free varieties and place designs on each to signify the difference.

laundry detergent

Gluten free pound cake

If you really need a cake and it has to be gluten free, there is a great pound cake recipe at cookingglutenfree.com. This recipe includes instructions for making the cake and a recipe for making gluten free flour substitute.

Birthday cake alternatives are becoming popular for all kinds of reasons. From ice cream cakes to birthday pies, the list of alternative desserts continues to grow. If you have a child that’s gluten free, these 10 options will ensure that he still has a birthday filled with treats, despite being gluten intolerant.

Do Pandemic Mental Health Checks With Your Teens in These 8 Ways

A new study says the COVID pandemic is taking a toll on our collective mental health.

Per NPR:

Nearly a quarter of people in the United States are experiencing symptoms of depression, according to a study published Wednesday. That’s nearly three times the number before the COVID-19 pandemic began.

And those with a lower income, smaller savings and people severely affected by the pandemic — either through a job loss, for example, or by the death of a loved one — are more likely to be bearing the burden of these symptoms.

When a population experiences something traumatic, such as a pandemic or a natural disaster, researchers usually expect a rise in mental illnesses in the weeks and months following the event.

But the mental health toll of the coronavirus pandemic seems to be far greater than previous mass traumas, says Catherine Ettman, a doctoral student in public health at Brown University and an author of the study, which was published in the current issue of the American Medical Association journal JAMA Network Open.

The impact for teens can be devastating.

Suicide is the second-leading cause of death among teens, but experts are fearing the worst as young adults prepare to face unknown challenges that the return of school may bring – from coping with varying curricula, stressing over grades, and continued social isolation from friends and trusted teachers.

In Raising Global Teens, Dr. Anisha Abraham analyzes key subjects facing today’s teens, in the context of our modern, mobile world. Dr. Abraham shares some real-world examples with practical solutions, drawing on her latest research and personal experiences to help teens thrive in school despite COVID-19 and the eradication of their daily lives.

Some  points from the book include:

1.  Stop Comparing – Remind your teens that no one is perfect. Everyone is “uneven”, meaning they excel in some areas, but not others, and that is OK.

2. Time Management – Encourage your teen to set goals, prioritize tasks, break large assignments into smaller steps, work for designated time periods and take  breaks, and use a reminder system for deadlines.

3. Unwinding – Make sure your teen is taking time to fill their “anti-stress toolbox” with healthy ways to unwind. This could be as simple as talking to trusted friends or watching a funny show.

4. Mind & Body Care – Ensure your teen is getting adequate sleep, eating well, and exercising to regulate mood and energy levels.

5.Resilience – Support your teen during these times of uncertainty and  help them to build resilience and get “bounce”

6. Conversations – Have important conversations with teens about challenging topics such as pubertal changes, sexting, vaping, planning for the future and more

7. Signs of Depression & Suicide Risk – Understand warning signs which include: mood swings, withdrawal, poor sleeping or appetite, trouble with memory and concentration, talking or writing about suicide, and giving away belongings.

8. Get Help and Support. Know when and where to get professional support  if you believe your teen is depressed or suicidal. Each city, county, state and community have resources, some free, some paid that are available. Don’t wait too long. Do some research online and get help sooner than later. It could mean the difference between life and death.

Mental health is a serious thing to consider especially in this pandemic era. Consider these tips and purchasing Dr. Abraham’s book at Amazon here!

We are all in this together.

Back to School: How to Help Your Child Manage Bullying

Kids dread returning to school for a number of reasons.

Some kids worry about returning to school out of fear for facing their bullies, not being included in activities or social groups, or both. But what can parents do to help kids build mental strength, reduce anxiety, and avoid bullies and social distress?

Best-selling author, family therapist, TEDx speaker and Psychotherapist Jodi Aman, LCSW, has a few tips on how to help their kids navigate these onerous social experiences to mitigate their negative impact.

Here’s Jodi’s top tips to help parents prepare for their children returning to school when faced with anxiety and bullying:

  1. Go over some bullying scenarios with your kids and make them come up with ways to respond to each one. This brainstorming will open their problem-solving mind so when they are in a situation they will trust themselves and be able to think their way out, rather than freezing or doing something unsafe. Remind them where to go for help at school and that they can always talk to you when they get home.

 

  1. Let them know why kids bully. Just saying that “they are jealous” isn’t enough to understand why someone might be jealous. Explain that miserable people are mean because they don’t like themselves. Go over examples from TV or movies so they understand this concept. This will help them not take the mean comments into their hearts.

 

  1. Some friend groups have cultures of drama and this may not be the best place for your child’s tender heart. If your kid is being excluded have them use their noticing skills to find the nice kids. They are always there and may be just the friend group your child is looking for.
  1. Ask your kids about helping their friends when they are bullied. Do they stand up to them? Do they check in with them? Make sure you go over these options for how not to be a bystander.

