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When we caught up with Jordana Brewster, fresh on the heels of filming season three of Dallas and getting ready to shoot The Fast & The Furious 7, she was as grounded as we’d heard (no makeup! in public!). Not that she doesn’t work for it, “I’m very passionate about constantly working on myself, whether it be through therapy, meditation or self help books.” The mother of eight-month-old Julian – who grew up in Panama City, Brazil and NYC and now lives in Santa Monica – has an adorable practice with her two best friends: “We email each other a gratitude list at the end of the day. Every day. Shifting your perspective is so important!”

Toys Schmoys

Take things you already have around the house — a rock, pine cone, paper towel tube — and put them in a bowl or basket for your baby to play with. They love the different textures and once they tire of one, they move on to the next. You don’t even need traditional toys. Next up is edible paint, but he’s not old enough yet. I love The Imagination Tree website for this kind of thing!

Clothes Make The Baby

I’m obsessed with Petit Bateau and Nununu baby clothes, especially Nununu’s pants. Some days Julian’s style is very hipster/skater, and others I dress him like Prince George: a little gentleman.

Be Present

There’s no such thing as multitasking as a mom – if you’re answering emails, you aren’t giving the baby the attention he needs. I’m trying to be more mindful and setting aside time to devote myself to work so I can give him my full attention when I am with him. It’s a work in progress. I meditate twice a day to resist the urge!

Lifesaving Baby Products

For the first 6 months, the Nuna Leaf saved me. I loved that it’s not motorized, Julian found it so soothing and I had my hands free for a short while. Now he wants to be held at all times, but it was great while it lasted. Also the Baby Shusher is a genius invention. At first it felt really lazy, but all that shushing is exhausting! There’s also an app, which I used after I dropped and broke the actual shusher. Oh, and buy the NoseFrida. It’s so convenient and surprisingly addictive.

Skip It

Diaper bags are overrated. I just throw a Bambo diaper, Naty wipes, one toy and a sippy cup in my purse.

Insider Tricks

Find a pediatrician that answers emails or texts. It gives me so much peace of mind to be able to get timely answers without having to take the baby to the doctor. Also, I constantly start email chains with my mom friends about any question I have and they always ease my worries and have good advice.

Truth

I thought I would be this zen earth mama, but I am more paranoid about things than I used to be. People say that once you become a mom you’ll know exactly what to do, but that isn’t necessarily true. I find myself more anxious than before.

A Bag of Tricks

I was shooting Dallas in Texas and traveled back and forth 10 times with Julian. The trick is to give a bottle on the way up and down and to have a bag of tricks. You’re basically an entertainer for the whole plane ride, so pull one toy out at a time and let him play with it until he gets bored. You have to switch up what’s in the bag every trip too.

Hey, Jules

My husband and I had differing opinions on names but out of the blue one day, he said I love the name Jules. And I loved it too. And there we had it.

#Momfail

One day, Julian ate a leaf and then puked it up shortly thereafter. That’s when I realized I have to have my eyes on him at all times.

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Joanna Goddard

Joanna Goddard is America’s sweetheart of the blog world – a hefty title, no doubt, but one that she lives up to in every way. Her beloved site, A Cup of Jo, started as a post-breakup distraction on nights and weekends, but over time, the honest, well-written, and thoughtful posts have earned the former magazine editor a devoted audience (take a look-see at all of those comments!) and a wildly successful business.

On any given week, women from around the world flock to her posts on everything from a cute clothing line you’ve never heard of to bikini waxes (she’s anti!) to idyllic vacations to battling postpartum depression (she did, twice – more on that below). It’s that mix of girl talk, inspiration, and real life struggle that keeps us checking in every day.

After years of devoted reading, we got the chance to chat with the delightful mom of two (Toby is 4, Anton is 1.5) about her writing, her life, and what she’ll never cover on the blog. Without further ado, the ultra-charming (and yet, very real) Joanna Goddard.

Master of Authenticity

When I’m writing a post about a personal experience, I pretend like I’m writing an email to my mom or sister – that’s the language I use. And afterwards, I send it to my husband to make sure I’ve described it truthfully just as it happened.

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The Good & The Bad

I think it’s important for women to share both ups and downs because that’s just reality. I want people to be able to relate to my blog. And when I do mention something I’m struggling with, I’m always blown away by the empathy and intimate comments people leave – it makes me feel like I have this meaningful relationship with people I have never met.

Fan Girls

People have come up to us in the most unexpected places: on vacation in Amsterdam, at a wedding in Charlottesville, Virginia. I love it! For years, it was just me, alone with my computer on my bed, so it was really nice to have people approach me. Some of my good friends are people I met through the site.

