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  • The Squeaky Clean Cheat Sheet

    From bath time to mealtime and everything in between, we all want to keep baby as safe as possible. But with deceiving labels and so many products out on the market, sometimes it’s not so easy to decipher what’s really safe for baby.

    Thanks to our friends at Well Rounded NY for this cheat sheet to refer to whenever you're shopping for anything going near baby's skin. 

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  • Plant-based Proteins for Pregnancy

    Four “low-steaks” ways to up your protein intake.

    Article & Photo Courtesy of Well Rounded NY

    We all know that eating adequate protein is important–not only for us but also for the growing baby.  In recent years, there has been a shift towards incorporating dietary plant protein consumption versus animal protein due to the nature of our food supply and food quality.

    One of the biggest reasons health professionals are advocating plant protein during pregnancy and also why concepts such as #meatlessmonday are gaining popularity is due to the fact that animal protein has to be cooked and thus denatured (food safety protocol) before consumption–therefore you’re not getting the total protein from the original piece of meat. Because food safety is especially important during pregnancy, it is important to cook thoroughly before consumption. In addition, it’s harder on the body to digest animal protein, which could cause discomfort during pregnancy since our GI system slows down as the pregnancy progresses. Therefore, increasing plant protein during pregnancy is encouraged!

    Believe it or not, plant protein sources are abundant.  The most common ones are legumes, nuts and seeds.  So If you’ve been following a vegetarian or vegan diet, have no fear! You could continue the dietary pattern healthfully during your pregnancy and here’s how:

    1. Incorporate legumes into your soups or baked dishes.  Consider chickpeas instead of lean ground beef or turkey for a burger patty.  Use black beans as a base for your brownies. Add kidney beans or white cannelloni beans to your soups and stews.  Whip up some hummus for a snack.  Incorporating legumes into a variety of dishes will keep you full and provide adequate dietary protein.

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  • Best Salons in the US for Pregnant Women

    When you’re pregnant, your highest priority becomes taking care of your growing little one. Taking care of yourself is crucial, too! But when you want to pamper yourself with a trip to salon, it can be hard to know which ones are safe to frequent while you’re expecting. We’ve tracked down salons nation-wide that have gained reputations as agreeable to expectant mamas. It’s best to speak with your doctor about the safety of specific hair and beauty treatments during pregnancy. Craft your personal do and do-not list to bring with you as you book your next appointment. When you’re ready for a trip to the salon, there are fantastic picks across the country for you to choose from.

    Breathe clean in Hale Salon: New York, New York. Touted as the most environmentally friendly salon in NYC, countless expectant mothers come here with peace of mind. It’s a clean-air salon, which is particularly blissful when you’re living in the Manhattan area. Hairspray and similar products are off-limits, save for a specially designated room. The salon’s mission revolves around clean living, so the products they use are thoroughly vetted to be the most natural and clean they can find, including some vegan products. The rave reviews for Hale aren’t only for their nontoxic environs, but also the gorgeous beauty work they do. For the eco-minded, Hale Salon could become a main fixture even after the baby is born.

    Evolve your pregnancy style Evolve Hair and Art: Seattle, Washington. With an all-inclusive passion for holistic living, Evolve is an organic salon in the heart of the Emerald City. The products used here are the purest available, and even the hair color is organic and clean. Maintaining a toxin-free environment is a priority, and the stylists here are passionate about their mission. Customers call Evolve a peaceful and health-conscious place to be, which means you’ll be in like-minded company while you’re there.

    Blend style and substance at Garbo: Austin, Texas. Garbo is a salon and spa in Austin with a reputation for excellent service and an eco-conscious mindset. While you’re getting your hair done, you can relax knowing that the products used here will be as safe for your baby as for yourself. The award-winning salon is not only known for its cutting-edge style work, but also for its dedication to being green. Garbo also offers skin services and facial treatments, and remember to check with a doctor before you book your trip, to be sure about which treatments are pregnancy-approved.

    My Hair Trip Salon gives an offbeat, but eco-conscious, experience: Denver, Colorado. If you’re in Denver, book at appointment at the city’s most-frequented certified green and organic salon. The 5-star rated salon boasts hair stylists, but also a commitment to using organic, chemical-free products for every stage of haircare. An earnest commitment to nontoxic products and sustainable haircare choices makes My Hair Trip a special place to enjoy a pre-baby haircut or hair treatment. The offbeat salon also sells art, jewelry, and apparel, and with the clean-living environment, you’ll feel comfortable lingering and browsing in the stunningly green-designed long after your appointment is over.