The bottom line is to be active! Good luck, parents!

Tips for Balancing Remote Work and Full-Time Parenting During COVID-19

balancing parenting and working

By: Sheyla Scaffo, People Experience Associate & Executive Business Administrator at Bunny Studio

Many parents are currently navigating an entirely new normal: Working from home while taking care of their kids full-time. As school picks back up and many kids remain at home for remote learning, figuring out how to balance their schedule and a full-time job sometimes feels totally unmanageable.

Most parents have had experience working remotely in one-off, unplanned situations. However, working at home day in and day out for the foreseeable future while also caring for (and in some cases, teaching) kids at home proves to be a major struggle without careful planning where needed and flexibility when possible.

Read on to learn how to create better routines and habits that can help parents maintain a healthy work-life integration:

1. When possible, keep things flexible

This is often easier said than done. However, when you do have the ability, consider getting creative with your work schedule to base your hours around your kids’ schedules. Giving yourself the flexibility to work differently during this time is crucial to maintaining work-life balance.

This can work in a variety of ways. For example, if you’re an early morning person or a night owl, or you are used to commuting a long way, consider working on projects during these times when kids are usually sleeping. Of course, there will always be vital tasks and meetings that require collaboration with your colleagues during regular work hours, but finding ways to give yourself time for small breaks during the day will help you and your kids stay on track.

2. Establish a kid-free zone

There will be times when you need to hunker down and complete work items free from distractions, which is why it is important to establish an area of the house where you can separate yourself from your family.

Not only is it important for this space to be free from other people, but it also needs to be free from other distractions such as dirty laundry and other messes. Keeping the area clean and organized will keep you from wanting to disengage from work to complete other tasks.

3. Clearly communicate with your family

If you have a partner who is also working from home and sharing kid duties with you, it is crucial to communicate the times you can and cannot help out during the day. Setting these expectations will allow for a much smoother daily routine.

It is also important to communicate with your children if they are old enough. Set expectations for when there will be breaks in your day that you can check-in, whether it be a quick snack break, lunch, or even hourly check-ins.

4. Utilize special toys and screen time during work hours

Set aside designated toys and other gadgets, as well as movies or TV shows, to be used when you need to focus-in during the day. This will give your kids something to look forward to and will allow for some distraction-free work time.

 

5. Don’t overwork

During this time, it can be easy to feel like we need to push ourselves to work extra hours, but the reality is that taking the time to unplug and reset each day is critical to success as a parent and an employee.

With schools and offices closed, parents are likely finding themselves faced with a to-do list that has only grown. Although many of us have now had a few months to settle into fully-remote work, that does not mean keeping up with distance-learning while figuring out the best way to accomplish your work has gotten any easier. Designing a schedule that fits your needs is easier said than done, but following the above tips should help ensure you are on the right track.

Should you find yourself out of work during this time, consider that there are other work options out there, such as freelance and contract work, that may help you meet your scheduling and finance needs. Freelancing is also a great source of supplemental income for people while they look for new full-time employment. Just make sure you choose the right platform to help you get the right kind of projects, such as Bunny Studio.

10 Behavorial Traits and Personality Quirks of First Born Children

mom and two children
mom and two children

Photo by Ketut Subiyanto from Pexels

A while ago,  a scientific research study found that first born children are usually smarter than their younger siblings. As a first born child myself, that news tickled me pink being a first born myself. I am a big believer in birth order playing a role in the development and personality of a child.

Genes definitely play a role, but researchers suggest that born-leaders are a real thing – and their success is not based on their teachers or peers but on their birth order.

First-borns

Per Vaalweekblad:

First-born children are 30 per cent more likely to become leaders such as CEOs or politicians. This is according to economists at the University of Texas-Austin and at Sweden’s Institute for Evaluation of Labour Market and Education Policy.

They found that first-borns are on average more emotionally stable, persistent, socially outgoing, willing to assume responsibility, and able to take initiative than later-borns.

Researchers say having more children means parents spend less time with each child which means the later ones generally have lower IQs. Parents also invest more time creating rules and being strict with the first child. As a result unique qualities develop that make them great leaders, such as intelligence, discipline and people management.

Well-known first-borns include Beyoncé, Emma Watson, Hillary Clinton, Richard Branson, J. K. Rowling, Kate Middleton, Oprah Winfrey and Winston Churchill.

These are 10 facts from our friends at Nanny.net about the effect of birth order on the eldest children, some of which may shed new light on behavioral quirks and personality traits of your firstborn.

