Would you ever? (Beauty Services Edition)

It’s not entirely clear to me why the proliferation of home-delivery services is arriving in concert with apps as a way of life, but it does seem that my smart phone is increasingly becoming a remote control through which I can order whatever I want, around the clock. For most moms, this is a delightful thrill.

Everything can be summoned to your house: food, diapers, even an assortment of stylish prescription eyeglasses for you to try on in front of your own mirror. And now: people.

You can order PEOPLE to come to your house.

Why would you? Well, these are specially trained people who know how to do your hair, your makeup, or maybe your nails. And you find them using an app, of course.

Four services that will send a beauty pro to your house:

The Glam App offers hair, nails, and make-up and has three levels of stylists you can select based on your budget. Currently serving NYC, Los Angeles, Orange County, San Francisco, Dallas, Phoenix and Las Vegas. The services have names, like “Bombshell” for a blowout or “Smoky Eye” for a heavier make-up look. The prices are listed upfront.

A list of on-demand beauty service apps

StyleBee (West Coast only) and GlamSquad (NY, LA, Miami) are pretty much the same thing, offering updos, makeovers for date night, and blowouts. A 20% gratuity will be automatically added, according to the FAQ on StyleBee.

Glamsquad and other on-demand beauty apps

Priv takes it a step further, offering actual haircuts, not just styling. In addition, Priv has spray tans, mens grooming, fitness, and massage.  (London, NYC, LA, Austin, Orange County.)

Another “Uber for grooming” service, Shortcuts, seems to target men, and encourages group booking, so for example you could have your husband and three sons all get their haircut at home back-to-back, but at a starting price of $75 that only drops to $50 per cut when you book three or more, you would have to be pretty darn fancy to pick that over driving your dudes to a salon. Or just doing what we do in Berkeley, and place haircuts for boys very low on the list of things people care about.

So the question is: Would you ever?

Is it compelling to order up a hairstylist, timed for your child’s nap?

In the case of a failed nap, treat yourself kindly

When Joanne’s son was a toddler, she emailed me her take on “how to cope when baby doesn’t nap.” When I was in this phase, I often felt like I was spending the whole afternoon trying to make the nap happen, stewing in a power struggle. I had not yet discovered my philosophy of SURRENDER.

Joanne’s take on surrendering to the nap fail is a good one.

Learn to surrender when the nap fails

There are days when my little guy does not want to nap. Sometimes, this will happen a couple days in a row. On the days when I’m feeling stretched, I treat myself. Here’s how it works:

Step 1: Take wide-eyed baby and their favorite travel size toy and get in the car.
Step 2: Turn on some tunes. My suggestions: Norah Jones, Feist, David Gray…and depending on the album, maybe even Tom Petty. Keep it mellow and upbeat. (Omit Green Day and other rockers for this trip.)
Step 3: Let the adventure begin. After everyone is all buckled-up in car and the tunes are rolling, pick a starting destination that makes you happy. I like the Starbucks drive-thru on San Pablo Avenue in El Cerrito. Other drive-in places work just as well. The drive-in saves you from having to lug baby in and out of the car. Order coffee, tea, diet-decaf soda, or even water. Doesn’t matter, just pick something refreshing that you enjoy.
Step 4: Wash your vehicle in a drive-thru. The windows will be nice and shinny and you’ll feel sparkly clean too.
Step 5: Find a place to take in a view. I like to drive to the top of the hills and marvel at the sweeping view of the bay. Take a few deep breaths and feel your energy return.

More often than not, my little guy nods off to sleep in the midst of our travels. Not always. Even if he isn’t asleep when we get home, I feel recharged and more prepared for whatever challenges lay ahead for the rest of the day.

Don’t worry if your baby doesn’t transfer from the car to crib without waking up. Bring some reading material. Roll down the car windows, relax and read while he continues to catch his zzz’s.