    Go for the full treatment at Asha SalonSpa: Chicago, Illinois. Asha focuses on a natural approach to haircare and style, which makes this salon a worry-free choice for your haircare needs. Not only is their all-natural philosophy attractive for salon treatments, they also offer a stellar array of prenatal spa packages. With options like gentle mother-to-be massages, hydrating belly treatments, and prenatal waxing, this is a must-stop destination before the baby arrives. They also have a mother-friendly attitude: childcare (for children 8 weeks and older) is available for you during your time at the SalonSpa, just be sure to make a reservation first. Enjoy the eco-conscious spirit of Asha while you’re expecting, and you’ll want to make yourself a regular customer post-baby, too.

    Salon NOVO is your Bay Area pick: Sonoma, California. Sonoma County’s first eco-friendly certified salon, Salon NOVO makes green hair care hip. The main mission of the salon is to “detoxify the salon experience,” which makes it a comforting choice during pregnancy. They use a selection of the best all-natural hair, body, and skin care and are enthusiastic about their choices, which means they’ll tell you all about them if you’d like to know specifics. The salon receives rave reviews for their work, so you don’t need to feel like you’re trading quality for peace of mind.

    Go to Maria Heckscher Salon for an afternoon of care: Atlanta, Georgia. At MH Salon, going clean and green is a full-on philosophy that you and your bump can get behind. They are so dedicated to an eco-conscious (and pregnancy-friendly) environment, even the hand towels are made of soft, sustainable bamboo. The salon uses organic and all-natural hair products so as you’re maintaining your look, you can be certain that unwanted toxins will be avoided. Maria Heckscher Salon also has a boutique and cafe to spend a few blissful hours truly enjoying in worry-free relaxation.

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  • 12 Eco-Friendly Baby Feeding Products

    12 eco-friendly feeding products that are gentle to baby and the earth.

    Article & Photos courtesy of Well Rounded NY

    It’s not easy being green, especially when there’s a baby in the house. Our little ones may be small, but they often end up leaving a big carbon footprint. At the dinner table, baby can have a big impact on Mother Nature, and it is up to us, parents and eco-friendly consumers, to lower the environmental cost of having a tiny mouth to feed.

    So what’s a mama to do? Four words: when possible, avoid plastic. Plastic is light and cheap, and there’s a lot of it in the baby feeding aisle. It is also durable and doesn’t just go away. It ends up in landfills, invades natural habitats, and injures wildlife. Plastic isn’t too kind to baby either. It contains chemicals like Bisphenol A (BPA) – a plasticizer that is known to disrupt our hormone system and be linked to a long list of serious health problems. In 2012, the FDA banned the use of BPA in children’s food products. This move basically solidified a practice that many manufacturers had already adopted; and the regulation still doesn’t guarantee that we are in the clear. In fact, studies have shown that BPA substitutions aren’t automatically safer.

    It’s a lot to take in, but not to worry. There are many eco-friendly products out there that can help you green up your parenting act. Here are 12 picks that we think will allow you to feed your baby, sans toxin, while doing some good for the planet.

    PREP & CLEAN

     prep & clean

    1. Stokke: Tripp Trapp Chair  Stokke‘s Tripp Trapp has been an all-time mommy favorite since its launch in 1972, and for good reasons. While it is on the expensive side, the high chair is highly adjustable and designed to grow with baby. Once he is done using it, you can convert it into an adult chair or a stool. The Tripp Trapp is made of beech wood and comes in a variety of colors. The brand uses only water-based, nontoxic paint and BPA-, phthalate-free materials. The Tripp Trapp baby set, which allows your littlest one to join the family table, is made of environmentally friendly plastic and is recyclable.

    2. The Laundress: Dish Detergent  How can such a small human being contribute to so much of the yuck piling up in the sink? Luckily, you don’t have to fight dirty dishes alone. The Laundress has a dish detergent that you can use when you hand wash dishes or in the dishwasher. It is soft on our skin but is tough on all the gunk caked on baby’s dinnerware. The soap is unscented and doesn’t have any artificial coloring or dyes. It doesn’t contain any petroleum, chlorine bleach, ammonia and more; and like all of The Laundress’ detergents, it is biodegradable.