  1. They’re More Reliable – First born children are often expected to look after younger siblings and take on a greater role of responsibility than children born into the family after them, and as a result they often grow into more reliable and dependable adults.
  2. They Tend to Be Higher Achievers – Almost half of all United States presidents have, to date, been first born in their families. In contrast, only four have been last born children. High achievers tend to be eldest children, who place a higher value on achievement and success than their younger siblings.
  3. They’re Natural Leaders – When a child is born first, she’s generally something of an authority figure over her younger siblings. That dominance often becomes a hardwired personality trait, which leaves them more likely to find themselves in positions of leadership in the adult world.
  4. They’re More Likely to be Perfectionists – Unlike younger siblings, who tend to have a more relaxed approach to life, first born children are more likely to be perfectionists, often setting almost impossibly high goals for themselves.

    Photo by Viajero from Pexels

  5. They’re Not as Likely to Rebel – Alfred Adler, the father of the birth order psychology movement, asserted that older children often feel “dethroned” by new babies in the household and, as such, may be more likely to actively seek the approval of their parents and the other adults in their lives. In many cases, this drive to please continues throughout adulthood and they’re less likely to be rebellious as teenagers.
  6. They Benefit from Teaching Younger Siblings – When firstborns teach their younger siblings new skills or information, they’re benefiting from what’s known as “the tutor effect.” That’s one of the reasons why firstborn kids tend to be higher academic achievers and to pursue intellectual careers as adults.
  7. They Care More About What People Think of Them – Free-spirited people who aren’t concerned with what society as a whole or even the people closest to them think about their choices tend to be younger siblings, as firstborns generally have a very real drive to be people pleasers.
  8. They Value Organization and Order – Firstborns are more likely to be list-makers, organizers and to bring order to their surroundings than their more haphazard, disorganized counterparts who are lower in birth order.

    Photo by Aa Dil from Pexels

  9. They’re Self-Motivated – Because of their desire to please and determination to succeed, older kids tend to be more self-motivated than their younger siblings and to require less encouragement to work towards the goals they’ve set for themselves.
  10. They’re Individuals – There are more studies on the subject of birth order than one could shake a stick at, but one thing that holds true across the board is that there’s more at play than simple birth order when it comes to determining a child’s personality. Genetics, for instance, will have some role in the habits and methods of a person’s behavior, as will environment and other important factors. Knowing a bit about the typical firstborn pattern is helpful, but be careful not to box your child in with expectations that may not hold true in her particular case.

Sporty Mom’s Guide to Chic Diaper Backpacks Dads Can Carry Too

Parker Baby Co changing pad

Diaper bags are traditionally feminine and come in nice pretty pastels.

They’re often offered in floral prints and some have cute geometric shapes and target moms who prefer soft aesthetics in accessories. This targeting leaves  out the outdoorsy, on-the-go, sporty type moms.

The yoga mom or mom who enjoys running and hiking for fun may be less inclined to purchase bags with soft color palettes.

Similarly, I think those former rocker girl or hip hop loving dame turned mom may prefer a bag that is functional and in darker shades. They may also perfer gender neutral designs.

The solution for me when I was starting my family was to invest in a black leather diaper bag by Coach which had a neutral design but lots of structure. I also invested in a cross body bag.

The benefits of having a non-gender specific styled baby diaper bag is that dad can pick it up and cart it with him when collecting the baby from her grandma’s house.

A diaper back pack is the ultimate compromise between bags that have to be carried over one shoulder and that mimic a handbag and a cross the chest messenger bag which is a style common in men’s bags.

Finally, when it comes to color, you cannot go wrong with black.

Black is stylish, sleek and matches everything. It’s a fave of moministas amongst and stains are hard to spot on black items.

When you add all of these characteristics together, a few bags come percolate to the top of the list.

Here are three:

Obersee Diaper Bag

Obersee Diaper bag

The award-winning  Obersee Rio Diaper Backpack is top of mind.

This back pack is made by the same family-owned company which got its start selling leotards and gear for gymnasts. As you can see from the photo above, it targets the adventurous outdoorsy type family which prefers to keep hands free to actively participate in whatever action is around them.

 

Obersee diaper bag

The backpack has plenty of interior room and comes with a Baby Bottle Cooler and Changing Mat, Shoulder Baby Bag, Food Cooler, Clip to Stroller.

Overall, the diaper back pack gets great reviews for durability, quality of material and sturdiness of structure online.

Obersee diaper bag

There is plenty of space within the interior of this bag and atop is a mesh compartment that can be used to store a pacifier, stuffed animal or wash cloth that is airing out to dry and won’t soak the other items in the bag.

15% OFF Back to School Sale at Obersee.com! Hurry! Promo ends on August 20. CODE: SCHOOL1520. SHOP HERE

Obersee diaper bag changing pad

And for moms and dads who routinely go and explore off the beaten paths, there is an extra large changing pad.

You  can be spread it out when there is no available diaper changing station. The size of this pad is extraordinarily large.  Exploring outdoors, socially distant, is a great idea during this pandemic!

