Edition Number 20
Hi Everyone,

While pumpkin everything may still be in the air, for me, there’s also an unsettling spirit of the unknown. California is burning, NY is eerily tepid, and the White House is a horrifying reality show without a cancellation in sight. In strange and uncertain times like these, how do we keep things in perspective while also keeping things real? How do we raise tiny humans to understand and care about each other, and our world, without scaring the shite out of them? 

Usually, I deploy humor in order to find the light in the darkness and by no means consider myself a doom-and-gloom kind of woman. But there are undeniably scary changes occurring throughout the world right now, on every continent, and I am challenged because unlike other problems that have clear solutions, these don’t. Thoughts and prayers alone won’t cut it but, at the same time, my inner-Oprah really believes in the transformative power of collective, intentional thought. I think of applying the word “abracadabra” which I recently learned means, “I will create as I speak.” How powerful is that? 

In that spirit, Edition #20 includes a great piece on NPR (you can listen or read) about how to talk to our kids about climate change without invoking the apocalypse. There’s also an inspiring interview with the female career coach who convinced AOC to run— and win— for Congress. The Atlantic had a thoughtful piece for busy bees to consider: Why don’t we see our friends anymore, especially after becoming moms? Sure, work, distance, laundry, and too many reasons to list here are all valid reasons but this article reminded me to prioritize my friends too, especially when we all could use a friend or five to help us navigate parenting. On the lighter side, I’m sharing ideas on how to get your greens in a gummy; chic hotels that don’t hate kids (they exist!); and adorable-slash-affordable kids decor from Bed Bath and Beyond’s new furnishing line, Marmalade.

But what I'm most excited to tell you about is the upcoming launch of the TBD Mama Shop, a specially curated online mix of female-led brands just for you and your minis, but mainly for you.:) More on that very soon....

Phew, ladies, we made it past Halloween (which I know everyone had to celebrate at least three times!) Just two more months of candy-fueled holidaze to go. In the meantime, l'll be lighting lots of candles and repeating plenty of “abracadabras” for my people in Cali, and offering the same wish to every other mama who might be in need of some extra luck too.

With love,
Climate change or climate crisis? I personally can cite a few concrete examples in this year alone that have forced changes in my travel plans, disrupted dear friend’s lives, and even destroyed homes because of extreme shifts in our environment. I do think it’s important to stay calm and carry on, especially around tiny people who are just beginning to form big ideas about the even bigger world, but when rising seas threaten to eliminate Miami Beach and lower Manhattan by 2050 perhaps ringing a small alarm bell is in order. At the very least, families can talk to kids about The Change. 

I’ve been a big fan of young climate activist, Greta Thunberg, for some time now and the awareness and inspiration she has sparked among children and adults alike is nothing short of miraculous. Ringing the alarm by way of leading school climate strikes around the world will get some forces of power to take notice. But what if we don’t want to ring the bell at home? Can we quietly advocate for sustainability while also imparting good practices and a love of nature for our kids? This NPR segment offers helpful ways to talk about the climate crisis, without getting into crisis mode.  Some takeaways to consider:

  • Break the silence - Because not talking about the elephant in the world is not helping.
  • Offer basic facts - Knowledge is power; equip kids with science-backed information so they can learn about and even participate in ongoing solutions.
  • Get Outdoors - Embrace the idea that in order to protect and defend something you have to fall in love with it first.
  • Be Emotionally Literate - Don’t deny the big feelings or fears kids may have, instead hold space for them and identify loving things to do together to help them manage their anxiety.
  • Take Action - Don’t push an agenda but propose and model positive things to do together, i.e. compositing, recycling, beach clean ups etc.
  • Keep Hope Alive - Don’t give up or in to negativity! Big challenges can co-exist with joy. Learn to embrace and navigate both.
Whether you’re on-board with her progressive agenda or not, it’s hard to dismiss the meteoric rise and influence of Rep. Alexandria Ocasio Cortez (AOC), the beloved dem from Queens who others, particularly of the older, whiter, male variety, just love to hate. AOC was only 28 when she joined a group session sponsored by the non-profit, Ladies Get Paid, and met Megan Hellerer, a "conscious career coach" who helped her transition from bartender to youngest congresswoman ever, an incredulous trajectory fueled by a desire to follow her authentic path. 

New York Magazine interviewed Megan, a Chapin-to-Stanford grad who took a decidedly un -Stanford path and left a lucrative career at Google to help other women find their authentic paths instead. What’s unique about her approach is her emphasis on the process over the goal, a coaching-style focused on following your true north rather than someone else's prescribed 10-year plan. 

Megan’s unconventional style of coaching include “Mind, Mood, Body Checks” as you work through your day and frequent references to check your “inner GPS” as you make choices. In describing her work with the Congresswoman she shares this: “AOC thought it would be selfish to stop working, to follow her curiosity. In reality, what is selfish is not taking responsibility for your own happiness. And that is a political act.” 

