Musings About Life... After Birth



Posted by Chelsea on January 07, 2009

There’s an article in today’s Washington Post about a 6-year-old boy who after missing the bus, elected to drive himself to school this morning. Sadly, some crap parenting seems to have likely been the precursor. The article says that the boy’s father was under a court order not to leave the 6-year-old and his 4-year-old brother alone with their mother at their home in the town of Wicomico Church, VA. But Dad left for work at 6:30 a.m., and Mom was still asleep when the 6-year-old missed the bus and then drove off at 7:40 a.m. for school. A court order not to leave the boys alone with their mom? Yikes. Fortunately, the authorities are on it: the parents were arrested and charged with felony child endangerment.

Thankfully, the poor kid, who was desperate to get to school so he wouldn’t miss breakfast (this makes me especially sad) and P.E., avoided injury, as did the other drivers he was sharing the road with. He crashed the car into a utility pole and, understandably, was majorly freaked out, but ultimately, fine.

Because the story ends relatively well (moron parents nonwithstanding), I can admit I find it rather hysterical. Especially the boy’s justification for getting behind the wheel:

“The sheriff said the boy told him that he had trained on video games such as Grand Theft Auto and Monster Truck Jam.”

Big Bro, though too young for Grand Theft Auto, is obsessed with monster trucks - especially the kids cartoon “Bigfoot Presents: Meteor and the Mighty Monster Trucks”. Monster Truck Jam video game, monster truck cartoon, what’s the difference? Will he, too, one day hop behind the wheel of my car and send it into motion, certain that he can handle it because of his “training”? He’s enough of a wild man that I’m sorta concerned that the answer is yes.

New Policy in the Kaplan home: television viewing is limited to “Handy Manny” only. 3-year-olds receiving premature training on fixing things: good, 3-year-olds receiving premature training on driving, bad.

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Posted by Chelsea on December 08, 2008

Last night, Michelle Obama appeared on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno clad in head-to-toe J. Crew:

Of course, J. Crew promptly began promoting the heck out of the outfit:

And all three pieces have promptly sold out. Guess buyers followed those instructions on the bottom of the ad.

Of course, during campaign season, the wardrobes of the ladies on the campaign trail were frequently examined, discussed and, often, coveted, so I guess it should come as no surprise to me that folks so quickly jumped at the opportunity to own a piece or two of Michelle’s clothing. What I think is kinda cool about this apparel-oriented frenzy, though, is that her outfit was not some designer ensemble, but off-the-rack (or, I guess I should say, off-the-pages-of-a-catalog) J. Crew, the all-but-official outfitter/style haven of Washington, D.C. While campaigning, she, just like Cindy McCain and, of course, Sarah Palin, wore designer clothes. While she could certainly afford to continue doing so (especially since schmancy designers are likely sending her boxes of free stuff to wear), I imagine that she’s taken the current economic situation into account and is doing her best to be “of the people”. As she said on Leno, “You can get some good stuff online”.

I just wonder if before placing her orders, she searches for a coupon code like I always do…..

Tags michelle obama, j. crew


Posted by Chelsea on July 29, 2008

I don’t care if you’re a Democrat or a Republican - if you’re a parent and are anything but disgusted by President Bush and the Republicans, you’re not paying attention. Here’s the deal:

In today’s Washington Post, there’s an article about how yesterday, Congressional negotiators agreed to a ban on a family of toxins found in children’s products. This ban will include three types of phthalates, which are found in plastics (they make plastic softer and more durable) commonly used in children’s toys, and to outlaw three other phthalates pending a study of their health effects in children and pregnant women. Why? Well, phthalates act as hormones and cause reproductive problems, especially in boys. Federally funded research found that male babies born to women with high levels of phthalates in their blood exhibited low sperm count, undescended testicles and other reproductive problems. Other studies have connected some phthalates to liver and kidney cancer. For purposes of global comparison, the European Union banned the six phthalates in question from children’s products in 1999 and more than a dozen other countries have done the same.