Obersee diaper bag inside

There is a separate compartment in the front that separates blankets, change of clothes and other items. This compartment soiled by spilled foor or drink. The bag has a metal ring that you can use to attach to the stroller and also has a top strap for grab and go functionality.

The best function of this bag is its detachable cooler. You can house baby bottles or snacks in it. The removable cooler comes in a variety of colors if you want to mix and match.

Obersee diaper bag features

Parker Baby Diaper Backpack

Parker Baby Birch Diaper Backpack

A second functional and stylish neutral diaper backpack bag is the Birch Bag Birch Bag by The Parker Baby Co.

This bad is super large and comes in a chic grey with tan trim,  silver hardware, insulated pockets, stroller straps and a good sized changing pad. I wish the changing pad was a little larger but is it sufficient.

mom changing baby with Parker Baby Birch Diaper Backpack changing pad

There are ten functional pockets including a “mommy pocket” with key ring, insulated pockets, a laptop/tablet sleeve, changing pad (included) and more. The convenient stroller hooks allow you to connect it to your stroller while you get out for some fresh air after being cooped up inside the house too long.

Parker Baby Birch Diaper Backpack mom and baby

This bag is also made with a neutral design and for the modern mom and dad in mind. The Parker Baby Co is a family-owned business headed by parents of twin girls, a toddler and a sweet baby boy, which claims to “strive for simplification” when designing products. It gets mainly 4 to 5 star reviews on Amazon.

Parker Baby Birch Diaper Backpack dad

Hap Tim Diaper Bag Backpack

Hap Trim Diaper bag

The Hap Tim Diaper bag is a less costly alternative to the previous two which has upper mid price range. This is also cloth bag but is made for the rugged outdoorsy family who don’t mind being out in inclement weather. The bag is waterproof! It wicks moisture in light rain.

As with the other two pags, the shoulder pads on this bag are padded and extra wide for ergonomical comfort.  It also has plenty of space and compartments inside to chuck all the various things you have to carte along when you take baby out!

This bag also boasts a double design, meaning there is a separate section made to be removable. It can store items as well similar to the Obersee.  The bag is very large and spacious even without the front compartment.

It is also has 18 pockets that you can easily organize all the different things you schlep on trips short and long: your keys, mobile phone, laptop, bottles, change of clothes, burp cloths, receiving blankets, and more.

 

Finally, for the fan of designer bags, you have the Herschel Settlement Sprout backpack. This sleek yet highly functional back pack features integrated storage for diapers, wipes and toys, with an easy-access folding changing mat that stows in a custom compartment.

It is 17.5 inches deep so if you plan to take your laptop to the park or cafe (when the pandemic is over) you can securely fit it in this bag. It’s 100%woven fabric in the signature of this brand. This bad has large storage in the front pocket and external zippered side access to the changing mat when you don’t have two hands to manever the bag.

Because it is more of an adventure seeker backpag, it has a waterbottle pocket and a mesh container for yoru accessories.

buy from herschel

 

I also like this non diaper bag version that is sold at Smallable.

smallable herschel

There you have it! I hope this review was helpful to you and even if you don’t invest in one of these three bags, I hope this post gives you some ideas on what to look for when shopping for your sporty chic diaper back pack!

Good luck, parents and parents-to-be!

College Dorm Essentials and Quarantine ‘Go Bag’ Packing List

Update: According to the New York Times, “coronavirus is already spreading through colleges and universities at a frightening pace — and some of the biggest clusters have been at sororities, fraternities and off-campus parties.” As of September 6, 2020, the paper has linked “at least 251 cases of the virus to fraternities and sororities across the country, including in Washington, North CarolinaBerkeley, Calif., and Oxford, Miss.”

Because of the coronavirus pandemic, sending a child off to college and shopping for dorm essentials is a little different this year for parents of first time freshmen and upperclassen too.

Although a lot of universities have decided to be “online only” this fall semester, many institutions are still having in-person and hybrid online and in person classes. My son’s school in upstate New York is one.

His college, along with others that have decided to welcome students to campus this year are telling parents and students to pack light and to bring just enough stuff to stay for 2-3 weeks in case there is an outbreak and they have to shut it all down right after classes start.

As a recent New York Times article noted, “[p]arents are discovering that, regardless of what guidelines are posted, policies are changing with new data and little notice almost daily.”

Yikes!

It’s not just about packing lighter than normal, it’s also changing the landscape of the college experience.

Schools are converting triples and quads into double and single occupancy rooms to decrease the density and crowding of dormitories. The move-in process is also changing. At my son’s school, they are only allowing one person to accompany a student at move in day. This decision means the entire extended family that planned to accompany us to send him off to college will have to simply wait in the car.

