cc_jessica_header1 cc_blog_spacerWe’ve got to give the girl some credit. When Jessica Alba embraced healthy living she didn’t do it in the Stella McCartney-wearing, Sigg water-bottle carrying, quinoa-bowl-at-Cafe Gratitude sense. She threw herself into it, demanding answers from diaper manufacturers (what’s really inside there?) and then developing and road-testing her own, safer version. (Blowouts ensued. It wasn’t pretty.) It’s not exactly what you’d expect a blockbuster actress to be doing during her downtime.

By launching The Honest Company, Jessica made toxicity and kids’ health a conversation worth having, by shining a light on the questionable practices of some consumer goods companies and offering parents answers – and cute alternatives, like adorably patterned diapers that nix the plastics and gels (!) found in conventional ones. Hey, thanks!

Nice thing about Jessica: she’s not righteous about it – she admits cloth diapers weren’t right for her kids Honor, 5, and Haven, 2, and she can’t quit her Retinol habit. “It’s up to you to figure out what’s going to work in your own life,” she says.

“As a mom especially, you learn to let go of what you can’t control and just focus on a handful of things within your power. You’ll go crazy trying to figure out every possible toxic trap.”

Lucky for us, she’s figured out most of them and shared it in her book. We loved her advice on “greening” your beauty routine so much we asked her for more! “With help from great makeup artists in the business like Katey Denno, who has an awesome blog, plus EWG’s Skin Deep Cosmetic Database, and my favorite green beauty retailer, spiritbeautylounge.com, I’ve got a 10-minute routine that doesn’t skimp on safety – or beauty.” And now so do you.
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cc_blog_jessica_tips1Tata Harper moisturizer is a multitasker – it’s tinted and has SPF.  RMS Beauty “Un” Cover-Up is great because it’s non-toxic and fits in your purse for touch-ups. And I’m still obsessed with any product containing Retinol because there’s no more effective wrinkle-fighter. It’s not the most green thing in the world, but as I say, it’s about being honest, not perfect!

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Open your eyes to the awesomeness that is the Shu Uemura Lash Curler! Though most brands haven’t figured out how to  do an effective, eco-friendly mascara, Physician’s Formula mascara comes the closest. L’Oreal Voluminous and Diorshow mascaras have the most impact.

cc_blog_jessica_tips3I love Youngblood or RMS Lip to Cheek cream blush. Don’t forget to tap where the apples of your cheeks touch your hairline, which is where the sun naturally shines. Try Korres Zea Mays Blush if powder is your thing. Hourglass bronzer duo does the “sun-kissed” feel, safely.

cc_blog_jessica_tips4I use Ilia in Perfect Day for a classic lipstick shade and Femme Fatale for a darker look. I had to let go of my favorite red lipstick – the lead levels were toxic! Kjaer Weis has a pretty lip tint called Passionate and I adore its packaging. Korres Lip Butter is a tinted lip balm I use on the center of my lower lip to draw the light and wake up the whole face. Koh Gen Do natural gloss works wonders every day.

cc_blog_jessica_tips5 Steer clear of the eau de nail salon at least while you’re pregnant or breastfeeding because there are chemical irritants in the air. Or find a well-ventilated or “eco-nail” salon – because going for a mani-pedi is the best version of a grown-up “time out”. (I love that free massage – never get enough.) Priti NYC and Butter London are nail polish brands you can bring home with a clear mind they’re “5 free”, i.e. lacking the 5 known carcinogenic ingredients. I’m into extremes this Spring, so I’m either wearing a cool, dark British Racing green or a rich Come to Bed red when I wear black, or a soft, classic nude to go with all those gorgeous pastels.

Image of Haven, Jessica, Honor and Cash Warren by Justin Coit

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Alice and Olivia founder Stacey Bendet Eisner is proud of the fact that her girls never have “typical” days. She’s constantly seeking out new creative activities for her two girls – Eloise, 5 and Scarlett, 3. What’s on her roster of musts? She opened her little black book to the best playgrounds, camps, and family entertainment in her home bases of Manhattan and Malibu.

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CMA in SoHo is a hands-down favorite for family time.


Brunch at the Soho House.

The playgrounds down by Battery Park

Ballet classes at the Joffrey School

Gymnastics lessons at Chelsea Piers

Karma Kids Yoga

Brunch at Sarabeths in Tribeca

Trapeze school in Brooklyn

Bowling at Brooklyn Bowl

HiArts camp is amazing in the summer.

