the sparkly life

Friday, April 20, 2018

Run Don't Walk: Sephora Is Having A Beauty Sale!

urban decay ouai benefit bad gal bang supergroup unseen sunscreen sunday riley

I love beauty products. You love beauty products. But the super annoying thing about beauty products is that they pretty much never go on sale. That's why I was excited to hear about a secret, once-a-year sale happening at Sephora (!) right now. It's happening today April 20th through April 23rd. 

The deal: Beauty Insiders will get 10 percent off their entire purchase, and those who've reached VIB status (achieved once you've spent at least $350) get 15 percent off. Here are the codes:

Insider code: YAYINSIDER for 10 percent off
VIB code: YAYVIB for 15 percent off

If you haven't joined Sephora's Insider program, it's kind of a no-brainer. It's free, you earn points for every purchase (that can then be redeemed for products), and you'll get you access to cool sales and discounts like this one. You can also sign up instantly if you just want to do the sale today. You do it right here.

*And by the way, this is not an ad or a sponsored post for Sephora. I'm just sharing the beauty love! :)

Basically, this rare sale is a great time to stock up on your go-to products, to try some new stuff, or to nab something expensive (like the Dyson blowdryer!) at a discount. 

Here's a few of my favorites to get you started. Happy shopping!

MAKEUP


The all-time most-flattering eyeshadow palettesmoky eyes made easy, my current favorite mascara, and more.


SKINCARE

Best. Peel. Ever., invisible sunscreen, my fave face wipes, the vitamin C product I swear by, and more.

HAIR


Travel-friendly hair masks, pros love this flatiron, the blowdryer that cuts your drying time in half, etc.

BODY AND FRAGRANCE

Favorite spray sunscreen, heavenly-smelling shower gel, Chloe's gorg new fragrance, and more.

--

Now tell me: What are some of your beauty favorites that I have to try next??

Monday, April 16, 2018

I Want This Cute Spring Stuff (And You Will, Too!)


It may be gross and rainy today, but for two days this past weekend, we had a glimpse of spring! And it was glorious! But it also reminded me that I hate all the warm-weather clothes I already own (isn't that always the case?!) and need some new stuff. The items below are on my current wishlist--there's spring dresses that will take you straight into summer, pretty sandals, and more. (Just click on any of the photos for more details.) 

And while I love everything shown, here's a few standouts that top my list:

Slouchy grey bag - My current everyday bag is on its last legs. I love the shape of this one and the color (neutral enough to wear with everything, but still light and spring-y), and I looove the price. $59! Sure, it's not real leather, but no one has to know that but us, right?

Blue cutout dress - I love that the cutouts are teeny and in an area that's not super revealing. (Because no one--including me--needs a front view of my tummy.) And it's $50!

Tassel sandals - Obsessed with these! I like that they're neutral so they go with everything (no crazy weirdo colors), that they're flat/comfy, and that they aren't ridiculously pricey. 

Embroidered dress - This would be so pretty and breezy on a warm day (maybe with the sandals above?). I like that it's roomy and just so easy to throw on.

Dinosaur sweatshirt - The softest sweatshirt with the cutest pastel dino print. Too cute.

Off-the-shoulder top - The crochet on this under-$100 white top is really pretty and I love the off-the-shoulder silhouette. Love this with jeans for drinks with friends or date night.

What's your fave thing on  my list? And is it warm yet where you live? Tell me so I can live vicariously!







Monday, April 9, 2018

Here's How to Choose the Right Preschool If You're a Working Mom

kindercare tribeca

Being a mom is tough. And being a working mom is even harder. There's the futile attempt to balance it all. There's the fatigue. There's the inevitable spit up or random Paw Patrol sticker on your work clothes. (...That you notice only after giving a big presentation, of course.) And perhaps worst of all, there's the near-constant guilt brought on by the gnawing sense that you're missing out on things because you can't be there for every single precious moment.