    3. Baby Brezza: Glass One Step Baby Food Maker Even if cooking isn’t really your thing, Baby Brezza makes it easier to bring wholesome, homemade baby food at the dinner table. The brand recently launched its Glass One Step Baby Food Maker, which can automatically blend the food after steaming. All you need to do is prep and place the food in the container, wait for the nifty machine to finish its deed, and serve. Plus, the mixing bowl is made of glass, which minimizes food contact with plastic.

    4. Modern Twist: Bucket-Bib  Here’s a bib that puts up a good fight against mealtime messes. Modern Twist bucket bib sustains tantrums and actually catches food that misses baby’s mouth. The brand uses food-grade silicone with no BPA, no PVC, no lead, no latex and no phthalates. All of Modern Twist’s products (bib included) are silky to touch, easy to clean, reusable and recyclable. The packaging, too, can be recycled, and the brand has a program to help you dispose of silicone properly.

    5. Oxo: Mash Maker Baby Food Mill  If you are on a tighter budget, Oxo offers an affordable and eco-friendly way to cook for baby. The Mash Maker can puré e any grown-up food into a dinner for your wee one. Not so thrilled about plastic? The truth is, plastic is hard to avoid altogether since it’s everywhere on the market. But you can shop it and still be on the safe(r) side. Case and point: Oxo’s mash maker is made of Polypropylene (PP) and is free of BPA, phthalates and PVC, which makes it one of the safer plastics out there. Not to mention, it’s much more ecological than having to continuously stock up on pre-packaged food. For advice on plastics and plastic use, go here.

    6. Boon: The Forb, Silicone Bottle Brush  This is a flower like no other. It’s called Forb, and it is made of sturdy silicone to clean baby’s bottles (and nipples) without a scratch! This is important because harmful chemicals may leach more easily if the plastic is worn down. Boon‘s products are BPA, PVC and phthalate free. This is a small investment that will last you a long time, without mold or rust, and that can even get cleaned in the dishwasher.

    FEED

     feeding baby

    1. Bamboo Studio: Kids Dinnerware Set  Turn over a new leaf in green eating with the ever popular bamboo dishware. With Bamboo Studio Kids Dinnerware Set, baby can have his cake and eat it too without feeding the waste stream. The reusable kid line, which features all sorts of fun animals, is lightweight and sturdy all at once. Handcrafted from the sheath of the growing bamboo plant, bamboo tableware is biodegradable, making it one of the most sustainable options out there. Do we need to add that it is dishwasher safe?

    2. Lollaland: Glass Baby Bottle  Lollaland glass bottles have a certain je ne sais quoi that takes us back to our childhood. Maybe it’s the old-school birds looking like they were taken out of a Nintendo video game. Or maybe it’s the glass, breaking us free from a world of plastic. Made of premium quality glass, Lollaland baby bottles are gentle on both baby and earth. They do not leach toxins, are thermal-shock resistant (you can heat them, even when they are cold), and are recyclable. Lollaland’s nipples are made of durable, medical-grade silicone.

    3. ThinkBaby: The Complete BPA-Free Feeding Set  If baby has graduated to solid foods, it’s time to invest in some sturdy, eco-friendly dinnerware. ThinkBaby strives to create safe products while having the least possible impact on the environment. The complete feeding set is lined with medical-grade stainless steel and wrapped in polypropylene plastic. The set is also free of BPA, phthalate, lead, PVC, Melamine and more (review here the complete list of chemicals that ThinkBaby has shunned). Stainless steel itself can last a long time and is 100 percent recyclable. Most stainless steel products are made of about 60 percent recycled material.

    4. Green Sprouts: Glass Sip & Straw Cup  The Sip & Straw Cup has glass on the inside, and plastic on the outside. This means that whatever baby drinks never touches plastic, which in this case is made of polypropylene. The cup is free of PVC and BPA and is hypoallergenic. It has two drinking options: a straw and a spout that are both made of silicone. Green Sprouts strives to maximize the life cycle of its products while minimizing the impact they have on the environment. With that in mind, they try, when possible, to use resources that are renewable and recycled. Buying products that are made of recycled materials saves natural resources, energy, and water.