In a mind-blowing response, White House spokesman Tony Fratto said that President Bush opposes this ban. I’m going to repeat this and make it bold, because I want to make sure everyone gets this: President Bush opposes banning plastics that are harmful to children and pregnant women.

This makes me so angry that I am shaking. Shaking. Do I even need to explain why?

Joining President Bush on the deplorably disgusting list: (no shocker here) Exxon Mobil, which manufacturers the phthalate most frequently found in children’s toys. The company spent a chunk of its $22 million lobbying budget in the past 18 months to try to prevent this ban and try to get people to believe that banning phthalates may inadvertently expose children to greater risks, because manufacturers will be forced to use substitute chemicals that may be even more hazardous. Let me get this straight, Exxon Mobil: the U.S. should so allow toxic chemicals to be placed in kids’ toys because there’s a chance that whatever we decide to replace them with might end up being toxic too? Um, I’m gonna go out on a limb here and recommend we just go right on ahead and get rid of the stuff we know is highly toxic, mmmkay? I have faith that on he next go-‘round we’ll make sure that sperm and kidney-destroying chemicals aren’t allowed into rubber duckies. Seriously, how do these people sleep at night?

Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), who sponsored the ban, said yesterday that the action is a first step toward moving the United States closer to the European model, where industry must prove the safety of a chemical before it is allowed on the market. Now seriously, doesn’t that make sense? Perhaps some prelim research prior to a chemical additive’s approval (as opposed to waiting until children suffer health consequences and THEN taking action) is a wise plan, no? Sadly, only the Democrats agree with her. Senate and House Republicans all voted against the ban, and you know why. Of course, the jerks at Exxon Mobil, etc. poured all kinds of obscene money into the Republicans’ re-election campaigns (check their campaign finance records - it’s publicly available info) in exchange for promises that they’d vote to oppose this ban. Really, how can we not be disgusted by the fact that our governmental representatives can and are willing to be bought at the expense of our safety - ESPECIALLY that of our kids?

If you’re a regular reader of this blog, you know that do not hide the fact that I am a liberal. To me, however, this shouldn’t a partisan issue; liberal or conservative, Democrat or Republican, parent or not, you should support a ban on using toxic ingredients when making kids’ toys. The record is clear, though: the lawmakers against this ban are Republicans, and the ones supporting the ban are Democrats.

We must keep this in mind when we vote this November.


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Posted by Chelsea on February 25, 2008

Yesterday, Momtourage member Lauren ran into a woman who was in the new moms group we joined shortly after our first babies were born. “Oh Chelsea, she looked like such a….mom,” Lauren reported, shuddering. Though I probably should have been filled with indignation to hear “mom” used to signify “dowdy/schlumpy”, I wasn’t; I knew exactly what Lauren meant, because, admittedly, I’m guilty of using “mom” pejoratively too.

Sadly, these days “mom” (think “mom jeans”) is all too often used to mean “dumpy”. Blame it on SNL’s “mom jeans” faux ad (tagline: “Because you’re not a woman - you’re a mom!”) - or the reality that when you’re pushing a stroller, doing so in sweats and Pumas as opposed to a Michael Kors shift and Prada pumps is, let’s face it, a heck of a lot easier.

I remember watching - and loving - contestant Laura Bennett on Project Runway a couple of seasons ago. She was the redheaded mother of like, 500 (ok, 6, but that’s essentially 500) kids, yet she always looked impeccably put-together. Essentially, she was the anti-”mom”. “If I am dressed dumpy, I am going to eat badly and act dumpy,” she said. “It’s such a simple thing to get dressed and feel better about yourself.” Perhaps “mom” style really is that simple; it takes a little extra effort, but getting “dressed” when you’re a mom is about more than just fashion - it’s a state of mind and being.