The guilt starts the moment you have to leave your child with someone new to go back to work after maternity leave (one of the hardest things you'll deal with as a mom in those first few months!). And I'm here to tell you that, yes, that guilt is still there, years later, even when your kids are in pre-K and second grade! 
kindercare tribeca

I'm also here to tell you that those guilty feelings can be greatly alleviated by finding a great childcare provider for your baby, and later a wonderful school for your kids. Yes, it's still tough, and no, it's never easy, but when you know they're taken care of, you'll feel better. I promise. 

For today's post, I've partnered with KinderCare Education, a child care provider and learning center with locations across the country (including a beautiful, brand new Learning Center here in New York City's Tribeca neighborhood!). My children did not attend KinderCare, but I love their inclusive approach to education, and I very much share their goal of raising children to become lifelong learners.

kindercare tribeca


So if you, too, are a working mom, here's five things I suggest thinking about when choosing a child care center or preschool for your kids:

1) Make sure you love where they're going to be spending their day.
This one seems obvious, but it's really a non-negotiable. If you're feeling iffy about the nanny, daycare center, or school where you're leaving them, you'll feel bad every time you drop them off. Choosing a preschool is an incredibly important decision that affects the next several years of your child's life, so make sure you love the one you go with! I always felt so incredibly comfortable with our nanny--and, later, with the preschools we chose--so that was one less worry for me. Look for caregivers and teachers with loving personalities who are experts with kids. Seek out great, well-maintained facilities with stimulating toys and a strong preschool curriculum. I always knew my kids were loved, safe, happy, and engaged with the people they were with, and the environment they were in, and that made all the difference. 

2) Look for a school that provides constant contact. 
When it comes to my kids, you can't share too much information with me. I've always hated the feeling of sitting in my office, and wondering, "Did my baby eat well today?" "My kid was crying when I dropped her off--is she still upset?" "It's 12pm, WHAT THE HECK IS HAPPENING WITH HER NOW?" My nanny was great about texting me photos of my kids throughout the day, and I was lucky that the school we chose for my daughter's first preschool sent us a daily email update, complete with photos, that detailed her day. But I really love KinderCare Education's approach: They use an app to provide updates, photos, and videos to parents throughout the day. (How cool is that?) You can even sign up for push notifications if you're the type who wants to be alerted IMMEDIATELY every time your baby takes her bottle or has a poopy diaper. 

school chalkboard sign

3) Extended hours are key.
What working mom hasn't felt the stress of being stuck on a stalled subway (or in rush-hour traffic) watching the minutes tick by and knowing you're going to be late to pick up your kid? That's why picking a school or childcare center with extended hours makes a huge difference. Our current school has extended hours from 8am to 6pm, which is good, but honestly not great. (I've never worked somewhere where it wasn't frowned upon to leave earlier than 6pm, so everyone I know has to have at least a part-time babysitter who can pick up the kids after school and watch them until the parents get home.) So I was honestly floored when I saw that the KinderCare Tribeca Learning Center's hours are 6am to 9pm! Hours like that mean that you wouldn't need the afternoon nanny or babysitter, which is kind of amazing. I also love that they offer optional on-site after-school activities (think music, soccer, etc) to keep the kids busy for those extra hours between the end of school and pickup time. 

4) Meal services make your life infinitely easier.
I have the fancy lunchboxes. I've given up precious sleep to wake up early and pack lunches. I have the requisite Pinterest board with cute, interesting lunch ideas to entice my picky kids to eat. But you know what is so much easier? Having the school do the work! That's why I highly suggest choosing a school that offers a meal service. (KinderCare's Tribeca Learning Center does this, and our own school does, as well.) With the one at my kids' school, you can pick from dozens of healthy lunch options in advance, and then they're waiting for the kids at school each day, and let me tell you, this has been such a gamechanger. Your kid gets a healthy, hot lunch--and you don't have to slave over putting it together yourself. We love it so much that we actually get the school lunch every day for my daughter, and twice a week for my son. 