Depending on your neighborhood, this little exercise is equally effective with a pair of good walking shoes and a comfy stroller. Take along headphones with upbeat music, grab a latte, and stroll around to all that places that make you feel good.

Be kind and gentle to yourself.

Wow – I’d love to collect tips for people who are dealing with a three-year old who doesn’t nap. How can we be kind and gentle to ourselves when a little elf keeps emerging from his bedroom every 30 seconds asking if “rest time” is over? Thoughts?

Related Rookie Mom activities (in the spirit of being kind to yourself even without a nap-skipper):

Thanks to my friend Joanne for sharing her wisdom. The photo is hers.

Read this book exactly this way to put your child to sleep with success

This post includes affiliate links.

A new night-night book promises to cure bedtime woes for parents around the world, and all you have to do is follow the instructions exactly. Read the words, odd as they may be, and insert your child’s name where indicated.

The best-selling book that claims to put your child to sleep

Based on SCIENCE, this self-published book is selling like hotcakes on Amazon, as we all know that the promise of sleep is worth throwing money at.  The parent is meant to read the book in a quiet, sleepy voice, inserting yawns along the way. The author has used “a specific language pattern based on psychological techniques that will help your child to relax and fall asleep.”

From the author’s website:

By using psychological techniques and the specific way the book is written the children will often fall asleep, even before the story ends.

This unique book is recommended and praised by psychologists and therapists, as a way to help put your child to sleep.

While it’s tempting to order a Kindle version in able to use it ASAP, the light of the iPad or Kindle may be a distraction to the vibe of the room you are going for.

My local mom’s group had mixed results with this book.

Have you heard about it? It is the number 1 best-selling book on Amazon across ALL CATEGORIES. That is how much parents what their children to go the eff to sleep.

See The Rabbit Who Wants to Fall Asleep on Amazon.com >

Activity #116: Introduce the Tupperware

Indoor fun activities that don't require new toys

If your plastic containers are not stored on a bottom shelf, rearrange things to make it easy to give your baby access. Sit on the kitchen floor and let him pull everything out of the shelf and bang it around.

At-home activities for babies

If you have a mish mash of containers and are happy with it — yay for you — if you want to standardize on a set, Heather has totally fallen in love with her snapware stuff and has bought this pictured set twice.Introduce your snapping food containers to your baby, instant fun


Links rookie moms should know about: August 2015

I think I just adopted a cat. We’ve been fostering kittens for a couple of years, getting a new batch every few months and then sending them off to be adopted after they’re big enough to be immunized and fixed. But this one, who is sitting on my lap, seems to belong here.


She is flawed, full of smelly farts and an eye infection that keeps coming back. But something is compelling me to keep her. Her name is Cleo. Or maybe Kleo, to mark the era of The Kardashian’s, about whom I know nothing except that they like to use Ks where Cs belong.

Here are some links I’ve been saving for you.

Pretty little guide to Separation Anxiety in babies from a site for moms called Cricket’s Circle that turns everything into a pretty little guide. Check it out.

Typebaby makes “birthday shirts” that advertise your kiddos new age with a bold numeral.




As previously documented, I’m obsessed with wall decals. Remember when I bought these from The Lovely Wall Co? She’s got new ones. See them on Etsy.

My husband has to remind me that Etsy is a good source for everything you can’t find exactly as you want it. Our shower curtain has to be extra long because of the way the rod is hung. Hence, we’ve had the same outer curtain for 14 years because I cannot find an extra long curtain in any of the regular retailers. When I suggest we pay a bazillion dollars to have the rod and the tile redone, he shows me a bunch of custom shower curtains on Etsy. You just TELL THEM WHAT SIZE you want. <face palm>

Can’t find a side table to fit your weird small space? A coffee table that you have only imagined but never found in a store? Etsy has furniture, you guys. It’s crazy.

Confused about bottles? A smart mom put together this bundle (available on Amazon) called First Foods and it’s a variety of bottles and nipples so you can try everything to find what works.