He had to take a COVID-19 test and quarantine for 14 days in advance of arriving on campus, subject himself to New York state contact tracers and conduct daily health check ins with his school’s app! Oy vey!!

These big changes also mean we parents now have to update, edit and toss aside those 200+ item college dorm shopping checklists we all researched, pinned and downloaded.

Likewise, readers of this blog can go ahead and ignore my tips for creating a lavish dorm room. You won’t be needing all that this year. You can go to Dormify if  you insist on making it super cozy and on getting accent elements but don’t get carried away with the matching window treatments, room accents, plush pillows, throw rugs and string lights.

So as far as the packing list goes, it’s safe to keep the usual must-have items on there: casual clothes, an interview, job fair or class presentation outfit, workout gear, PJs, fall and winter outerwear wear along with an umbrella.

However, there is no need to purchase and schlep along school supplies like binders, printer paper, pens and clip boards when your  kid can get that stuff at the local Walmart or Target after she moves in. I’d say skip the bed risers to make room under the bed to store supplies needed for an entire school year. Just get plastic collapsible storage bags and be done with it.

Also, I think to save space and time, there is no need to purchase a mini vacuum cleaner, broom and a bunch of cleaning supplies, and I say this not because your kid won’t clean, but this year, you can expect the college will have extra cleaning supplies on hand and will have a housekeeping staff there to do a thorough sweep through more regularly than before.

A bottle of disinfectant and paper towels or a reusable rag for dusting will do…oh and snacks. You can never send too much snacks!

This year, you have other things to focus on such as COVID-specific essentials like Vitamins,  disposable disinfectant wipes, hand sanitizers and UV light air purifier.

There is evidence that copper and silver reduce the life span of viruses and while most copper-infused gloves are not touch screen compatible, the GliderGloves Copper Infused Touch Screen Gloves are and are only $14.99 a pair! It can’t hurt and you never know!

Personally, to prepare to pack the car, I edited and adjusted the old college dorm checklists I’ve downloaded from Facebook parenting groups to just include the bare essentials and a Covid-19 quarantine essentials “Go” bag.

That’s the bag that has all a kid would need to be holed up in a hotel, a friend or family’s house for up to 14 days in case the college student tests positive for the coronavirus and needs to go to the hospital and later quarantine somewhere on campus or nearby, in case they are exposed to a roomate, suite mate, floormate or lab partner who contracts the disease and need to do a 14 day quarantine because of that exposure.

The other scenario is that the school decides to shut down altogether and you cannot collect your child in time and need to arrange for him to stay at a hotel or some other transition housing until you can make arrangements to bring them home.

Here is an abbreviated list of what should be on  this year’s Covid era dorm packing list:

LAPTOP

In lieu of a full desktop that some kids haul to campus, consider investing in a laptop which is more portable solution like this renewed Apple Macbook  Air with 128 gigs of ram at Amazon. My son is a computer science major and insists on taking the two monitor system he built in the 11th grade so we are traveling with that, but most people will not need to go that route.

 

ANTIMICROBIAL DESK PAD

Because we are in a season of trying to mininize germs and knowing that computer keyboards and mouse controllers are a common source for accumulating germs, an antimicrobial desk pad like this Artistic Rhinolin II Self-healing desk pad, available at Amazon may be a good thing to have.  I also found a less expensive one at Walmart.

 

PORTABLE AIR PURIFIER WITH UV LIGHT

There is some evidence that UVC light kills viruses, there is a thinking out there among some moms that it cannot hurt to invest in an air purifier that kills germs with UVC light  and  has that capability. I found a pluggable portable one that sanitizes, purifies and cleanses germs from the air for $39.99 made by Germ Guardian which has GREAT REVIEWS from asthmatics and others who’ve used this product! That’s a good size and price for a small room!

[SEE MY POST AND VIDEO REVIEWING THIS PORTABLE AIR PURIFIER]

BLUETOOH SPEAKER

A mini pill sound box is not just good for listening to music but also for connecting a phone or mobile device to it while listening or watching a class. Your student can multitask and get dressed for the morning, do some light cleaning or fold laundry without having to be at the desk watching. The Beats mini portable speaker is $126 on Amazon.

A much less expensive bluetooth speaker is the DOSS for just $27.99 which produces top quality sound and gets decent reviews.

 COFFEE MAKER

My kid doesn’t drink coffee but I heard great things about the Keurig K mini coffee machine which can be enivronmentally friendly if you opt to used the reusable filter and purchase coffee grounds! It’s a good price at $78 and comes with great reviews. Alternatively, for a cheaper and definitely eco friendly option, you can get a mini Mr. Coffee for just a little over $25!

 

POWER STRIP

 

You can never have too many power outlets so a power strip which is also a surge protector is a must have. We got a double pack at a steal for just $4.99 at Ikea!  Also, because of COVID , he may spend more time in his room than the computer lab.