This Spring, updating your wardrobe from “mom” to “MOM!” is super simple. Trust me - you don’t need an innate, Carrie Bradshaw-esque sense of style and you won’t have to sacrifice comfort or a ton of cash. Simply take some of what you’ve already got, add a few on-trend items and be ruthless in getting rid of your dated, “mom” duds. Let these tips, taken from the Spring 2008 runway trend report I wrote for the April issue of The Family Groove, be your guide for what to add to, toss from and keep in your closet this season in order to render yourself decidedly un-dowdy:

3 key trends to keep rockin’:

Bright colors

Items in bold colors were all the rage last fall, and continue to be just as omnipresent this spring. Maintain the trend in warmer weather by wearing floaty tops, tank-style dresses or swingy skirts in bright hues. If you want to try the bright color trend, but are a little hesitant to abandon your tried-and-true neutrals, test the waters by toting a bright bag or slipping on a hot-hued pair of sandals. A great accessory to try: the Los Feliz Beverly Tote from L.A.M.B, which is $395 at or at the Tyson’s Corner Center Nordstrom.

If you’re ready to jump right in and take the plunge, add a piece in a neon shade. In order to avoid a full-on 80s vibe, pair neons and bright pieces (like this Alexander Wang Pebbled Knit Tank, $207, at or Georgetown’s Cusp) with subtle neutrals like khaki, gray or navy, and accessorize with simple gold or silver jewelry, as seen below:

Embellished pieces

Last fall, tops, dresses and accessories adorned with jewels ruled the runways – and retail racks. This trend is still going strong for spring, though in a slightly more subtle manner. Your best bet: tops and dresses with necklines decorated with delicate jewels, metallic studs or graphic, metallic sequins. My (ultra-affordable) picks: Studded Knit Dress, $32.80, and Sequined Knit Tunic, $24.80, both available at or the Montgomery Mall location of Forever 21.

Gladiator Sandals

This Greek-inspired footwear was popular last spring, and will continue to show up in stores and on soles this year as well. For comfort, wear a flat style during the day, but for evening, kick your nighttime look up a notch with a high-heeled or wedge version. For the most flattering, leg-lengthening look, choose a pair with a thin ankle-strap. My picks: Nine West’s Sulliban Sandal, $89, and Jobilyn Sandal, $79, both available at or at the White Flint Mall location of Nine West.

3 Key pieces to add

A neutral bag

Last season, snow white bags were seen on the arms nearly celeb lunching at The Ivy. This season, however, neutral bags in bone, gray and beige are the white-hot way to finish your outfit. My picks: the Kooba Lola Tote, $645, and Marc by Marc Jacobs Turnlock Teri Tote, $428, all available at or the Chevy Chase Bloomingdale’s.

Light denim

Dark denim is still chic (and, of course, slimming), but this season, try trading in your trusty indigo jeans for paler-hued versions. Avoid going super-light and instead opt for a cool chambray shade. Wider-leg styles are in, as are boot-cut and skinny-leg varieties, so choose the style you find most flattering for your body type. My pick: J Brand Love Story Jeans in Summer, $179, or Bethesda’s Denim Bar.

Ethnic prints

Ikat, batik and tie-dye, looks most commonly associated with the 70s love child look, are suddenly fresh and fun. Ease them into your wardrobe without looking like a Deadhead by pairing a top with tailored, trouser-style jeans. My picks: Nieves Lavi V-Neck Poncho, $132 and Yaya Aflalo Solar Tunic, $294, both available at and Gerogetown’s Urban Chic.

3 Looks to Lose (at least for now)

Mod-inspired fashions

The 60s pop art look has come and gone, so shelve your graphic prints for now and instead opt for an ethnic print or an acid-hued bright.

Bermuda-length shorts

Time to (ugh) hit that Stairmaster, because shorts hemlines are rising faster than Google stock. Knee-length Bermuda shorts are out, and have been replaced by mid-thigh and shorter varieties.