    5. Beaba: First Stage Silicone Spoon  When it comes to baby’s first munchies, you want an ergonomic spoon that will keep mealtime stress free for everyone. Enter Béaba’s First Stage Silicone Spoon, which happens to go easy on baby’s gums and on the environment. Béaba’s spoons are BPA, phthalate and PVC free and dishwasher safe. For the most part, silicone is recyclable, although you’ll likely need to go through a private recycling facility (like this one).

    6. Comotomo: Silicone Bottle  Comotomo may be a little bit of a splurge compared to other brands, but it’s worth it, especially if your little one is getting ready to transition from breast to bottles. The bottles and their extra-wide nipples are made of squeezable silicone that mimics mom’s skin, giving baby a close-to-nursing experience. What’s more, silicone – a synthetic material made of sand and oxygen – withstands heat without leaching harmful chemicals. Comotomo bottles do not break or crack and are safe in dishwasher, microwave and boiling water.

    HONORABLE MENTION: MOMMY’S BOOBIES  If you want to get baby off to a non-toxic, earth-friendly start, breast is best. For moms who can nurse, breast milk is the only food that provides baby all the nutrients he needs without having to worry about harmful chemicals. It also protects both mom and baby against a host of illnesses and diseases. Breastfeeding, which the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends we do for at least the first six months of baby’s life, is also kind to the environment. It’s a renewable resource that doesn’t need to be packaged or transported. It saves energy and is virtually waste free. How is that for reducing your carbon footprint?

    This article is by Charlene Petitjean-Barkulis, courtesy of Well Rounded NY.  Conceived with love by former magazine editors Jessica Pallay and Kaity Velez, Well Rounded NY aims to be the singular pregnancy resource for city-savvy moms-to-be. Through reviews, profiles, expert Q&As, local guides and more, Well Rounded curates the New York City pregnancy and helps its readers come to terms – and term! – with pregnancy in the city.

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    • Toxin-Free Nail Polish With A Story: Interview With Founder Of Trust Fund Beauty

      We are so excited to introduce Trust Fund Beauty as our first curated addition to The Covet Shop. We sat down with the founder of TFB, Samara Granofsky and learned what inspired her to create a high-quality line of fun nail polishes that are safe for you and those you love. With Trust Fund Beauty, you can look fabulous without compromising your health.

      1) What inspired you to start TFB?

      My mother was going through chemotherapy and wanted a safe, non-toxic nail polish. The non-toxic nail polishes she found had limited colors and weren’t fun or didn’t have cool names. Inspired by my mother, years later I put her want and our joint sense of humor into creating Trust Fund Beauty, a luxury line of high-end, collection-themed, toxin free polishes.

      2) We (and I’m sure other women as well!) love the playful nature of the names of your polishes. What inspired these names?

      The names were inspired by my life and the pop culture we all live in. Every name has a meaning behind it – for example, the story behind the Rich Bitch nail polish is “Self-explanatory. You get what you want, because you can. And you do it with style.”

      3) What are the chemicals you want to avoid in nail polishes? Why are they harmful?

      We formulate our nail polishes in accordance to FDA regulations and David Sazuki Foundation guidelines, in order to eliminate the chemicals that are deemed toxic while still producing a quick drying, durable and long wearing polish (thank you science!).

      4) Tell us more about TFB formulations. What makes them unique to other brands?

      Our nail polishes are actually 7-free (meaning free of parabens, dibutyl phthalate, toluene, xylene, camphor, formaldehyde and resin - editor's note: TFB is now 10-free!), but we do not use it in our marketing because the term hasn’t caught on just yet. The polishes are still quick drying, long wearing and super pigmented. It just goes to show that you don’t need chemicals to have a great product!

      The polishes are also cruelty free to both humans and animals (no part of our product is made in a country with questionable human rights records or labor laws).

      5) What’s your favorite/go-to TFB nail color?

      It depends on my mood, but I love Rich Bitch. For me, it’s the perfect red! And sometimes I break a nail and have to file the rest down short to match and it also looks good on both long and short nails.

