Veronica Swanson Beard

As you know, we’re sort of obsessed with finding the one perfect product for everything. So it’s no surprise we think of the apparel brand Veronica Beard, whose main mission is to help busy ladies simplify oh-so-stylishly, like a soul sister.

Like her co-founder sister-in-law (whom we featured in the spring), Veronica Swanson Beard has a little troop of kids – boys aged 7, 5, and 1 – and a surefooted approach to the dance of business-running and parenting.

So of course she was capable of tackling the latest challenge for the Beard brand: denim. “Our goal is to design the must-have pieces of your uniform and the thing we wanted most was denim – the kind you’d feel polished enough to wear to a meeting or a dinner with your parents or boss.” And as an alum of Narciso Rodriguez, Alberta Ferretti and Parsons, we trust that she got it right. (Find out for yourself this October).

Save room in your denim drawer and now enjoy this in the meantime: good advice from a woman fit to give it.

My Everyday

I take my boys to school and head to the office where I move between design, sales and PR all day. I’m home in time for bathtime and then I put the baby to bed. For the older kids, it’s homework and roughhousing followed by a book at bedtime.

I’ve Got This Nailed

Always give kids two choices – for food, movies, outfits, play dates etc. They feel empowered and you know what you’re dealing with. But only buy clothes and shoes you would want your kids to wear!

The Pregnancy Uniform

Mine was a Veronica Beard blazer, blouses from Zara, J Brand maternity jeans and Isabel Marant booties. It’s really important to feel yourself when you’re pregnant. There is nothing worse than feeling like shamu the whale in a bad outfit.

New Moms, Listen Up

Stay home for the first two weeks and limit visitors to people you wouldn’t mind sobbing or leaking in front of.

The Magic Ingredient

Amparo, our beloved nanny is essential to helping me keep it together. She lives with us and my boys think of her as family. She allows me the freedom to run a business and have a happy marriage and not feel guilt about my kids 24/7.

The Perfect Moment

Bonfire on the beach at our home in Locust Valley, Long Island. There is nothing more magical than watching your kids chase fireflies, chow s’mores, and feel special because they’re staying up late!

#Momfail

They inherited my insatiable sweet tooth and I did nothing to prevent it from happening. Ice cream is a particularly lethal vice in the Beard home.

Best. Purchase. Ever.

The Sit’n’Stroll. I CANNOT believe it took me three kids to finally buy this machine.

How To Travel With Tots

Each kid has their own roller suitcase that holds their toys, lovies and DVD player. I get a good meal in them and then it’s junk all the way – whatever they want as long as they behave and stay in their seat.

Say What?

In our house, cuddle cuddle means snuggle time.

3 Hours Alone, 3 Hours With Him

Alone: Hunting through vintage, thrift and antique shops anywhere in the USA.
With him: Dinner with my husband at Il Cantinori.

I Still Don’t Get It

Cooking. And downloading pictures.

You Can’t Do It All, So Do This

I had to make the decision for myself that once I get to work, it’s all about business unless there is an emergency with the kids. They respect my love for my business and know that they’re always my first priority.

I Never Have Enough…

Wipes and LL Bean totes.

Becoming My Own Mother

I say and do everything she does! My mom would drag us around to all her favorite antique and thrift shops and now my boys have to do it too. I always let them pick out their own piece of treasure so they don’t mind it too much.