Corset belts

Shelve your thick & chunky corset belts for now and instead cinch your favorite dress or tunic with a skinny belt, preferably in a bright shade of patent leather.

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Posted by Chelsea on January 09, 2008

This Saturday, DC/Baltimore boutique Urban Chic (one of my absolute favorites) is having their big one-day sale! If you shop between between 10:00 am and 1:00 pm, you’ll enjoy 55% off red dot items from designers like Rebecca Taylor, Tory Burch and Kooba.

If you’re in DC, visit the Georgetown location at 1626 Wisconsin Avenue. If you’re a Baltimore gal, check out the store at 811 Aliceanne Street. Bethesda and Annapolis locations are coming soon - woo hoo!

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Posted by Chelsea on January 03, 2008

Need a little de-stressing after the holiday season? Why not treat yourself to a relaxing facial, massage, manicure or new ‘do? I know it’s tough getting away, but leaving your kids with family, friends or your significant other for an hour or two so you can get a little “you time” can be really rejuvenating.

If you need a recommendation for a good spa in your area, check out this guide that I recently wrote for The Family Groove on the best spas and salons across the country. If you live in the NYC, DC, San Francisco, Seattle, Atlanta, Chicago , Los Angeles or Boston areas, I’ve got some great suggestions on places to visit. If you live elsewhere and need a getaway, email me at and I’ll help you find a great spa or salon in your area.

Now go make an appointment, already!

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Posted by Chelsea on October 25, 2007

The ‘08 election won’t take place for another year, but it’s never too early to start campaigning for your favorite candidate - especially when said campaigning involves purchasing new clothes. In the Thursday Styles section of today’s New York Times, there’s an article about cool campaign wear for adults. Why, though, should you stop with just dressing yourself all blue or (gasp) red? I’m all for using your kids as little political statements too.

I live in DC, so all things political are sort of the norm here. I’m a big ‘ol Democrat, so naturally, I buy things for my kid that reflect such. Here are some examples:

When my son was 4 months old, he ate his first solid food wearing this bib, which I got at Washington National airport.

I also used to outfit him in these shoes from (the ones on the left, of course). When I took him to vote with me last November, he was wearing them, and got sorts of oohs and aahs at our true-blue polling place.

There are some seriously cute - and witty - items available to show your support for your favorite ‘08 Presidential candidate. Here are some of my personal faves:

The “My Mama’s for Obama” tee from ($16-18).

I worship this “A woman for President? Has the world gone sane?”
bib from ($9.99).

Kinda diggin’  this “Bill for First Lady” onesie from too ($13.99).

And, of course, lest we leave out the Rebublicans, the Cheney/Voldemort baseball-style tee from ($22.99).


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Posted by Chelsea on October 01, 2007

Tickets for the January Hannah Montana (played by teen “sensation” Miley Cyrus) concert at Washington, DC’s Verizon Center sold out this past Saturday in 12 minutes, faster than the sale of tickets to the Bruce Springsteen show.

Missed the boat? Tickets to the show are currently available on ebay for around $750 (face value price for the tickets did not exceed $66).

Miley, in response to the mayhem,  was overheard asking, “Who’s the ‘boss’ now, bitch?”

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Posted by Chelsea on August 17, 2007

If this is true (and I doubt it is), it would be hilarious!

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Posted by Chelsea on August 16, 2007

According to a press release distributed today by First Lady Laura Bush, First Daughter/hard-partying, underage drinking, former sorority girl turned “teacher” Jenna Bush has become engaged to Henry “Hank” Hager.

Hank comes from quite a “reputable” background: a former White House aide to presidential advisor/king of all evil Karl Rove, he is the son of tobacco executive and chairman of the Republican Party of Virginia, John Hager. Nothin’ like two families with histories of manufacturing knowingly cancerous products, keeping the man down and all sorts of other evildoings joining forces!

While I wish Jenna and Hank nothing but happiness, if my son told me he were marrying a woman with these credentials, I’d vomit for a week straight.

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