      As a lover of the finest things life has to offer, Samara Granofsky created Trust Fund Beauty out of a desire to bring out the rich bitch in everyone. A skilled shopper who never denies herself the pleasure of “one in every colour”, Samara is a self-proclaimed polish addict so the idea to start a 7-free luxury line of high-end, collection-themed polishes was a no-brainer!

      The Covet Shop is a curated collection of beauty and lifestyle products to help you discover the brands we Love + Trust + Covet.

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      • The Call of the Suburbs

        How do you know when to call it quits on the city?

        Article & Photo courtesy of Well Rounded NY

        It doesn’t happen right away. You have your baby and adapt to your new life in the city: lugging strollers on subways, feeding and changing anywhere you can, running around to playdates and classes–all while exploring this awesome city with your little one in tow.

        But, then things start to change. Maybe it’s all of the running around or the second child, (or in our case the third child) that pushes you over the edge. Things are wonderful and amazing, but also so hard. You think about space and convenience. Before you know it, you are researching the suburbs, figuring out these other towns that are near-ish to NYC, learning about new schools. And then it’s done. You moved to the burbs!

        As born and raised New Yorker, I never imagined that I would live in the suburbs. It wasn’t really part of my childhood, except for a few summers at sleepaway camp and visits to see family every now and again. Childhood was playing on stoops, in local parks, and hopping on the train whenever we wanted to get anywhere.

        When I first had my daughter, there really wasn’t any talk about leaving. I adapted in this new terrain as a mother, and I loved rediscovering NYC through her eyes. When I had my second daughter we moved to a new space: a 3-bedroom apartment, which was a major score in our Brooklyn life. The girls shared a room and we adapted again.

        But soon things started to change. With our third baby, everything just got really hard. I found myself constantly running from different classes to different schools, shuffling and lugging. All of those things at home we once overlooked–like no dishwasher and or washer/dryer–was becoming a burden. I struggled to keep up with the day-to-day, even with a work-from-home schedule. That is motherhood, I suppose, but there had to be an easier way.

        We thought about moving within our neighborhood, but it was shocking how quickly the rents had risen since we arrived. Plus, we were starting to think more about the future for the girls. Did we want to stay in Brooklyn forever? I wasn’t so sure anymore.

        The more and more that we thought about it, the more I realized that Brooklyn life wasn’t for us anymore. And while we were nervous to leave our community and the life that we had grown to love, it was time for something new.

        For us, the suburbs was a no-man’s land. I knew a few people that had made the move, but I no idea where to go or even where to start. We only knew we needed a location that was close to the train to make commuting easy. We didn’t have a specific timeline for when (or if) we would move. Then one day my husband saw a listing in Westchester, so we loaded the girls and went.

        I fell in love. It wasn’t a huge house or anything fancy, but it was just what we needed. There was space, a backyard and front yard, storage, a play area for the girls and an office for me. There was a dishwasher and a washing machine. After some contemplation and some quick research on the town and the school district, we decided to go for it. A few days later, we embarked on this new adventure together.

        It’s been just a few months, and I don’t know why we didn’t do this sooner. The community has been incredibly welcoming, and the girls have made friends and quickly adapted. Our house is also close to the town that I can walk to the train, local stores and library. I love having a quiet space during the day and being surrounded by trees and nature. Having been in the city my whole life, these pleasures feel luxurious.

        The day-to-day with 3 kids is still crazy and busy, but I feel like a huge weight has been lifted from my shoulders. It’s amazing to see the freedom that the girls have now. They both are constantly telling me how much they love living here. The transition has been harder on me. Since it’s more of a driving culture, I have found it harder to find moms to connect with, which is a little reminiscent of the feelings of being a first-time mom.

        Do I miss Brooklyn? Yes, of course. But we have it nearby and it will always be a place that is close to all of our hearts.

        Finding the right suburb is challenging and incredibly scary. You have to be ready–both mentally and emotionally–to embark on this exciting change. The best thing is to do your research, visit the towns and learn about the schools. Feel free to ask me any questions in the comments section!

        This article is by Serena Norr, courtesy of Well Rounded NY.  Conceived with love by former magazine editors Jessica Pallay and Kaity Velez, Well Rounded NY aims to be the singular pregnancy resource for city-savvy moms-to-be. Through reviews, profiles, expert Q&As, local guides and more, Well Rounded curates the New York City pregnancy and helps its readers come to terms – and term! – with pregnancy in the city.

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