We love treats from Dominique Ansel.

Vegetarian food from Blossom

Smoothies from One Lucky Duck

Family dinners at Nobu

For a road trip, Weezee World in Chappaqua is amazing!

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We love art classes with B
Johnson
, who comes to our house in Malibu.


Swim lessons with Lori
Armstrong
(world’s best swim teacher)
Contact: 310-457-4574

Pony camp at Cross Creek

Dance camp with Miss Charissa.

Weekends at the Malibu
Farmers Market
for flowers,
organic treats and amazing
baskets from the Kenyan
weaving artisans.

We love the beach at Little
Dume
.

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Thanks, but no thanks:

Breastfeeding Advice
to Ignore

You’d think breastfeeding would be a sacred art seamlessly passed down from generation to generation. Nope. It’s surprisingly a tricky business rife with old wives’ tales and outdated advice.

We asked lactation consultant Quetzal Currie, LM, IBCLC (who’s seen it all after 16 years in the business) for the most common tips doled out by well-meaning moms, grandmas, and sister-in-laws you can politely ignore.

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The Tip:



Rub lanolin on your nipples



The Truth:


Slippery nipples can actually make it harder for baby to get a deep latch, and some little ones don’t like the taste/texture. Plus if your nips are cracking, slathering them in goopy wax will keep them too moist to heal. Instead, speed the healing process by dabbing a saline solution (8 oz. water + ¼ tsp. salt) on nipples after nursing, exposing them to air as much as possible (read: go topless), and using breast shells under clothes.


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The Tip:



Don’t use a paci



The Truth:


In general it’s best to wait 4-6 weeks, but there are lots of exceptions. Some babies have powerful sucking reflexes and aren’t happy unless they’re sucking on something—if you’re not having latch issues, it’s totally fine to opt for a binky ASAP instead of becoming a human pacifier.


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The Tip:



It’s just going to hurt—until you develop calluses



The Truth:


Yes, it’s going to be uncomfortable at first. And it will get easier as baby’s mouth grows (not because your nipples get tougher). But you shouldn’t be bleeding or having persistent pain after the first few days. Don’t grin and bear it; that’s a sign you need help with the latch.


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The Tip:



She’s eating so often! (said judgily)



The Truth:


Older generations, especially those who formula-fed exclusively, may hint that babies should be put on a schedule. Currie advises nursing when baby is hungry, or as she says, “on demand—within reason.” Shoot for 15-30 minute feedings every 2-3 hours, but be flexible.


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The Tip:



You’ll get more sleep if you nurse lying down



The Truth:


Yeah, good luck with that. Currie considers it an “advanced technique” and a recipe for a shallow latch and sore nips. Until you’re a pro, sit upright in a comfortable chair, and strap on a My Brest Friend pillow (better for keeping baby at the right angle than the mushier Boppy). If your baby is flailing her arms, swaddle her first; you can always do skin-to-skin after nursing.


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The Tip:



Get baby on a bottle ASAP so Dad can bond – and help with feedings



The Truth:


Sweet sentiment, but don’t feel pressured. If you don’t have to pump, it’s best to wait 4-6 weeks, to avoid nipple confusion and overwhelming mom (she has enough going on as-is.) He’ll bond just fine while changing and swaddling the baby and taking care of you, thankyouverymuch.


Currie’s a baby and boob whisperer. To get in-person help in New York, Brooklyn, or New Jersey, email her at quetzalcurrie@gmail.com.

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21 Guilt-Free Educational Apps

Yep, there’s an app for that (and that and that and that). But only a handful are kid-friendly – and educator approved. We questioned three developmental experts – Dana Rosenbloom of Dana’s Kids and speech-language pathologists Jill Rappaport and Mara Cole – to find apps that entertain and educate kids from 12 months to 4 years old.

A few things to keep in mind:

1. Some are available in “lite” versions so you can try them before you buy.
2. The most value lies in apps that can engage toddlers one way and utilize different features for preschoolers.
3. Plan to participate with your child by following their lead to enhance the experience, especially early on.
4. Set limits from the beginning on when and how long kids can be on their tablet or phone.
5. For children under a year, limit exposure to just music and an occasional video.
6. Lead by example – if you don’t want your child using it incessantly, don’t do so in front of him.

Interactive Stories

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Vocabulary

Creativity

Learning the abc’s

Sorting, Classifying Skills

Shapes/Numbers/colors

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