Musings About Life... After Birth



Posted by Chelsea on February 22, 2010

Each month on The Family Groove, I pen a column where I list the coolest lifestyle and home goods I see each month. (As a journalist, each day I get all sorts of info in press releases and even samples that I get to check out, all so I can report back to our readers, giving the yea or nay on everything! I know, it’s rough.) Here’s what I’m loving this month:

Vive’s Chaos to Connection Parenting Program

Kids—and teenagers especially—don’t come with instruction books, but if they did, I have a feeling the books would look a lot like the step-by-step Chaos to Connection parenting package from Vive, a group of mentors and parent coaches who work to ensure family wellness and healing. The parenting package includes a parenting workbook, four instructional parenting videos and real-time support from parent support coordinators—all of which offer practical parenting concepts and real-life strategies to help you, your kids and your family handle real-life situations.


Dyson DC31 Handheld Vacuum

I’ve mentioned before that I’m a loyal Dyson vacuum girl, so when it came time for me to purchase a handheld unit to attack the Craisins, Cheerios and cheese cubes that perpetually litter my kitchen floor (and, admittedly, that of my car as well), I knew I couldn’t get some crappy ol’ Dustbuster. So I checked out Dyson’s latest model, a seriously cool-looking handheld vacuum ideal for quick pickups and spot cleaning. It features a dual power mode that gives longer run time for large jobs and extra suction for stubborn dirt. This thing is no joke, folks. It sucks in a good way, and renders my home and car spotless. If only every gadget in my life were this reliable and efficient…


Harumika Runway Showstopper Set

I’m convinced that the seeds for my fashion junkie-hood were sown in the ’80s when someone gave me a set of Fashion Plates, thin plastic plates that you aligned on a board, covered with paper and then rubbed over with colored pencils, creating a decidedly Lynda Carter-esque woman with interchangeable outfits. The (far superior) equivalent for our kids’ generation is undoubtedly Harumika’s Runway Showstopper Set. Budding Donna Karans (or Giorgio Armanis) can make fashion design easy and fun with the included pink dress form, stylus design tool, chic signature fabrics and fashion accessories. With the included Harumika camera, kids can take pictures of their favorite designs and upload them to the Harumika website to share their designs with friends, join a fashion show and feature the styles in their very own online “Look Book.” Any shot my truck-obsessed little boys will indulge me and give it a whirl?


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Posted by Chelsea on December 04, 2009

Purchasing gifts for others is never easy. Whether it’s the holidays or any time, really, sometimes, you just need someone to point you in the right direction. The Family Groove has an AWESOME feature up right now with gift guide for nearly every person on your list. Check’ em out, here. There are 18 (18!) total, so you have no excuse to send gift certificates this holiday season. Consider yourself informed.

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Posted by Chelsea on December 02, 2009

This afternoon at 2:15 p.m. EST on XM 155 or Sirius 102, I’ll be joining Broads Molly and Christine to share some of my favorite hostess and teacher (or really, anyone who you feel needs a small token of your appreciation) gift ideas! Here’s what we’ll be checking out:

1) Fresh Frankincense, Myrrh and Gold Oval Soap and Petite Candle Trios, $45 each, or

I get the gold, but who knows what the deal was with the original gifts of frankincense and myrrh? These collections of artisanal, triple-milled, pure vegetable soaps and candles with lead-free wicks, however, leave no room for interpretation. Laced with absolutely delicious, season-inspired scents , each set, which comes in a gift-ready box, is undoubtedly a precious gift.

2) “The Best Casserole Cookbook Ever” and Slow Cooker: The Best Cookbook Ever, $16.47 each,

Don’t hate on the way your mom used to make dinner — casserole and slow-cooker cooking is very 2010 (not to mention, convenient. These two books make 70’s-era cuisine gourmet again, and offer tasty, healthy recipes for quick and easy, yet totally elegant meals.

3) Jo Malone Tea Box Deluxe Candle Collection, $395,

The perfect “from the whole office” gift, this limited-edition keepsake is extremely indulgent and luxurious. Nestled in a beautifully textured cream-colored tea box are three uniquely scented deluxe candles complete with engraved Jo Malone candle lids and a silver-plated wick trimmer and candle snuffer. The candle scents include Eau de Cologne, Parma Violets and Sweet Almond Macaroon.


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Posted by Chelsea on October 14, 2009

We at the Kaplan house are BIG Playmobil fans. My boys adore the cute little figurines and vehicles from the German toy institution - especially dinosaurs and the “rescue” vehicles like the rescue helicopter and the ambulance. I like Playmobil toys because the quality is really good, and they’re generally free from all the annoying sounds and blinking lights you find on most mass-market American toys - a HUGE bonus, as far as I’m concerned.

