A friend recently sent me this NY Times article by famed author and columnist Frank Bruni entitled, “The Gift of Siblings“.

I related to the piece both as a sibling and as a mother of siblings.

His piece revolves around the following quote, “Siblings are the only relatives, and perhaps the only people you’ll ever know, who are with you through the entire arc of your life,” the writer Jeffrey Kluger observed to Salon in 2011, the year his book “The Sibling Effect” was published. “Your parents leave you too soon and your kids and spouse come along late, but your siblings know you when you are in your most inchoate form.”

He goes on to discuss closeness with your siblings and varying degrees of geographic distance, philosophical and ideological differences.  Bruni theorizes that more siblings often equals more closeness (i.e. one of four moves away you still have three nearby). And unfortunately, life these days has made it much harder to have many kids.  Costs are astronomical and cultural changes – such as many of us starting the process later in life – hinders the multiple child family format.

A lot of this rang true for me.  I am one of four children and will most likely stop at two myself, which sometimes makes me sad.  Our lifestyle just makes it almost impossible to have more and I sincerely hope my two boys will remain close through their lives!

No matter your history/future, it’s a good read…


Gosh Darn Sippy Cups!

What is it about sippy cups that makes them so totally imperfect? It’s as if a whole category of baby product makers said, “hey – let’s fu** with parents and make this product super ineffective, hard to clean, inherently non-working as soon as you lose one itty bitty part, and super spillable to create puddles of liquid on furniture, clothing and most especially handbags.”

Well MISSION ACCOMPLISHED you sippy cup satans, they are (almost) all horrible. Since I’ve spent so much $ on this ridiculous challenge, I thought I’d at least share with you all the FEW that are acceptable as well as the few that are, in the words of my 20-something sister, “Miz”.

These Tommy Tippy’s may be my favorites.  Yes they DO have an insert – annoying, but it’s white instead of clear (shows up in dishwasher) and it’s not teeny (harder to lose). They have good flow, and a cute little cover (ATTACHED) to flip over when on the go.

Old Faithful – the Playtex First Sipster.  Yes, there is an annoying insert, but we have so many of them because they are inexpensive, we can always find one.  Something about that double-hole flow seems to work for kids at every age.  And the handles are a great bonus.  Definitely NOT the best for on the go, but for my money, these are the at-home best.

This NUK is a great option for early sippers – no insert YAY, but a bit of a slower flow so probably doesn’t work past age 3 or so.  No cover, but it doesn’t seem to be too spilly.

This Baby Cie is actually a water bottle, but my 18 months old already loves it.  It’s a WINNER for on the go and stays cold!! As long as it’s twisted shut (warning), it won’t spill.  Great to have one, but definitely too expensive for your go-to-need-10-versions at home sippy cup.  Best part, it’s metal so it’s eco-friendly and BPA free!

I hesitate to recommend this cup because it’s RIDICULOUSLY expensive and has a straw (those never work and always get lost), but The Kid Basix sippy is pretty indestructible. You can throw it, drop it, bang it, chew it, whatever and it stands up to the abuse. It has a plug for no-spills and keeps water cold.

If your kids don’t like handles, this Munchkin is a nice inexpensive option.  Again, no insert which is good for home – not great on the road.  Slow flow though.

And the not so good….

On the other side of Munchkin, you have the Might Grip Straw cup.  I Highly dissuade anyone from buying a lot of straw cups, as our straws ALWAYS get lost, damaged, or somehow I just can’t figure out how to plug them back in.  Additionally, that long narrow spout is a great breeder for bacteria, dirty dish water, errant food, whatever (in my non-medical opinion).

The First Years Take and Toss.  Don’t be tempted by the price/no inserts, you’ll toss more than you take.  They are SOOO spilly and the plastic is really cheap (my kids chew the tops).  If you want to buy in bulk, go for the Munchkin Twist Tight. Still not perfect (don’t bring them in your bag), but they spill less, which means less of those, “my top popped off and there is now water all over the laundry you just dried” incidents that happen with the Take and Toss.  