Kids on the Interweb

When the boys were babies, I was totally fine with sharing their photos and stories because everyone goes through the same things (lack of sleep, hiring childcare, etc). Now that Toby is older, he is starting to become his own person and he goes through things in life that are specific to him, and I’m becoming much more careful about what I share about him. I feel really connected to my readers, so our family life will always be a narrative thread on the blog, but long-term, I want to put more focus on the women’s lifestyle stories, like house tours, recipes, style, motherhood, and essays from other women.

Her Blogroll

I love Dinner A Love Story: Jenny Rosenstrach is so smart and wise. I’ve gotten really into The Atlantic in the past year – love that it’s more lifestyle driven. And South African-based Miss Moss has great taste and finds such cool stuff online.

She’ll Never Ever Ever…

I’ve never covered dieting. I’m so not interested in it. People have enough pressure on them. Plus, I want the blog to feel like an escape.

Major Perk

Having a personal blog forces you to take lots of photos and have a journal of your family life – I’m really grateful for that!

The Old Debate

We recently made the move from Manhattan to Brooklyn. I thought I would miss the West Village, but I love our new hood Carroll Gardens – it’s like the West Village but without the annoying stuff like tourists, massive crowds, loud ambulances, and delivery trucks. We think about moving to California (my twin sister lives in San Francisco) all the time, and Instagram is not helpful in the depths of winter! A backyard sounds amazing, but we love New York.

The Perks of Raising Kids in NYC

1. I love playground culture here so much. After I had Toby, I felt isolated in the beginning, so I would take him as a newborn to the playground, sit on the bench, and talk to nannies and moms. I never had to plan it, and there were always people there, which I found so reassuring (still do).
2. You can breastfeed in public without any fanfare. There’s so much going on at all times that no one is phased by it.
3. The diversity. Toby’s exposed to so many different cultures at school, and we love taking the boys to try different kinds of ethnic food. I asked where they wanted to go for dinner the other night, and one said “falafel” while the other said “sushi” – I loved that!

The Downside

The school system can be stressful to navigate. And it’s so expensive! That’s the real bummer. I would love for my kids to be able to run free a little more. I try to never say, “be careful” because I don’t want to nag them all the time, but it would be nice to live next to more woods or parks so they could wander freely.

Remember When…

I get so nostalgic when ages and stages pass by, and I didn’t anticipate that. When your 1-year-old becomes a 2-year-old, there is some loss there. You love each phase so exquisitely that it almost hurts when it’s gone. I want them to grow up but I don’t: it’s so bittersweet.

Drawing The Line

I would never write about anything that would embarrass my family. I don’t cover something if it isn’t my story to tell, and I am very cognizant of privacy. I usually don’t share something that’s really hard until it’s over because if you’re writing about something while you’re in it, the reader can feel the weight and heaviness of it all. It feels more balanced when you have come out the other side and have perspective to share.

Dealing With Postpartum Depression

I had postpartum depression and anxiety with both boys. I remember having all these awful thoughts and feelings – I’m a bad mom, my husband doesn’t love me – that’s the illness telling you that, it’s not actually happening. It sounds hokey, but my mom told me to come up with a mantra, and when your mind starts spinning, repeat the mantra. Mine was something to the effect of: I’m trying my best every day and aiming for just good enough during this time. Going on walks and feeling fresh air on my face was helpful. And watching mindless TV like Friends helped relax me. For women going through this, I recommend talking to a doctor. This is a great website where you can find a specialist and support groups near you, which is such a relief. Also, just know you’re not alone or going crazy – this happens to so many people. You’ll be so proud of yourself when you look back and see how you got through something so hard.

Secret Talents & Obsessions

My guilty pleasure is The Bachelor. I’m addicted to the show. I’ve also recently gotten into reading psychological thrillers like Gone Girl and The Girl on The Train. And for secret talents, I can fake a bunch of accents, including random regional U.S. accents, like Chicago or Southern California. (Have you ever seen Amy Walker? She’s my hero!)

Perfect Family Moment

I really love family bike rides. My husband is a wuss and won’t take the babies on his bike, so I have Anton in front and Toby in back. Toby is singing behind me, and Anton is playing with the bike bell. We are headed to a park or a playground. Of course, Alex’s bike is a cool vintage Schwinn with a special gold bell, and my bike is so lame with a hamburger bell.

Dinner With Kids

I’ve actually found if we take the boys to kid-friendly restaurants, they get more rambunctious than if we take them to a quiet grown-up spot. I think the calm makes them more calm. We love the Odeon, and when we take them to our local sushi spot Koto, they are on their best behavior. For more family-friendly places, we love to ride bikes to Brooklyn Crab for seafood and mini golf, and the Brooklyn Beer Hall feels very European, so you feel cool and the kids still have fun.