Recently, Playmobil released an interactive DVD movie called “The Secret of Pirate Island”. Essentially, it’s a DVD version of those old-school “Choose Your Own Adventure” books, allowing your kid(s) to join young adventurers Jack and Amelia as they stowaway on a pirate ship headed for the mysterious Pirate Island, where treasure and adventure awaits them. To see the trailer, download coloring sheets and play games related to the movie, click here. It’s way, way cool.

To celebreate the DVD, we’ve got two great playmobil sets to give away. The first two readers to send me an email at telling me their child’s favorite playmobil toy will win!

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Posted by Chelsea on April 23, 2009

Unsure of what to give your favorite mamas this mother’s day? Here’s a great charitable idea:

Women escaping abuse aren’t treated to gifts, cards and brunches on Mother’s Day, so each year JWI’s Mother’s Day Flower Project reminds them that they are remembered on Mother’s Day by sending beautiful bouquets to 150 shelters nationwide. In order to fund this effort, JWI relies on donations. For each $25 you give to the Flower Project, JWI will mail a beautiful Mother’s Day card to a woman you designate – a mother, daughter, sister or friend – to let her know that she inspired your donation. Last year, I donated and had cards sent to my mother and mother-in-law, and this year I’m doing it for my two grandmas too.

The Flower Project extends far beyond Mother’s Day, funding many critical JWI programs that work year-round to break the cycle of abuse through community education, financial literacy, and much more. Of course, as a Jewish woman, I am that much more interested in donating to JWI’s Mother’s Day Flower Project, but regardless of your religion (or gender, for that matter), it’s an organization worth supporting.

To send a Mother’s Day card and support the Mother’s Day Flower Project, click here.

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Posted by Chelsea on December 10, 2008

Need a good new baby gift or wee one holiday gift? If buying something adorable and doing good is your bag, you must get yourself over to From Dec. 17-31, the makers of that gorgeous children’s footwear are reducing the price of select shoe styles and then donating 50 percent of the sales from said shoes to the Make-A-Wish Foundation. So far, pediped has raised more than $87,000, enough to grant the wishes of 12 children with life-threatening medical conditions.

For more information, visit

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Posted by Chelsea on December 09, 2008

Choosing gifts for all of the loved ones on your list can be tough - especially when your wallet’s a little lighter than it’s been in years past. In the market for some cool, sure-to-please gifts that offer a big bang for your buck? As always, I’m here to help!

This afternoon (Tuesday) at 1:00 PM EST, I’ll be joining Broads Molly and Christine of Sirius and XM Radio’s “Broadminded” (tune in on XM Channel 155 and Sirius Channel 120!) to discuss my favorite holiday gift suggestions - nearly all of which are under $50! Here they are, below:

1) The Perfect Cashmere Robe, $35,

This snuggly soft cashmere-blend robe (which comes boxed and gift-ready) is seriously luxe - especially considering the price. For and extra $29, you can add the matching slippers.

2) Erin Condren 2009 Family Calendar, $40,

This personalized 11.5” x 17.5” 16-month calendar from whimsically wonderful designer Erin Condren features a centered hole punch for easy hanging and is backed with heavy-duty acrylic should you prefer to rest on any cookbook holder in the kitchen for easy viewing. Its front page is an info guide you can complete with valuable information for babysitters or housesitters. Also included are 216 colorful circle stickers to highlight birthdays, vacations, doctor’s appointments, & more. You can also use the colorful “blank” stickers to create your own color-coded system. Each month features a different bright design and inspirational quote. For an extra $48, you can add a matching life planner. Can’t get enough Erin? Check out the ultra-affordable line of holiday cards she created for

3) C.O. Bigelow Barber After-Shave Balms in Elixir Blue, Green, Red and Black, $10 each,

He’ll love these stocking-ready aromatic, after-shave moisture lotions for just-shaved skin are formulated with healing aloe vera and cooling, calming extracts to ease skin discomforts and promote healing of minor nicks and cuts. And the fragrances….so subtle and classic.

4) Chesapeake Bay Candle’s Green Bamboo Jasmine Home Set, $60,

This clean-smelling fragrance set contains one 7 oz. soy wax filled candle in a silkscreened glass vessel, one silkscreened mini diffuser bottle and set of reeds, one 100 ml bottle of fragrance oil and one embossed ceramic fragrance ball (containing sachet with scented beads). It’s an ideal hostess gift or gift for your boss.

5) Nuvo Sparkling Liqueur, $30 for 750 ml,

This pink sparkling liqueur is made with vodka and a small amount of delicate French sparkling wine (chardonnay with a touch of pinot noir), natural raspberry, peach and strawberry fruit nectars.  It can be enjoyed chilled over ice in a champagne flute, or served over a pink sugar-rimmed glass of ice with a splash of Prosecco. Housed in a chic bottle that is reminiscent of luxury perfume bottles, it’s the perfect hostess gift.