Each pack includes 1 Playtex Drop-in Nurser 4oz bottle with 4 Playtex Slowflow Nipples (breastlike, angled, fullsized, and naturalatch); 1 Comotomo 5oz bottle with 3 Comotomo Nipples (slow, medium, fast); 1 Dr. Brown’s Glass 4oz bottle with 3 Dr. Brown’s Nipples (preemie, slow, medium); 1 Tommee Tippee 5oz bottle with 3 Tommee Tippee Nipples (slow, medium, fast); 1 Avent Natural 4oz bottle with 3 Avent Natural Nipples (newborn, slow, medium).

(No luck? Here are 14 Things To Try When Baby Won’t Take a Bottle.)

Meanwhile, Heather’s been on vacation for a couple weeks. After she posted this photo of herself jumping into a lake with her two older boys, Clif Kids asked to use it, and shared it on their Facebook page.


Online photo exhibition: Not MY Family Values

Rookie Moms reader Becky Senf is a museum curator of photography in Phoenix, Arizona. She sent me a link to an online collection of photos she has assembled on Art Photo Index (API).

It is a thought-provoking exhibition with beautiful images of family life around the world. Her text addresses the phenomenon of being judged as parents, while the images allow us to look at — and judge — others.

Many of the photos make me want to see more from the artists, and so I am linking to both the show, titled Not MY Family Values, and the individual artists.

Note: The user experience of the exhibition is a full-screen one – so you will want to view it on a computer, not a phone.


photo: Lacey Ann Johnson

photo: Betsy Schneider



photo: Todd Deutch


Photo: Alix Smith from the project States of Union

View the exhibition: Not MY Family Values

Where to buy — or how to make — a Minions costume

A toddler-sized Minion costume is on the market, of course (here). No one wants to miss that marketing opportunity. But for those of you who want to earn your DIY merit badge, may we suggest assembling the components yourself?

DIY Minion Costume

Blue overalls and a yellow t-shirt are the basis for a Minions costume. Add a pair of costume glasses, or make some from pipe cleaners and aluminum foil, and you’re done!

But wait! A yellow fleece beanie makes this costume totally complete, and warm enough for whatever late October brings.

Plus, if your kiddo will not likely keep the glasses on his or her face, consider making the glasses part of the hat.


The blogger at Another Big Bite did such a great job on both the hat and tutorial (use mason jar lids for the glasses!) that the crafty among us needs to read it.

The non-crafty can “add to cart” with this helpful store-bought beanie.

Minions Hat

Or just buy the whole dang costume.

Kid version (sizes 4-12)


Toddler version (sizes 2-4)

Minion costume for toddler



Set up a backyard festival

When Julian was a toddler, entertaining him in the afternoon was best done outside. Inside he was totally crabby from about 3 to 6 pm. I discovered outdoor toys and activities that kept him busy, and was lazy enough to just put them all in the backyard at once so that he could roam from activity to activity over the course of an hour. It worked so well that I have invited other people to bring their babies over to enjoy our backyard festival.

10 ideas for backyard fun with toddlers

Here are the ingredients I rely on for backyard play.