tribeca kindercare

5) Open-door policies are a must.
If any school or childcare center is weird about having you visit the facility, consider that a red flag. You want to be able to stop in and see what's going on whenever you feel like it, and any good school or daycare should make you feel welcome to do this. At Kindercare, parents are encouraged to come in to visit their kids at any time, which I love. Moms can even stop in over lunch (or whenever) to breastfeed their babies, which is just amazing. I so wish I had had that option back when I was still nursing! Going back to work would have been so much easier if I had been able to visit for a midday feed or a quick snuggle. Oh well. Maybe for baby #3. (KIDDING!)

If you'd like more information about KinderCare Education or its new Tribeca Learning Center, (which, opens April 16th, and honestly, is amazing--huge, spotless, and beautiful), click here!

Thank you to KinderCare for partnering with me on this post.


Friday, April 6, 2018

20 Cool Things You Need to Click On Today

kittens

Things have been crazy since we've been back from Hawaii! I've been slammed with all the work I didn't do while on vacation, and the biggest news...we got cats! Yep, we adopted two eight-week-old kittens from Beth Stern. I'll be doing a larger post on them (and on the whole process of adopting one of Beth's coveted Instagram cats) soon, but in the meantime, just know that Bobby and Lulu are pretty much the cutest things I have ever seen. 

And for proof of that, you can follow them on Instagram at @bobbyandlulu. If you've been watching my Instagram Stories, you know that I am actually incredibly jealous of their account. (And I wish I was kidding about that!) They have unbelievable engagement from their followers, and usually get 2,000 likes for their photos! I would say that I need to know their secrets, but I'm pretty sure it involves a furry coat and looking tiny and adorable. ;)

This weekend, we are going to be laying low. Next week is going to be even busier, so I'm hoping to squeeze in some relaxing time while I can. 

Whatever you're up to this weekend, I hope you make it a great one. Here's a few fun links to check out in the meantime.

• Love the exposed buttons on these high-waisted denim shorts! (FYI, you can get 20 percent off these or anything else at Madewell with code FOLLOWURCART)

Such an easy, breezy, pretty summer dress. (Love those pom poms!)

Since I'm into poms poms right now, I'm also really loving this cute straw pom pom fedora. It's also 40 percent off with code HAPPY, so it's actually under $20 at the moment!

• Beauty product I'm loving right now: Sunday Riley C.E.O Rapid Flash Brightening Serum. My skin has seemed extra blotchy lately, so I was looking for a good vitamin C serum, which is the best OTC thing for brightening--and for preventing new spots. I love that this one has a creamy texture, which makes it really easy to spread. It also smells fresh and lovely (very unusual for vitamin C products!) and really does seemed to have already brightened my skin noticeably in just a few weeks. 

• Speaking of vitamin C, I really liked this PureWow guide about why it's important--and how to find the best vitamin C product for you.

• How pretty would this dress be for a spring wedding?

• This roundup of beauty products that seem like scams was kind of great. (And I totally agree about lip scrubs. An old toothbrush is far superior--and less messy.)

• I wrote about great beauty products that contain jasmine for Refinery 29!

• Busy Phillips is my absolute favorite person to follow on Instagram Stories. She's so funny and so relatable. So I loved this behind-the-(Story)-scenes profile of Busy.

• There is pretty much nothing more important this year than the midterm elections in November. That's why I love this t-shirt from Rebecca Minkoff and Cosmo. It encourages women to vote twice (once in the primaries and then again in November) and even includes the primary dates on the back. But best of all, all proceeds go to Ignite, an organization that gets young women involved in the political process. (And that's something I think we can all agree is a good thing, right?)

• Keto, Paleo, low carb, low fat--there are zillions of diets out there these days but the basic facts about healthy eating remain. This fun Q&A cuts through all the B.S. out there in the food/diet world and tells you what you really need to focus on. Such a good read!