6) Lavanilla’s The Healthy Candle, $32,

An ideal gift for your favorite greenie, this good-enough-to-eat candle is all natural, non-allergenic, non-toxic, and eco-friendly, burning clean to create a safe and healthy environment without releasing harmful smoke, pollutants, toxins, or soot into the air you breathe. My favorite scent: Vanilla Coconut.

7) Trish McEvoy Snowdrop & Crystal Flower Roll-on Eau de Toilette, $20,


This elegant, roll-on fragrance, a romantic, modern blend of white narcissus, snowdrop flowers and crystal musk, is a pocket-perfect Trish fragrance. Encased in a pretty organza drawstring pouch, it’s perfect to slip in a stocking or give as an elegant gift. 

8) Lambie Sleep Blanket, $35,

Your favorite little guy or gal will love wrapping up in this big, snuggly blanket all winter long.

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Posted by Chelsea on February 12, 2008

Catch me at 7:30 PM EST tonight on WBAL Baltimore’s “Sportsline with Steve Davis: Show. To listen in, go here and then click on the “listen live” button on the top left-hand corner of the page.

I’ll be discussing last-minute Valentine’s Day Gifts for guys who’ve waited until the 11th hour to buy something for their Valentines (come on guys….you know who you are). My tip: think outside the (chocolate-filled) box with these new twists on old favorites:

Chocolates: Instead of giving your sweetie a heart-shaped Whitman’s Sampler box (because eww…those aren’t even good), why not consider signing him or her up for Zingerman’s, an unreal good bakery/gourmet food emporium in Ann Arbor, MI, brownie-of-the-month club? Varieties include the insanely addictive magic brownies, orange almond brownies, pecan blondies and genuinely ginger brownies, just to name a few. Prices start at $84 for a 3-month subscription, and vary depending on the subscription length and/or number of brownies you desire. Visit to order.

Flowers: Sending a dozen red roses is so cliche - not to mention expensive. Why not think outside the (green, tissue paper-lined) box and instead send a bouquet of red tulips? For a mere $40, you can get 20 stems from She’ll love your originality. And because they’re from Martha, you know they’re gonna be beautiful…

A love note: Want to express your love in an unconventional way? For an irreverent take on the traditional love note, simply pen your thoughts and then send them to and pay 30 Euros (roughly $44), and they’ll spray paint your message on the West-Bank Barrier in Palestine. You and your recipient each get three digital photos of your message emailed to you. Not so into graffiti? Why not get her a personalized set of note cards from my new favorite stationery designer, Erin Condren ($38 for a set of 20 personalized notes, envelopes and address labels,

....and because we’re talking to sports fans:

If your Valentine loves sports, why not get her (or him - ladies, we know we sometimes wait until the last minute sometimes too!) her own little piece of sports history? offers cuff links and pendants fashioned out of stadium seats salvaged from famous ballparks like Baltimore Memorial/Busch Stadium, Yankee Stadium, Fenway Park, RFK Stadium, etc. $150-230,

With these ideas, you really have no excuse to forgo gift giving this Valentine’s Day…

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Posted by Chelsea on February 12, 2008

I am obsessed with stationery. I love cute little note cards, envelopes and address labels - especially if they are personalized. In this age of email, googlechat and Facebook (Momtourage members Jen and Hallie suckered me into setting up my own page, even though I’m still convinced it’s mainly for high schoolers and college kids), isn’t it nice to receive a handwritten note in the good old fashioned mail?

I recently came across the ultra cool stationery and cards from Erin Condren. It’s graphic and modern, yet still classically sweet and traditional. This Valentine’s Day I sent out personalized Valentine’s Cards from her Valentine’s Day line (she has all sorts of other seasonal card offerings too). I don’t want to spoil it for those who will be receiving them, so I won’t reveal which ones I chose, but here are a few of her V-day styles, all of which come with coordinating address labels:

How cute is this? For just $26, you get 12 personalized cards, envelopes and matching address labels.

I love this “Love Grows” one too…$38 for 20 personalized cards, envelopes and address labels.

Erin also makes amazing personalized note cards, calling cards, gift labels and calendars (in addition to gift wrap, announcements and all sorts of other goodies):

“Double Dip” flat notecards, $38 for a set of 20 personalized cards, envelopes and matching address labels.

Don’t you think a personalized set of one of the above would make an amazing gift for your mom, friend, sister or wife? Soooo much cooler than flowers or chocolate, no? You may have missed the deadline for a Valentine’s Day delivery, but you can always print out an image of the cards and tuck it onto a valentine, letting the one you love know what’s on the way. Visit to order yours!


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