  1. The key to the party is water. I have had enormous success entertaining a little dude as young as 10 months with a large plastic mixing bowl full of water and some measuring cups or spoons. That’s the first station.
    A list of backyard activities for toddlers
  2. The tunnel. You’ll use this thing for YEARS. That happy kid is Holden – he’s a tunnel man. (Great deal on a play tunnel from our affiliate Amazon.)
  3. Level up with a kiddie pool. You can get away with putting just a few inches of water in it. (And once you do that, you are now on lifeguard duty, so I would only do it with two adults present. And if you do have two adults present, one of them can drink a margarita with her feet in the pool.)
    Must-have backyard toys for toddlers
  4. Bubbles. These require some actual effort on your part. Unless of course you buy an automatic bubble blower. Which is fun until it’s not. It’s not fun when the batteries die or the bubble juice spills out and you don’t have anymore. Ready yourself for a tantrum in that case. But before that? Bliss!
  5. If you like the tunnel idea, or already have one, kick it up a notch with a tent. We have one that is made for kids for this crawling around purpose. You might have a real tent that you don’t use too often. If so, consider setting it up in the backyard and leaving it for a few weeks of summer fun. The one in this picture pops open with no effort and collapses down to store against the wall in your garage. My eight-year old still uses it.Backyard activities for toddlers
  6. Other features of my festival are a large inflatable ball and some push toys. The Little Tikes Push & Ride Racer is good because it rolls well over grass and is pretty durable. Also, if you have two toddlers at your festival, one can push and one can ride. When this gets boring, marry your water station with the car, and let the kids “wash it”. (See our car wash activity >)
  7. For older toddlers, chalk is a lot of fun. It costs around a dollar for a box. Pour a pitcher of water over the drawings to erase. Julian likes this part just as much as the scribbling. Crayola has made all sorts of variations on chalk with kits that promise to be 3-D, glittery, and other advancements, but I have found those are usually disappointing. Stick with plain old sidewalk chalk.

What do you get the most use out of in your backyard?

7 fun backyard activities for toddlers

Activity #146: Set up taste tests for picky kids

My older child has asked that I not call him picky, specifically that I don’t tell my friends or readers that he is picky. It’s a fair request. I wouldn’t want my mom to tell her friends that I’m controlling, cheap, or some other personality trait that is maybe good and maybe bad, depending on the context.

A more positive spin might be to say that he has strong opinions about eating. Like, based on this food’s appearance, I am definitely not going to put it in my mouth.

So, if you have a child with strong opinions about food, you might try this activity: Set up a taste test for comparing foods.

Recently as part of an event for our other website, a hyperlocal Bay Area blog, we hosted an outdoor playdate, sponsored by CLIF Kids.

In order to make the sharing of ZBars more fun, we turned it into a taste test. We encouraged the kids to try bite-sized pieces of the food and vote for their favorite.

Setting up a taste test for kids

I noticed that the kids seemed more interested in experiencing differences because they were voting. I thought about how much they like having their opinions valued. Instead of us pressuring them with bribes, threats, and other tools commonly used by parents (ME!) to convince children to eat, we moms who were running the taste test really didn’t care if they liked grape Zfruits more than cherry Zfruits, and I’m sure our nonchalant attitudes helped make it fun.

I thought, I should give my kids taste tests all the time! I was fantasizing that they would dip chicken into ranch, barbecue sauce, and ketchup, one after the other and report the results. But then I got real, because pigs will fly before one of my kids would put chicken in her mouth — and the other would eat grass before he put a sauce of any kind on his chicken.


Here are some taste tests you could run in your house.


A post on My Small Potatoes details a mom doing a variety of taste tests with her kids. She blindfolded them for extra fun. Spreads on toast sounds like a good warm-up exercise.

taste-tests-for-kids [Read more…]

Would you ever: BYOLG (Bring your own labor gown)?

It is an uncommonly known fact that you can wear whatever you want during labor as long as it doesn’t obstruct your caregiver’s access to your relevant body parts. Regardless, most women wear the standard issue unisex hospital gown that opens in the back. This way, you cannot distinguish a laboring mom-to-be from a psychiatric patient.

Giving birth or having a psychotic breakdown?

Since nothing I’ve bought at Old Navy in the past ten years has offered strategically placed openings for fetal monitors or easy access to my vagina, I’ll assume your wardrobe is equally limited.


Hence, if you want to wear your own garment to give birth, it needs to be specially designed for the task at hand AND disposable. Even if it’s hiked up around your armpits, the stuff that gets on it will probably not wash out. I think you know what I mean.