SHOP: Joanna’s Must-Have Registry Picks

Ergobaby Carrier

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Shop It!

My Brest Friend

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Shop Now!

Miracle Blanket

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Shop It!

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sleeping-trough-night

From the moment you bring that baby home from the hospital, you become razor-focused on one thing: Getting some much-needed shuteye. It will seem, at times, that you will see a unicorn before your sweet – wait, AWAKE, AGAIN?! — baby sleeps through the night.

When the going gets tough, we turn to Erica Komisar, a New York-based psychotherapist and parenting coach with twenty years of experience, for parenting help. Here is her sleep whispering wisdom in 13 useful tidbits. Night night, sleep tight.

The Infant Set

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Newborns need up to 17 hours of sleep a day(!)
for healthy brain development. That’s generally split between small bursts of a few hours throughout a 24-hour period, NOT consecutively, through the night.

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Sleeping through the night is one of baby’s most important developmental milestones.
But every child develops at her own pace so remember: Comparison is the thief of joy (and often as a result — precious, precious sleep).

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Sleep can be taught but can also change on a dime.
In other words, don’t Facebook brag about that first stretch of 6 hours unless you’re prepared to eat your words.

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Before you cut out night feedings, make sure baby’s getting enough nutrition throughout the day.
That means your pediatrician has given you the okay – or some recommend making sure baby’s getting 2.5 ounces of milk or formula per pound (so a 12 pound baby should have 30 ounces before bed).

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Toss the nightlight.
A dark room is like a dose of melatonin for baby. Invest in black-out drapes, nix the nightlight, and make sure there are no sneaky lights in the room (humidifiers are often a culprit).

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Your phone could hinder precious sleep.
Moms who are often distracted during the day are more likely to find their baby waking up at all hours, as they see nighttime as the opportunity to get undivided attention. Unlike friends, babies don’t seem to mind when you’re half asleep for one-on-one time.

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Your favorite moments now might haunt you in the future.
Anyone who’s ever rocked, breast-, or bottle-fed a baby to sleep knows it’s downright dreamy, but it’s also a tough habit to break. Have it both ways by doing your thing, then wake her ever so slightly (think blowing on her face, a foot tickle) so she goes down “drowsy but awake”.

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Listen closely to your baby’s cries.
The more you listen, they better you’ll be able to judge if she actually needs something (a rhythmic, non-stop cry generally means hunger; screams that sound drastically different than you’re used to are an alert that she’s not feeling well), but a slow, building wail is usually the cue that baby’s exhausted (welcome to the club, kid), and , it may be time to teach her how to sleep.

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Sleep training doesn’t have to mean CIO.
Our Sleep Training Guide walks you through 4 different methods.

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You’ll probably have to sleep train more than once.
All that work goes out the window when you’re hit with sickness, travel, moving, teething, or any change in routine. Get back on the horse as soon as you can.

The 18 Month+ Crowd

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The monster in the closet is real to your toddler:
Kids project worries, anger, and aggression onto the dark, and it can become a scary place. Get ahead of the beast by talking to your child about the dark as a peaceful, restful place. Later, address any fears and nightmares with empathy.

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Magic? Also real.
Assign a “magical” stuffed animal to protect and comfort him at night. Your confidence is key here. By the end of your coronation, you should also believe that that Jellycat can beam away bad dreams.

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Their bed should be the default in the night rather than yours.
Yes, it’s exhausting to carry them back there after they get all cozy in your bed but remember: the more comfortable they are in their own environment, the less likely they are to tiptoe into yours.

SHOP: Sleep Essentials

Sound Machines

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Shop!

Swaddles

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Cribs

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Shop!

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There are a few sacred occasions where snail mail is still the only appropriate way to go: thank you notes, wedding invitations, and birth announcements. That last one can be tricky – no new mom has time to go down the Etsy rabbit hole to find a keepsake that lives up to her baby’s cuteness.

So we did it for you! Check out our short list of the best options out there, across a range of prices and styles. Make your top picks ahead of time and lose the risk of this task falling into the hands of a well-meaning family member with questionable taste (been there).

Because no baby deserves to be introduced to the world in Comic Sans.

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Mooseberry Paper Co

$112 for 50

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Sugar Paper

$604 for 50

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Egg Press

$75 for 50

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Color Quarry

Price upon request

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Paperless Post

$55 for 50

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Paper Heart Prints

$78 for 50

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Alli Arnold

$60 for 50

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Tinyprints

$117 for 50

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Austin Press

$400 for 50

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