Oh CamelBak – I used to love you and hate writing this, but your kids bottle SUCKS.  Again…the straw.  So many parts to it, everytime I put it back in, it still leaks.  I’ve bought three of these (don’t ask), hoping they would work because the size is so perfect but they ALWAYS spill and the again, our straws always get lost or damaged.  So sad.

I’ve become a big fan of OXO, but this cup may be the exception. It claims to do a million and one things which is always a red flag for me (just do one thing perfectly, please). If you drop it (or your kids do), the pieces inevitably fall off.  The valves are complicated and I have trouble putting them in.


Julianne Hough – Conde Nast Traveler Hot List Party

The other night I attended the HOT LIST Party for Conde Nast Traveler at the SLS Hotel South Beach.

It was a great party- very well done with plenty of food and drink (always a major plus).  I interviewed Julianne for People Mag but unfortunately she didn’t give me anything personal (I had strict directive not to ask about Ryan Seacrest), so the story didn’t print.

But she was breathtakingly gorgeous and had some fun stories about her girlfriends, her food cravings and and travels (she grew up in London…who knew? she seems so All American!).  Her new short bob was perfectly tousled and her body was extremely envy-inducing. She wore nude Christian Louboutins, a gold “arrow” necklace, gold bracelets and gold rings.

Julianne walked the carpet with the Conde Nast Traveler execs.  Ironically, she and editor in chief Klara Glowczewska were both in orange dresses.

Here is a bit of our chat…

Q: We are here at the Hot List Party and it’s hot out!
JH: I’m hot under here! I Have swoobs going on right now – sweaty boobs! You know, the swoobs the swazz, that whole thing!
Q: So how do you define hot?
JH: I think just a confidence.  It doesn’t have to be a person, I think confidence in what this hotel is or a confidence in what a magazine can be.  It’s just that -I don’t know how to explain it, it’s just strong. An Inner peace or an inner strength. That’s hot!
Q: How about in guys – same thing?
A: Yah, I like a confident but relaxed guy.  I think that’s great.
Q: And when do you feel your hottest?
A: Um, right after I work out (laughs).  I’m sweaty and toned and then I go screw it all up with my dinner that night because I love to eat!
Q: What are some of your favorite indulgences?
A: I love Italian food, I love Mexican, I love every cuisine. I was brought up to love every style and every cuisine and never to leave anything on your plate, and to try everything.  I was lucky as a kid that I liked everything – I didn’t really have a choice, I kind of had to.
Q: You’ve been talking a lot about your girlfriends, what would be your ideal girlfriend getaway?
A: Well, we’ve been talking about it and we all kind of want to do Australia because none of us have ever been and I think that would be really fun.  We have some friends there that would be able to show us around and take us to good spots.
Q: And would your girlfriend trip be more about laying out and relaxing or going out and partying?
Laying out and relaxing and like learning how to surf and doing the kind of just chill Australian vibe! Just relaxed…
Q: Have you ever travelled alone – would you?
A: I absolutely would, I would love that. don’t know how I could do that now – but I would love to do that.  My best friend just did Thailand for two months this year – or, last year, and she said she would do it again in a heartbeat.
Q: Summer is coming up, do you have a summer anthem you love?
A: Right now I’m obsessed – I don’t know if this is an old song or a new song – but the Matisyahu and Akon “One Day” – I’m like jamming out in my car yesterday or two days ago when I was back in L.A. And I’m like windows down, anyways it’s my song right now.  And it’s so inspirational but it’s got such a good beat.  You gotta download it!!
Q: What is your favorite place to travel?
A: I love the Med!
Q: You lived in Europe right?
A: Yeah – I lived in London for a long time, so I used to travel a lot. I love Paris more than anything it’s so charming and romantic and everything. It’s really great.  I love London because that was my home, but I was there as a kid, so now as an adult – going back – I’m learning all these news things, it’s different.
Q: You filmed the Diablo Cody movie recently – was that the edgiest thing you’ve done so far?
A: Yah – it’s a dark comedy and I play a burn survivor who is burned over 2/3rds of her body so it’s definitely a little bit out there from what people have seen me do in the past, so I’m psyched about that!