 

Although the students in my kid’s school say they did not use the printer they took to college in previous years, this year may be different with reduced hours or with students wanting to limit their time spent in buildings and spaces that are not their rooms. Therefore, it may be worth it to invest in a small printer to print out paper assignments, or project elements.

I have a printer graveyard but the one that has been the best to us is the Canon PIXMA MG-2522. The ink cartridge replacement is significantly cheaper than for HP and other brands.

It’s a little loud but you get tons of ink jobs before it runs out and I predict your child will not need to replace ink all semester but if she does, you can sign up for the cartridge replacement plan which itself is really reasonable.

CLIP ON FAN

 

If your college student will be rooming with another person, it is inevitable that there will be some disagreements on the room temperature. If ever your kid gets too hot, having his/her own portable mini fan like this one is a good bet.

 

CLIP ON DESK LAMP

Similar to a small fan, a small light is needed for those nights when the roomate is napping or sleeping but your college kid still has an exam to study for. I got my son a clippable desk lamp that can be easily moved from his desk to a post on the bed. It was at Target for just $7!

FLOOR LAMP

Although I would think a floor lamp would be overkill, I like lots of light. Heavy illumination brightens my mood, gets me in the mindset to work and keeps me alert.

And I believe there is research to back up the fact that plenty of light energizes in addition to makes it easier to see what’s on a computer screen or inside a text book when working on a desk with a desk lamp.

Here is a chart with some data to back me up:

I plan to pick up this one above from Walmart.

UNDER BED STORAGE UNITS

In lieu of hard collapsible storage container that take up room, this year, opt instead for plastic underbed storage containers that are pliable and are maneuverable in a crowded mini van or SUV and takes up less space. Also, this year, skip the bed risers and stuff thse plastic and cloth storage container under the bed. The Onlyeasy foldable storage container comes in packs of 2. Fold and Carry the winter clothes in there and have your kid replace them with the August and early September clothes for the warmer months.

SHEETS SET

Send two sets of sheets: one that can be used while the other is in the laundry bag. I went with recommendations from blogger Sophia Lee and purchased the Mellani Bed Sheets  on Amazon.com.

MATTRESS TOPPER
Mattress topper dorm essentials list

My son’s school needs a specific kind of protectors that meets a very high California consumer board anti-flammable standard. One brand that works is sold at Target but is always sold out there so we lucked out and got one from Walmart.

COMFORTER

A plush and cozy comforter is a must have for having a full rest before class. I lucked out and got a steal on a nice comfy reversible grey Brookside Downs comforer at Overstock.com.

BLANKET

Blanket College Dorm Essential Packing List

For studying in the student lounge at the desk on chilly evenings, a blanket or throw is in order. This is also a good cover option for warmer months when a comforter may be too much coverage. We got a very soft one at Ikea this past weekend. They have other styles and materials and this one in other colors like pink and other feminine colors.

PILLOWS
Back Pillow College Dorm Essentials Packing

Any standard pillow would do but in addition, a back rest pillow is a must to lean up against those concrete dorm walls or while in the study lounge propped up against a wall or sofa.

We picked up the Therapedic back rest at Bed Bath and Beyond which is a bit pricey considering there are a lot of much much cheaper ones out there, but if you get it online after signing up for their newsletter, you can get it 20% off!

COMMAND STRIPS

For hanging up photos, white boards, mirrors and other heavy vanity items, the Command strips are a plus. A lot of dorms forbid hammering in nails so if you get a 7 pack of the command strips, you should be good to go! They’re about $5 at my local Target or if you don’t want to go into a store, order this pack of 7.

HANGERS

Hangers College Dorm Essentials Packing List

I got two sets of wooden hangers for at  Ikea  in packs of 8 and plan to pick up a couple packs of plastic ones at the Dollar Tree or Target.

DORM ROOM SLIPPERS

My son has always wanted a more manly pair of slippers so it was wonderful to see these Dockers slippers on sale at our local Sears for only $20.99.  I saw Joe Boxer brand had some for young women at $19.99 too while I was in there!



 

laundry detergent

This year, college kids may be in a position of having to be hospitalized, God forbid, and have a medical directive, also, some may need a passport or social security card for getting an on or off campus job to satisfy employer verification process.

Further, even though a lot of us use digital form of currency, in an emergency, having actual cash may be necessary. A small safe like this one disguised as a book is the best to store cash and valuable and high security documents.

TOWEL SET

BATHROOM TOWELS COLLEGE DORM ESSENTIALS PACKING LIST

We have not yet gotten our towels but I think I will get the set I saw at Sears when I was there picking up casual clothing for the kids. These are the softest around.