• Speaking of healthy, this vegan truffle potato bisque from my friend Hitha is so. damn. good. (And it does not taste vegan!)

• Flat shoes are officially back. Thank GOD.

• The New Yorker wrote this really snarky review picking on Girl Boss magazine, but you know what? I think it sounds pretty awesome. I love that there's actually a magazine for tween girls that focuses on business tips rather than boys and beauty. I would have loved it as a kid--and I totally want to get  copy for my daughter.

• Things to make you happy.

And in case you missed it, I...

• Went a little crazy in a big box store.

• Packed for a beach vacation.

• Had a sick kid...on a plane!

• Watched my other kid turn 8 years old.

• Fell in love with some beauty products.

Have a great weekend!







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Thursday, March 29, 2018

Getting Ready for Spring With BJ's Wholesale Club





Photos by Isis Paulina Loyo Fernandez


Wholesale clubs, with their jumbo-sized packaging and mega deals, tend to elude most New Yorkers. (Forget about not having adequate pantry space to store it all; most New Yorkers don’t even have a pantry.) But now that I live a bit outside the city (and have an actual house!) I’ve been reintroduced to the joys of case-sized quantities of paper towels and giant jugs of laundry detergent.

Yes, we’ve finally been able to see how the other half lives by joining our local BJ's Wholesale Club. And while I always knew about the multi-packs of toilet paper and industrial-sized cans of peanut butter, I was honestly less familiar with their health and beauty section. But they have one! And it’s a great one, too! There are lots of brands you already use and love, and tons of good deals on haircare, skincare, and vitamins, plus health items like OTC medicines. And now, I’ve actually partnered with BJ's to take you guys along on my shopping trips over the next few months to show you what I’m scooping up in the health, wellness, and beauty aisles. 

On my most recent BJ's excursion, I picked up several things (cupcakes for my daughter’s theater group! a zillion yogurt pouches! tons o' toothpaste! a Starbucks gift card!), but the main focus for me on this trip was the oh-so-sexy topic of…allergy medicine.

Because while I am so ready for spring (I mean, we’ve had snowstorms in March this year, so I am OVER the cold), I am absolutely dreading the seasonal allergies that come with it. My husband gets them bad, and as we found out last year, my daughter does, too. Her doctor had suggested that this year, instead of waiting for the inevitable sniffles and puffy eyes to start, we give her medicine every day starting early, so that we stop the allergies before they even have a chance to creep up. And that means we need to stockpile a ton of it! (And while I don’t personally suffer from daily seasonal allergies, the pollen does really hit me hard on a few random, high-level days throughout spring, which is why I always carry emergency Benadryl tablets in my purse!)

BJ's has all the big allergy relief brands like Claritin, Benadryl, Zyrtec, Allegra, and more, plus their own exclusive line, Berkley Jensen, and they come in huge packs, so you can buy them once, at a great price, and then be covered straight through the season. I stocked up on my go-tos (Claritin and Benadryl)—and then moved on to posing around the store, taking photos in front of the cereal and body wash displays, much to the amusement of the other BJ's shoppers. (What? You guys don't do that, too?)

Are you all BJs members? If so, please tell me which items you love, so I can check them out next time I'm in the store! And if not, and you're interested in joininguse this link and you’ll get a $25 gift card to spend in the store!

Thank you to BJ's for sponsoring this post.

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

When Your Kid Gets Sick On A Plane


So, we made it to Hawaii! But not without some drama on the way here. You see, for weeks leading up to our 11.5 hour flight, I had one fear: Could my son handle it? Would he get bored after an hour and then bug me for the next ten? Would he scream, kick the seat in front of him, and then bolt into the first-class cabin? Well, as it turns out, this did not happen. 

Instead, he got sick. 