Photo: Courtesy of Claiborne Swanson Frank

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On Our Radar: March 5, 2015

RADAR3

Munchery
WHO: Busy people who want a healthy meals but are too pooped to cook.
WHAT: Chefs prep and cook healthy, delicious meals, you choose from the daily menu (lots of variety, including kids’ options) online or via the app, and it’s delivered to your doorstep. Did we mention, it’s also affordable?
WHEN: CC readers get $20 off through April with code CCNYC (that’s an adult + kids meal).
WHERE: munchery.com

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Nannies By Noa
WHO: NYC parents in need of an occasional sitter or full-time nanny.
WHAT: Started 3 years ago by a 7th grader pairing neighborhoo families with babysitters, this agency is known for its rigorous screening process and successful matchmaking record. (Noa has since stepped down to focus on, ahem, high school.
WHEN: You go back to work or need a night out.
WHERE: nanniesbynoa.com

DwellStudio Crib Bedding
WHO: Parents expecting a new babe.
WHAT: Pretty new crib bedding from one of our favorites is cute and modern without being too precious.
WHEN: Start with the crib bedding and design from there.
WHERE: dwellstudio.com

Londontown Nail Polish
WHO: Anyone who enjoys a mani-pedi but isn’t so keen on the toxins in nail polish.
WHAT: New line of 5-free vegan lacquers is made from all-natural food extracts, vitamins, and minerals – and is actually good for your nails.
WHEN: You need a dose of pampering.
WHERE: londontownusa.com

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Kelly Sawyer Patricof and Norah Weinstein

Over the course of two hours with Kelly Sawyer Patricof and Norah Weinstein, we laughed hysterically, shed a few tears, but mostly we stopped for a minute and felt so incredibly grateful for everything we have – food on the table, a plethora of diapers, and a stroller that gets us to the pediatrician in the middle of a snowstorm.

These two moms are the real deal: Last year, their LA-based nonprofit, Baby2Baby, provided 80,000 low-income children with diapers, clothing, and basic necessities.

The successful partnership is the result of a blind date gone right. (Apparently that happens?!) They were set up as couples by Kelly’s father-in-law. Norah, an ex-corporate lawyer with a proclivity for pro-bono work helping low income women, and Kelly, a former model who volunteered with Head Start in NYC, bonded over their shared passion for social justice.

Five years and 4 kids later – Kelly is mom to girls Riley (8) and Sawyer (6); Norah to daughter Sloane (7) and son Graham (4.5) – both women sought careers helping children in need. Baby2Baby was the perfect fit – a small garage-based grassroots organization with a simple concept: people who have more than they need give to those who don’t.

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Kelly and Norah wanted to help the organization grow, and the original founder handed it over to them so they could make it happen.

Good friends Jessica Alba and Nicole Richie attended their launch party to announce the “rebirth” of Baby2Baby. The following week a photo from the event appeared in US Weekly, and 2 days later, a rep from Huggies called to say they wanted to donate 100,000 diapers (finally proof that gossip rags aren’t all bad). According to Norah, “Diapers in our world are like gold. We had room for 20 diapers at the time, but we had to say yes, so that’s what we did!”

The badass moms were totally candid about their relationship (opposites attract!) and shared some eye-opening parenting tips, beauty products you need to know about, and the pros and cons of raising kids in LA.

Without further ado, meet Kelly Sawyer Patricof and Norah Weinstein.

The Dynamic

Kelly: I call her lawyer face – that’s my nickname for her. She’s very detailed and wound up, and I’m more easygoing, and it just works.
Norah: We are very much a team but have very different personalities, and the combination is our greatest strength. We do most everything as a unit.

Best Part of Raising Kids in LA

Kelly: I’m from Vancouver, where it rains 11 months a year. LA weather is great – I love that you can swim on Christmas Day.
Norah: We use the beach as our playground. I grew up in NYC and love it, but it’s a really special thing to be outside year-round.

Worst Part of Raising Kids in LA

Kelly: I grew up in the suburbs in a village of 200 people with bears in the backyard – I wish my kids could experience some of that.
Norah: Driving them to the pediatrician after 4pm in traffic across the 405.

Managing It All

Kelly: Bulletproof coffee is my new morning obsession. It’s 2 cups of coffee, 2 tbsp butter, and 2 tbsp MCT oil – it’s supposed to give you energy throughout the day on an even keel. When it doesn’t, I fill in with green tea. I’m always going out and have lots of energy, so I think it works!
Norah: Because I value my work so much, it takes away some of the mom guilt for things I do miss. Plus, when my kids have days off, I bring them to work and they sort clothes – it’s such a great way to teach them about giving back.