BATHROOM CADDY

My son has indicated that he would prefer not to use a shower caddy so, we got hin the Kusoofa Shower Caddy tote which doesn’t look like a traditional and more femine tote at Amazon.com because it got great reviews from travelers, gym goers and others.

SHOWER SHOES/FLIP FLOPS

shower shoes college dorm essentials packinglist

shower slippers college dorm essentials packing list

 An old pair of rubber flip flops or beach slipper syour kid already has will probably be enough to use for shower shoes. These are shoes you wear when using a community shower as they have in dormatories. If your child will be in a suite or apartment with a dedicated bath for just the unit habitants, this may not be necessessary.

Walmart sells a good low cost pair that gets great reviews for just $7.49! 

 

WATER PURIFIER

WATER PURIFIER COLLEGE DORM ESSENTIALS PACKING LIST

Save money on purchasing bottle water by getting a water purifier jug so your coed can just filler up out of the tap and put this in this in the fridge. A BPA-Free Brita Water filter goes for $34.99 on Amazon but you can find other brands for less at other big box retail stores.

PLASTIC DINNER SET

plastic plates cultery

A set of hard plastic bowls, plates, cups and cutlery is in order considering that your kid may be spending more time in his or her room consuming food than inside the dining halls especially if your child is immunodeficient and is being extra cautious about being inside enclosed places where it is easier to contract the novel coronavirus.

These are pretty cheap and in fact, Target has each piece for $.78 cents right now. If you want to get an entire matching set, 12 piece Cambridge dinner set sells on Amazon and is a Prime recommended product!

PRESCRIPTIONS
PILL BOX COLLEGE ESSENTIALS PACKING LIST
PILL BOX college dorm essentials packing list

Whether your child has prescriptions or just takes over the counter allergy medicines, vitamins and other pills for common ailments, get these all pre-ordered and enough for the year with insurance to save the hassle of transfering orders to a local pharmacy at your child’s college.

I make my kid fill up his in  Sunday-Saturday pill box us older folks use to keep track of all of our medicines. It’s not too embarrasing because it can stay in the dorm and they only get to be embarrassed by their roomate. This tool is great for travel and to be added to the quaranting Go bag!

I purchased the Apex twice a day pill box from Walmart! 

 

LAUNDRY BAG

laundry bag college dorm essentials packing list

Again, Ikea to the rescue! I considered getting a collapsible laundry bag or basket and then saw mention of a laundry backpack in a parenting book.

I saw one promoted on Amazon for $15 but then at Ikea spotted a backpack that is 8 gallons and would work!

 

LAUNDRY SHEETS OR PODS
laundry detergent sheets college dorm essentials packing list
laundry detergent


Instead of heavy bottles, the wisdom from current college students is to go with the detergent pods or detergent sheets.

A popular brand is Breezeo and 48 sheets sell for under $9 on Amazon. They are light and easier to carry and store. Your kid just pops a sheet on top of a  load and can go and they are less likely to destroy clothes the way pods can for kids who never ever do their own laundry and might not know what the heck to do!

DOWNLOAD A PRINTABLE VERSION OF THIS PACKING LIST HERE!

It’s a different world out there and this year, a pre-packed bag is needed that can be picked up in a hurry in case a kid tests positive and cannot return to the dorm. He or she can simply tell his or her roomate to grab the grey Nike bag in the closet, for example.

This bag is a headache saver. No need to have them run around the room gathering stuff and rummaging through private stuff trying to fill up what’s needed.

Here is what needs to go in that bag:

DUFFEL BAG or BACK PACK

Start with a large duffel bag or backpack that is big enough to hold a few bulky items like clothes, a towel and a toiletries kit. I purchased an extra IKEA backpack that I got for him to use as  laundry bag but in another color for the go bag to avoid confustion.

FIRST AID KIT

A lot of parents say these kits are rarely if ever used but just like at home, they are a great thing to have and add a feeling of security knowing one is in the room. You don’t have to get a large one like this one at Amazon  because you can probably get a smaller kit at a brick and mortar store like Target or Walmart for less.

I would suggest taking out the excess first aid items and replacing small bottle of cold, cough and flu medicine, fever reducer, elderberry throat longezes and cough drops, Vick’s vapor rub,  a small thermometer.

PULSE OXIMETER

pulse ox

Sadly, if your kid does get the novel coronavirus, she may need to take her blood oxygen level and so a portable pulse oximeter is a good purchase to put in the bag for safety and security sake. The Zacurate Pro has the most positive user reviews on Amazon compared to other brands on the market so I will be putting my trust in other consumers here and hope for the best.

IMPORTANT DOCUMENTS

waterproof clasp envelope

Important documents (e.g., driver’s license or government ID, health insurance card or copy, social security card) – Keep these in a platic waterproof envelope or plastic envelope with a clasp like this one that you can get on Amazon for $8.70 for a pack of 3.