He was fine at the airport, as we boarded the plane, and for the first hour or so of the flight. He sat quietly and watched his first movie (one of approximately two billion that I had preloaded onto the iPad), but when it ended, he seemed different. He didn't want to watch a second movie, and instead, he laid down in the seat with his head on my lap--and promptly fell asleep. 

This was weird. At this point, it was about 10am, so he shouldn't have been tired. He's also not a sleeps-on-the-plane type of kid. But there he was, completely zoned out. I was intially thrilled! I stroked his hair and enjoyed Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri

About an hour later, he woke up, extremely groggy and out of it, and hot. I didn't have a thermometer with me--it was packed in a checked suitcase (mistake #1)--but moms know. (Am I right?) He had a fever. After mumbling incoherently for a few minutes, he fell back asleep! 

The most frustrating part of this was that I had a treasure trove of children's medicine with me, but it, too, was in our suitcase (mistake #2). Ever since my daughter got sick on an early vacation in a town with no 24-hour pharmacies, I always travel with both Children's Tylenol and Motrin, as well as a thermometer. (After my son completely swelled up from mosquito bites in Turks & Caicos, we added Children's Benadryl to the mix.) 

Anyway, this cycle of waking/acting weird/going back to sleep/getting hotter continued for another three hours or so before I finally got up and asked a flight attendant if they had Children's Tylenol or Motrin in their first aid kit. Fun fact: They did not! He did offer to ask around the cabin though, which I really appreciated. (Despite asking several familes, but didn't find any though.) 

An hour later, my son seemed to take a turn and his breathing was very quick and shallow. I freaked out, and went to a second flight attendant (who was lovely and helpful as well). She actually did one of those "Is there a medical professional on the plane" announcements. This was getting dramatic!

Two young, amazing women came over to help--a physician's assistant and an emergency room doctor. They listened to him with a stethoscope (breathing seemed okay! They said the quick breathing is not abnormal for a kid with a fever), and they asked around and found Infant Tylenol. They did the conversions, so we could get the right dose for my non-infant son, and then helped me convince him to actually drink it. (The flight attendant then turned to the doctor and said: "So can I tell the captain it's ok to continue? Because we're about to leave the coast." Oh my god. Can you imagine if we had forced an emergency landing?!?) 

An hour or so after the medicine, he started to get much, much better. He woke up, was talking fairly normally, finally ate something, and watched another movie. (He was quickly bored though, which is already making me nervous for the flight home!) 

We hit an urgent care near-ish to the hotel the next morning to get checked out (negative for strep and flu--phew), but he's doing much better. It's morphed into a rotten cold (which I will now probably have for the flight home), but he's okay.

Moral of the story: Do not pack your just-in-case OTC medications in your carry-on bag. If you lug them on, your kid will be fine. But if you don't, you'll surely be screwed, as we were.

Also, this has to be said: United has gotten some (deservedly) bad press recently, but they couldn't have been more amazing in our situation. I dealt with three or four different flight attendants and they were all extremely helpful and attentive. (I kept expecting an eyeroll or a brush off, but it never came.) They even went above and beyond, bringing him ice packs, applesauce and other snacks, and lots of water. They were great. 

So...have your kids ever gotten sick on the plane? If you have any tips, please share them!

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Hawaii Packing List

what to bring on a beach vacation

It's snowing here today, so it seems impossible, but...I've got a trip to Hawaii coming up soon! Yep, we're heading to the island of Oahu for spring break, and I couldn't be more excited! We had toyed with the idea of renting a house, but in the end, we decided to do Disney Aulani. I've heard it's amazing for families, and it has a great kids club, which as I've said before, pretty much makes or breaks a vacation. (If you're not doing so already, definitely follow me on Instagram for lots of fun pics and Stories of my kids, fruity drinks, Mickey-shaped shave ice, countless Dole Whips, and more!)