How Baby2Baby Affects The Way You Parent

Kelly: We host monthly events for kids in our program where they receive gift bags of essentials. I go home from those, and if my kids whine, I turn into Mean Mommy: Do you know you have everything and some kids have nothing. It makes me drill it into them a bit. I’m so grateful for everything we have, and I’m instilling that in them. Kids learn by example, and I see it sinking in.
Norah: We deal every day with women juggling jobs and college courses with so few resources – they have to choose between food and diapers sometimes. I still buy my kids birthday presents, but I always follow it up with having them choose something they don’t play with anymore to give to Baby2Baby.

Beauty Must-Haves

Kelly: I’m obsessed with Honest Healing Balm – I put it on my lips, eyelids, cheeks as highlighter, and on my kids for ouchies. I’m trying to use natural products, and Koh Gen Do lipsticks are sheer and wonderful. And you can be hungover and have 2 hours sleep and put on Biologique Recherche Creme VIP O2 mask and be dewy, fresh, and amazing 15 minutes later.
Norah: I love Lip Slip by Sara Happ, Restore by Francesca Paige (Kelly’s facialist who she introduced me to), and I’m addicted to blow dries with Madison McClaren at Meche Salon – they make my week better in every way! I also drink a bottle of pink lady apple Health-ade kombucha every day.

Parenting Masters

Kelly: I talk to my kids like I do anyone else (i.e. never talk down to them). They appreciate honesty. As they get older, I think it’s so important not to baby them. My 8-year old is having girl drama at school and she tells me everything because I talk to her like a human, and we have a great relationship. She confides in me.
Norah: I’ve got lunches down: I follow Weelicious, bought a Planetbox and focus on the aesthetic (almost always rainbow) – and my kids eat better.

Biggest Pet Peeve

Kelly: Norah tapping her pen on the desk. And Ugg boots out in public – it’s not snowing here!
Norah: Improper grammar makes me crazy.

Relax & Unwind

Kelly: I read myself to sleep every night. Otherwise my brain is whirling about with how many more kids I could help. That means my husband has to peel the book off my face every night.
Norah: I’m very wound up. I take a bath every night with Honest bubble bath (because both kids usually jump in at some point).

Secret Talent

Kelly: I can play the spoons. I was born in England, and we lived above a pub so my dad taught me. It’s such a good party trick!
Norah: I’m really good at hula hoop.

#Momfail

Kelly: I hate to get up early, so I make my husband do the morning routine and breakfast. He does 6:30-8am and I do the rest of the day – that’s how we structure life.
Norah: My kids are horrible sleepers… and it might be because I still lie with them in their beds while they go to sleep.

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musthaves
musthaves-courtney

Courtney Adamo

Babyccino

Lives: London
Kids: 4
Follow on IG: @courtneybabyccino

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Stroller

Bugaboo (Our 10-year-old stroller has carried all four of my babies – such amazing quality!)

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Car Seat

Maxi Cosi for infants;
Britax for bigger kids.

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Carrier

Ergobaby for the first 18 months; the Tula for toddlers.

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Motion Chair

BabyBjorn Bouncer

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Activity Gym

Hess

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Samantha Wennerstrom

Could I Have That

Lives: Santa Barbara, CA
Kids: 1
Follow on IG: @couldihavethat

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Car Seat

Nuna Pipa is super lightweight and has a convenient cover for naps.

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Carrier

Ergobaby Wrap (I never leave home without it!)

