More

9 thoughtful things to stash in your favorite new-mom care package.

Making time for self-care is essential for everyone, but it's especially important for new moms.

9 thoughtful things to stash in your favorite new-mom care package.
True
Healthy Essentials

12 days after his scheduled arrival, baby boy Alexander Anselme Keith came into the world on the morning of  Oct. 5.

His mother, Peggy, is one of my best friends in the world.

Little Alexander, hanging out with his penguin and lion friends. Image via Peggy Gordon, used with permission.


I met Peggy in our first year of university in Canada, where we're from. We were nerdy and witty, obsessed with "The Simpsons," boys with bleached hair, music trivia, and flavored vodka.

Over the last 20 years, we've grown up a lot. Our hair is better, our eyesight a little worse. There's a lot less body glitter and a lot more coffee. Peggy got married. We've both established careers and traveled. While I'm not sure I'll ever have kids, I knew from the day I met her that Peggy's fierce devotion and powerful capacity for love would make her a wonderful mom.

And, of course, she absolutely is. Once baby Alex gets a little better at object permanence, I'm excited to take on my role as a goofy, nerdy aunt and teach him about Monty Python, Harry Potter, and Neil deGrasse Tyson.

Me on the left, Peggy on the right. It's 1998, if you couldn't already tell by my hair. Image via Heather Libby.

In the meantime, I have another important job as a best friend: helping his mom maintain her sanity and composure while she adapts to her new role. Even though we're in the same city, I can't be there with a wipe for every stuffed nose or soiled backside. I can, however, share with her some lovely little items that'll make her busy life a little easier and her downtime a little more relaxing. Making time for self-care is essential for everyone, but it's especially important for new moms. After all, we can only fill up our children with love if we’re full, too!

In honor of my wonderful friend, here’s what I’m putting in her care package:

1. Specialty dark chocolate

The health benefits of fair-trade dark chocolate may be up for debate, but that it is a wonderful, delicious indulgence is not. Coupled with a wheel of local camembert, some crackers, and a mandarin orange, it’s a nice treat for mom on her own or to share with dad on an impromptu date night once the baby is off to bed.

Image via Pexels.

2. Escapist reading material

The world can seem like a dismal, ridiculous place at times. But this baby — and all others born in 2016 — have the potential to grow up and change it. I picked up a Rolling Stone magazine featuring a beloved band and a book about our shared favorite nation (Canada!) for a glorious, positive distraction.

3. Tinted lip balm

Because looking and feeling put together isn't something moms should have to give up.

4. Face wipes

Blessed are you, quick-cleansing wipes. Image via Healthy Essentials®.

These face wipes are great for busy mornings that start too early, or for those times when she just needs a quick refresh.

5. A silky moisturizer for (almost) baby-soft skin

When mom is snatching a few hours or minutes of sleep at a time — and trying to raise a quickly growing bundle of love — remembering to take care of herself isn’t always a priority. This AVEENO® Daily Moisturizer will keep her skin soft and moisturized all day.

6. Dry shampoo

In my opinion, dry shampoo is the greatest innovation of the 2000s. It foofs (yes, that's the technical term) up flat, dirty hair in seconds, making the choice between "Mom gets to wash her hair for the first time in four days" and "Mom cleans spit-up off the couch before it dries" a lot less disappointing. (If you can't find dry shampoo, sub in JOHNSON'S® baby powder — it can actually serve as a form of dry shampoo!)

7. A sleep mask for napping during the day

A two- or three-hour feeding schedule makes things like daytime and nighttime seem pretty arbitrary. For moms who prefer a little darkness when they sleep, this mask comes in pretty handy during tandem afternoon naps with a sleepy babe.

8. Fancy caffeine-free herbal tea

Because it smells and tastes like relaxation. Mmmmm.

9. Hot water bottle and fuzzy sleeve

Making a baby and giving birth is some of the hardest work a mom's body will do. This hot water bottle will help sore muscles relax as her body heals. Added bonus: It looks like a giant wooly sock!

BRB, going back to the store for one of my own. Image by Heather Libby.

There's a lot I still don't know about life. One thing is for sure, though: Taking time to care — for ourselves and for those we love — is essential.

I've been friends with Peggy since we were dorky teenagers, and I know we'll be friends when we're older, grayer, and probably not wiser. Whenever we can be, we're there for each other. When we can't be, care packages are a great alternative!

Photo by Louis Hansel on Unsplash
True

This story was originally shared on Capital One.

Inside the walls of her kitchen at her childhood home in Guatemala, Evelyn Klohr, the founder of a Washington, D.C.-area bakery called Kakeshionista, was taught a lesson that remains central to her business operations today.

"Baking cakes gave me the confidence to believe in my own brand and now I put my heart into giving my customers something they'll enjoy eating," Klohr said.

While driven to launch her own baking business, pursuing a dream in the culinary arts was economically challenging for Klohr. In the United States, culinary schools can open doors to future careers, but the cost of entry can be upwards of $36,000 a year.

Through a friend, Klohr learned about La Cocina VA, a nonprofit dedicated to providing job training and entrepreneurship development services at a training facility in the Washington, D.C-area.

La Cocina VA's, which translates to "the kitchen" in Spanish, offers its Bilingual Culinary Training program to prepare low-and moderate-income individuals from diverse backgrounds to launch careers in the food industry.

That program gave Klohr the ability to fully immerse herself in the baking industry within a professional kitchen facility and receive training in an array of subjects including culinary skills, food safety, career development and English language classes.

Keep Reading Show less
Photo by R.D. Smith on Unsplash

Gem is living her best life.

If you've ever dreamed of spontaneously walking out the door and treating yourself a day of pampering at a spa without even telling anyone, you'll love this doggo who is living your best life.

According to CTV News, a 5-year-old shepherd-cross named Gem escaped from her fenced backyard in Winnipeg early Saturday morning and ended up at the door of Happy Tails Pet Resort & Spa, five blocks away. An employee at the spa saw Gem at the gate around 6:30 a.m. and was surprised when they noticed her owners were nowhere to be seen.

"They were looking in the parking lot and saying, 'Where's your parents?'" said Shawn Bennett, one of the co-owners of the business.

The employee opened the door and Gem hopped right on in, ready and raring to go for her day of fun and relaxation.

Keep Reading Show less
True

When a pet is admitted to a shelter it can be a traumatizing experience. Many are afraid of their new surroundings and are far from comfortable showing off their unique personalities. The problem is that's when many of them have their photos taken to appear in online searches.

Chewy, the pet retailer who has dedicated themselves to supporting shelters and rescues throughout the country, recognized the important work of a couple in Tampa, FL who have been taking professional photos of shelter pets to help get them adopted.

"If it's a photo of a scared animal, most people, subconsciously or even consciously, are going to skip over it," pet photographer Adam Goldberg says. "They can't visualize that dog in their home."

Adam realized the importance of quality shelter photos while working as a social media specialist for the Humane Society of Broward County in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

"The photos were taken top-down so you couldn't see the size of the pet, and the flash would create these red eyes," he recalls. "Sometimes [volunteers] would shoot the photos through the chain-link fences."

That's why Adam and his wife, Mary, have spent much of their free time over the past five years photographing over 1,200 shelter animals to show off their unique personalities to potential adoptive families. The Goldbergs' wonderful work was recently profiled by Chewy in the video above entitled, "A Day in the Life of a Shelter Pet Photographer."