Whether or not you self-identify as political, we are all a part of this great body politic, our inextricably linked village. While hiring a coach like Megan Hellerer may be out of reach, we can apply her inspiring best practices as we try to take care of ourselves and discover what will fulfill our truest selves.  
I have a very soft spot in my heart for Bed Bath and Beyond. Whenever I needed a dish rack, toaster or a cart load of cleaning supplies I probably never used, the mega store was always there for 20 and 30-something me. Now they’ve just launched their first-ever kids furniture line, Marmalade, and it’s super cute.

The collection offers a playful assortment of sweet home furnishings and décor for toddlers to teens including furniture, lighting, rugs, wallpaper and decorative accents. Graphic teepees, clever peel-and-stick vinyl, and plenty of whimsical animal prints offer a sophisticated yet timeless take on kids classics. I particularly heart the Scandi-modern Jensen desk (everything looks cuter when its mini), retro pom-poms and macrame, and versatile wall art that will undoubtedly create an authentic, stylish room to be loved and lived in for years.
No, not those kind of gummies although I’m sure a CBD version is in the works! I already take a laundry list of supplements so the thought of adding yet another pill makes me want to gag. But I could do gummies, especially when gluten, dairy and sugar-free and, ostensibly, delicious. 

8Greens was the brainchild of Dawn Russell, a stage-four cancer survivor on a mission to get all Americans, kids included, to get their daily dose of essential greens without the sugar. I forget that my typical “green juice” is basically another delivery mechanism for sugar—even though spirulina is a whole lot easier to stomach when mixed with a banana and honey. 

Just two 8Green Gummies pack a whopping dose of the following powerhouse essentials: as much vitamin B6 as six cups of spinach, vitamin C as six oranges, vitamin B12 as seven cups of milk (who would ever drink 7 cups of milk?), B5 as, jeesh,15 cups of broccoli and as much Zinc as 3 cups of raw peas! Try putting all that in your shopping cart. So while supplements aren’t intended to substitute the real thing they certainly make the daunting process easier—and for those who cringe at anything cruciferous and green, tastier too.
The words “boutique” and “kid-friendly” typically don’t go together when searching for a luxe hotel. Although there are huge, very deluxe chains that willingly cater to the under-12 set without a scowl, sometimes you want to stay somewhere a little smaller and unique. This fantastic list of hotels from Tablet includes stylish options from Miami to Bali that go above and beyond for kids, without sacrificing a decidedly grown-up atmosphere.

The Brach in Paris curates a kids brunch on a separate, all-kids floor, while Anassa in Cyprus offers stargazing outings for minis as they explore the sprawling property styled after a Byzantine Village. Other inspired offerings include pizza making classes in the Italian countryside and whitewater rafting through the jungle in Honduras. Then there’s an entire mini spa in Punta Cana replete with snacks, kid-sized BMX race tracks in the Algarve, and “baby concierges” in Greece particularly attuned to the needy under-one set, and ostensibly, the even needier parents lucky and brave enough to travel the distance!
When was the last time you saw your friends, sans partner or kids, on a regular basis? Yeah, I can’t remember either! I love how this article in The Atlantic doesn’t reduce this topic to a simple “work-life-balance” choice which is anything but simple, or a choice. Instead, it explores the deeply rooted problem through the historical lens of the twentieth century Soviet Union’s Stalinist experiment, nepreryvka , or the “continuous workweek,” and draws undeniable parallels to modern capitalist life in twenty-first century USA.

Like nepreryvka, modern work has been designed so production never stops. Constant demands and distractions from your in-box have resulted in highly unpredictable schedules for the majority of workers. In previous decades 9-5 was the norm, families ate dinner together, and electronic devices didn’t hold our weekends or evenings hostage. There was a kind of normalcy, a system of work-life balance that has been irrevocably disrupted. And this makes seeing friends, especially while parenting, almost impossible.

We all crave balance, self-care and a social life, but how do we go about finding and sustaining it within an economic system designed to reward those who spend the LEAST amount of time with people they love? In a dominant system driven by profit and growth at all costs how do you carve out precious social time without being left behind at work?  

You know, as a small business-builder I ask myself how I can co-create a life with other entrepreneurs who want more than to merely talk about “work-life” balance, people who believe that “balance” should be included on any meaningful balance sheet. I know I’m not the only woman who questions growth for growth’s sake at the expense of sustainability, compassion, and consistent and predictable time with our families and friends. I know many of you question this too.

But not all hope is lost! More and more workers, particularly young X-ers, are demanding something called flexibility. Select cities including Seattle, San Francisco, and New York have enacted “fair workweek” laws mandating predictable schedules for hourly workers that are leading to a larger discussion about the “right to disconnect” - laws that have already passed in France and Italy. While neither country is exactly the model of classic “productivity” perhaps it’s time we redefine, as women with families and friends we want to see, what productivity should mean in 2019.