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Swing

Nuna Leaf

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Monitor

Summer Infant

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Sound Machine

Dohm

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Kelli Murray

Kelli Murray

Lives: Encinitas, CA
Kids: 2
Follow on IG: @kelli_murray

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Stroller

Stokke Xplory

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Carseat

Nuna Pipa

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Carrier

Solly Baby

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Bouncer

Nuna Leaf

musthaves-raluca

Raluca State

What Would Gwyneth Do

Lives: San Diego, CA
Kids: 2
Follow on IG: @wwgwynethdo

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Crib

Oeuf Classic: Absolute favorite must-have. It has held up beautifully for almost eight years and two kids. Definitely a dream registry item.

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Monitor

Summer Infant

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Swaddle

Miracle Blanket

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Swing

Fisher Price My Little Lamb: On hour four of straight crying, a friend insisted I go buy a swing immediately. I love that friend.

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Diaper Pail

Diaper Genie

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Brittany Bishop

Life of Charmings

Nashville, TN
Kids: 1 (with #2 on the way!)
Follow on IG: @beebeebrittany

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Travel Crib

4Moms Breeze Playard: It’s pricey but anyone who has ever tried to put together a playard will totally appreciate how amazingly easy it is to pop this sucker up!

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Infant Seat

Bumbo Floor Seat

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Diapers & Wipes

Honest Company Diapers & Wipes Bundle: The best way to never run out of diapers or wipes

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High Chair

Fisher-Price Spacesaver High Chair: I am all about saving space.

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Sound Machine

Marpac Marsona

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Jen Pinkston

The Effortless Chic

Lives: Los Angeles, CA
Kids: 1
Follow on IG: @jenpinkston

musthaves-jen-stroller

Stroller

Uppababy Vista Worth every penny.

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Bath Tub

Stokke Flexi Bath: This was the third tub we tried, and we finally got it right!

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High Chair

Svan: It’s cozy and compact, and we’ve tossed it in the back seat when we head to a friend’s place for dinner.

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Infant Activity Gym

Skip Hop

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Baby Monitor

Summer Infant: My husband travels a lot, and this lets him to peek in on her while he’s away.

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Ellen Schmidt

Baby Meets City

Lives: New York, NY
Kids: 2
Follow on IG: @babymeetscity

musthaves-ellen-stroller

Stroller

Baby Jogger City Mini: It’s so easy to collapse and carry.

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Swing

4Moms Mamaroo: Something about the swinging, vibrating motion is so soothing and restful for babies.

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Stroller

Comotomo: The most “boob-like” bottle I could find, it’s an easy transition from breast to bottle.

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Wipes

Kirkland: They’re just as good quality as some of the name brands, but a little less expensive.

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Baby Shampoo / Bodywash

California Baby

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Amanda Gluck

Fashionable Hostess

Lives: New York, NY
Kids: 2
Follow on IG: @fashionablehostess

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Stroller

Bugaboo Donkey

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Car Seat

Chicco KeyFit 30

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Activity Center

Fisher Price: Ugh they take up too much space in NYC apartments.

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Baby Monitor

Motorola

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High Chair

Boon Flair Pedestal

musthaves-abby

Abby Larson

Style Me Pretty Living

Lives: Boston, MA
Kids: 3
Follow on IG: @abbydlarson

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Stroller

City Mini: I have a single and a double – a must because of the one-hand fold-up.

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Carrier

Ergobaby: Die hard fan.

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Activity Center

Sassy Bounce Around

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Swaddle

Aden + Anais followed by SwaddleMe followed by the Magic Sleepsuit. It’s our no-fail system!

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Baby Monitor

Dropcam

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Audrey McClelland

Mom Generations

Lives: Rhode Island
Kids: 5
Follow on IG: @audreymcclellan

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Stroller

Quinny Moodd: You can easily adjust it as your baby grows.

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Carrier

Baby Bjorn: I’ve been using this since 2004 when I had my first baby. There’s a loyalty factor, and it really is a fabulous carrier that both me and my husband can use.

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Activity Gym

Mamas & Papas

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Bottle

Tommee Tippee

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