Pretty Pushers is a line of labor and delivery gowns made of t-shirt material and constructed to allow movement, epidurals, pushing, and post-delivery breastfeeding.


The dresses are also made with as few stitches and seams as possible, so that they are comfortable and eco-friendly.


Who cares what you look like when you give birth? I’m not sure. But if you’re hanging around in a hospital bed for a days-long induction process or just want to post a lot of labor selfies (?) see what Pretty Pushers look like on Amazon.

This mama looks adorable, right? She posted on Instagram “Labor at last with the bossiest little doula in the world!”

A photo posted by @honeyrockette on

Note: Plain natural-colored cotton is less expensive than all the other options.

This one can be used after delivery as well, if you want a little more coverage for receiving visitors, but still need to nurse and check on an incision or make frequent ice pack changes.

Maternity Labor Gown

See what’s available on our affiliate Amazon.com >

How to make Minions cupcakes


Scarlett devoted her most recent birthday to the Minions characters, which surprised me, but was easy enough to execute.

I did two things to make her dreams come true. First, I responded “Minions” in a text message when one of the party guests moms inquired, from the aisles of Target, I presume, what Scarlett is into right now. (Minion-related gifts? Check. Thanks, Melanie!)

Then, we made Minion cupcakes.


Most of the instructions we found online involved the construction of the Minion eye from multiple pieces of candy. I was sort of settled on a version that involved slicing a marshmallow in half and garnishing it with a brown m&m for a pupil, but when we got to the craft store to purchase colored frosting, we hit the jackpot with these candy eyeballs.

How to make MINION CUPCAKES. Use candy eyeballs!

The eyeballs are made by Wilton, and I used a smaller version of them for Julian’s monster cupcakes years ago. Find the larger eyeballs on Amazon.

So, making the cupcakes was as easy as the instructions on the box (no shame, kids are totally happy with cake mix cupcakes) plus yellow frosting, black icing, blue cupcake wrappers, and candy eyeballs.

How to Make MINION Cupcakes


I mean beedo beedo! 

INGREDIENTS (affiliate links)

  • Plain cupcake batter – make or buy your cupcake mix and pour it into…
  • Blue cupcake papers – this package is the best value and has enough blue wrappers for 50 cupcakes and enough cupcake wrappers for the rest of your child’s birthdays under your roof.
  • White frosting – make or buy
  • Yellow frosting coloring – A few drops of this concentrated food-safe color is how you turn your white frosting yellow. I bought a 4-pack of primary colors, but you can buy “lemon yellow” buy itself. Again, the whole set is more budget-friendly if you might make crazy-colored cakes in the future.
  • Black gel icing to draw the hair, glasses strap, and face. Choose a squeeze tube that’s easy to draw with. I did pretty well with this one. Scarlett only wanted one-eyed cupcakes. I would have done a mix of two eyes and one eyes if she’d had allowed it. And a perfectionist might want silver or grey icing to outline the eyes with.
  • Candy eyeballs (change the size to LARGE on this page)

Hate all things DIY? This Twinkie Minion Decoration Kit can put all the work on the party guests. OMG, edible stickers? WTF, world?

Related posts:

How I saved Scarlett’s rainbow cake from dying a terrible death
Star Wars birthday party ideas (on a budget)
Second birthday party ideas
How to throw a third birthday party for $55


New skateboard-stroller allows parents to move faster — and be rad.

Quinny Longboard Stroller

Quinny, the stroller folks who brought us the Quinny Buzz and other slick folding strollers, has introduced something new: a longboard stroller.

Skateboard Stroller

How rad is that?

Skater moms, rejoice! Or, at least skaters in the European Union, because currently that’s the only place you can order the product.

Quinny is producing a limited run of this concept design, with no definitive plans announced to go global.


Ah, well a girl can dream.

More details and video on the Quinny Longboard website >

Whoops – if you arrived here in search of skateboard stroller attachments for your kid, browse here >