Face masks – 7-10 face masks, a mix of cloth and paper ones will do. We just ordered a set of  N95 replicas for $16.95 in a pack of 5 from Amazon and a pack of 50 masks we picked up from our local Target but which is also available on Amazon for $18.99.

Portable charger – Portable charge bank like this one at Amazon for $12.99

2 pill boxes -For prescriptions, pre-fill two weeks worth of medicine, vitamins and OTC drugs. See Above.

Hand sanitizers – A couple travel size containers and/or a large pump

Disinfectant Wipes – Inside a resealable package that is soft and pliable and can easily fit in a bag

Reusable Water Bottle – A water bottle with a filter would be plum. A Hydro Cell is $23.99

2 weeks worth of clothes – Think casual clothes, tee shirts, sweatshirt and shirt pants, maybe 3 outfits that can be recylced and don’t forget undergarments

Towels – A full set in case the one your kid has used in the morning is still hanging up to dry and they need a fresh one just for the go bag

TOILETRIES KIT

These travel kits can be purchased in drug stores, on Amazon pre-packaged or  you can create your own kit. This men’s bag is just $17.99 and includes everything in it. a A women’s version is a dollar less. 

Umbrella – a smaller portable umbrella is good to be put in the go bag.

Headphones – A separate less expensive back up pair of headphones your son or daughter may already ave at home or on hand can go in the bag as a back up.

Non Eletronic Entertainment – Coloring book, Soduku, magazine, novel or some other non electronic thing to distract or pass time.

DOWNLOAD A PRINTABLE VERSION OF THIS PACKING LIST HERE!

Don’t overpack.

What not to bring tips curated from Winds of Change:

• Decide about the “nice to haves” once you’ve lived there a while. Maybe you’ll realize it would good to have an area rug, a full-length mirror, or a closet organizer. But you don’t have to know everything ahead of time. Get settled in first.

• Avoid bringing hard-sided suitcases. They can be difficult to store and create clutter. Instead, opt for duffel bags or collapsible storage bags (and don’t forget under-the-bed storage).

• You don’t need a year’s worth of toiletries — they take up space too. Pack enough for a couple of weeks, then restock.

• Know how you’ll get stuff you don’t pack. Research nearby stores. Consider ordering items online and having them delivered. (Back-to-school merchandise often goes on sale after September). Budget to make a few purchases once you have your bearings.

• Have secure, clean, and cashless ways to pay for things. This means at least two options, whether credit or debit cards (which can be pre-paid), wallet apps, gift cards, or vouchers.

That’s it! Good luck and God speed to all of our children as we are indeed all in this together! Stay safe!





JJ Ghatt

4 Ways New Moms Can Bond With Their Newborns

When your first baby is born, you’re probably a bit nervous about bonding. Breastfeeding is one of the more obvious bonding experiences that comes to mind, but if you’re having difficulty with it, you might feel like a failure and even wonder if you’ll ever bond with your child.

It’s hard to look at this brand-new little person and imagine that not long from now, they’re going to be covering you in kisses and calling you Mommy!

The good news is, you’ll soon find that their universe revolves around you and that they love you very much, but here’s some tips for some fun activities you can do with your baby/toddler to strengthen that bond even more.

SKIN-TO-SKIN CONTACT

We all love cuddles, right? Of course, so does your baby! In particular, the feeling of your warm skin against theirs is very soothing and pleasant for a baby. This unfamiliar new world that they are in can feel pretty scary sometimes, and a nice relaxing skin-to-skin cuddle with mommy is a great way to calm them down when they’re frightened or upset.

Skin-to-skin cuddling of your baby also has benefits you may not have been aware of. According to the International Breastfeeding Centre, skin-to-skin contact helps to stabilize the baby’s body temperature, heart and breathing rates, and immediate skin-to-skin contact after birth will colonize the baby with the same bacteria as the mother, which is believed to prevent allergies.

READING TO YOUR BABY

You can start reading to a baby straightaway! It might feel a little bit silly to be reading to a newborn, but your baby has been listening to your voice while in the womb for a while now and already finds it soothing. It’s easier to get into the reading habit now than when they’re a 4-year old racing around the house, so start reading now for great rewards later.

The experience of reading has so much to teach babies: the tactile sensation of the pages, the sounds of the words, the visuals of the pictures, etc.

Reading to your child benefits their language development, as they get used to the sounds and words. It also helps the baby to learn about the things they will see in their daily life. Make sure you point to the pictures while you’re reading the story, i.e. if there’s a train in the story, point to the train as you say the word “train”.

You’d be surprised before they even start to speak how many vocabulary words they will have committed to memory this way. But beyond development, this is also a shared experience, and before long they’re going to be following you around the house with board books asking you to read to them!

continue reading