But I have to be honest that I'm super nervous about the flight right now. We are flying direct, and from the East Coast, so that means an 11-and-a-half-hour flight (!!). We are coming with iPads (DUH), lots of activity books, and a few new toys, but I'm stressed about my kids becoming bored (or hangry or worse) after just a few hours. If you have any good tips for long-haul flights with kids, please, PLEASE share them with me!

But back to the fun stuff: With an impending vacation, the last few weeks have meant lots of shopping since the kids have outgrown most of their warm-weather stuff. And of course, even though I haven't outgrown my stuff, I still did a little shopping for me. So, check out some of the fun new pieces I've bought (or will be scooping up soon ) for those essentials that I always pack on a beach vacation.

1. Cutest Romper - I saw this in the store and thought it looked amazing on the rack, but figured it would look horrible on me. (I'm not typically a romper person.) I kept walking...but kept thinking about it, so turned around and decided to give it a go. And, you guys, it is SO cute on. The shorts aren't too short at all (that was my big fear) and it's sooo comfortable (elastic waistband FTW!). Excited to wear this in Hawaii--and then at home all summer long.

2. Insta-Ready Cover-Up - I have had the same favorite cover-up for...way too long. I haven't retired it yet, but I wanted to add a new one into the rotation, too. This rainbow pom pom cover-up dress caught my eye immediately. It's just so happy and fun!

3. Superflattering Swimsuit - I bought this Kenneth Cole one-piece online (in the burgundy shade--it comes in other colors) and held my breath. (Buying swimwear online is so risky, right?) But it fit perfectly and I love it! It sucks you in and doesn't show too much, but still manages to look pretty sexy. And even though it's about $100 bucks, the quality is great; it feels much more expensive. (I also bought this one!)

4. The Best Sunscreen - I've mentioned Supergoop Unseen Sunscreen SPF 40 as one of my favorites before, but it deserves another plug here. It looks and feels completely (yes, totally) invisible. I'm obsessed! 

5. Pretty Little Dress - Well, this is a given, right? You need a bunch of great dresses for any warm-weather trip, and this Shoshanna dress is so feminine, breezy, and pretty, and would work for day or night.

6. Affordable Straw Clutch - I always bring one clutch on vacation with me, and always in a neutral shade so it goes with any outfit. I love this Mar Y Sol clutch, because the straw feels so beachy, and it's under $50. 

7. Coolest Sun Hat - I've wanted an Eric Javits sun hat forever. They're very high quality, they're super chic,  and they're squishable, so you can pack them in your suitcase without destroying them. Last week I actually bought this Squishee IV hat, which is the one I have wanted since I saw it on a friend. (It's hard to tell but the brim is slightly smaller than most, so you can totally wear it to walk around and not just for lounging by the pool.) And I love it! But then I saw this gorgeous straw bucket hat (which is giving me a Chanel-tweed vibe) and now I want it, too! 

8. Metallic Sandals - I don't do heels on vacation. Period. So I always bring a great pair of flat metallic sandals, and then I can wear them out to dinner at night or even during the day, as well. These Toms rose-gold sandals are really cool and different--and they're just $59!

9. Bathing-suit bag - At every vacation's end, there's always the dilemma of what to do with your wet swimsuit. Eliminate the issue by packing one of these little waterproof bags. It's slim, takes up barely any space, and keeps the rest of the stuff in your suitcase from getting soggy.

10. Best New Pedicure Shade - I always get a pedicure right before vacation in either a dark shade or a bright, tropical one. I've been rocking dark all winter long, so I am really, really ready for something happy. This new coral (Essie At the Helm) is perfect.

11. Giant Rainbow Beach Bag - I've mentioned this Las Bayadas El Palo tote  as one my my favorite things before because it's incredible. It's huge, but because it's made of a soft, thin fabric, it folds up completely tiny, taking up barely any room in your suitcase.

Are you guys going anywhere for spring break? And have you been to Aulani? (Or gone anywhere on a long flight with kids?) Please give me all the tips!







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