Musings About Life... After Birth



Posted by Chelsea on February 08, 2010

I’ve waxed on and on about how much I love Erin Condren stationery…it’s graphic and modern, yet still classically sweet and traditional. A couple of years ago I sent out personalized Valentine’s Cards from her Valentine’s Day line (she has all sorts of other seasonal card offerings too), and they were a huge hit. This year, I didn’t quite get my tush in gear (blame it on the thousands of feet of snow we’ve been getting here in D.C.). Instead, I’m sending out good ‘ol Hallmark cards, but I’m attaching some of Erin’s customized heart labels on the envelopes. Here are some of the styles she offers:

They’re $20 for 25 labels, and if you order today, you can still get them in time for Valentine’s Day! Visit to order. Want to win a set? Email me at and tell me who your Valentine is! One winner will be chosen at random.

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Posted by Chelsea on December 09, 2009

What’s that old saying about houseguests being like fish…both start to stink after a few days? If you need some help on handling houseguests this holiday season, there are some great tips currently up on The Family Groove. Check them out below, and be sure to check out the site for all sorts of other fantastic holiday survival advice.

Guest Room Basics

Start with a quick round of season’s cleaning! There’s no time like the present to go through (toss, organize, donate or recycle) all of your stuff. You know, the stuff that you forgot you had that’s taking up space in the attic, basement, closets, cabinets, etc.

Be sure to give your guests a place to unpack in both drawers and the closet. Provide several empty hangers and either a bench or a stand for their suitcase, too.

Be sure the bed you give your guests is a comfortable one. If you have an old mattress, invest in a topper for added plushness. Fresh sheets and pillows—that are in good shape!—are a must. Provide a quality comforter or duvet and extra blankets.

The bedside table should have a lamp for reading, flowers in a small vase, magazines, books, paper and a pen. Other basics of fine hospitality include a pitcher of water and a glass. A clock and music, either an iPod docking station or Sirius radio, will make your guest feel right at home.

Hang a bathrobe on the back of the door and stack fresh towels in the bathroom. Be sure the shower has shampoo, conditioner and shower gel.

Consider purchasing and having your guest’s favorite tea on hand. Or if your guest favors a particular cocktail, have all the mixings ready to get him or her into the holiday spirit!

Bring a little holiday décor right to their door by placing a wreath or door ornament on their door handle and/or placing a bowl of sparkling ornaments on a tabletop in their room.

Room fragrance or a scented candle keep the air fresh. A small bowl of candy is also a sweet touch.
Just remember: Whether you choose to incorporate some, a few or all of these tips, the idea is to make your guest(s) feel at home.

Colleen Mullaney has enjoyed a long and dynamic career devoted to style and entertaining. Whether it be through her many published works or with her friends and family, Colleen has made it her passion to bring style to the world through floral design, home decorating and crafting. Colleen is a former editor in chief of Family Circle Homecrafts, FTD In Bloom and Jo-Ann magazines. Most recently, she partnered with Chris Madden on the launch of her magazine At Home with Chris Madden.

Her books include Shells, Faux Fabulous Florals (Sixth&Spring) and her popular Punch (in its third printing with Chronicle Books; more than 30,000 copies have been sold in such outlets as Williams-Sonoma and Anthropologie). Colleen will celebrate her take on bridal with One-of-a-Kind Weddings (Creative Publishing) as well as the global entertaining landscape with It’s 5 o’clock Somewhere (Sixth&Spring). Colleen has created interiors for residential and commercial spaces, and she’s designed cottage gardens and floral arrangements for clients up and down the East Coast. You can also see her work in full color on HGTV’s Insider’s Garden and soon on the web with a yet-to-be-announced project. Colleen lives in Westchester, N.Y., with her husband and three children, where she is constantly hosting playdates and dinner parties, toiling in the garden, and working on future projects.

For more from Colleen, go to

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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 November 12, 2008

Robeez, the makers of those little shoes you know you all put on your babies, recently launched its fourth annual Season of Giving campaign, a charitable initiative to donate shoes to infants in need during the holiday season. Here’s how it works: For every Happy Holidays e-card sent from the Season of Giving website, Robeez will make a $5 product donation via its charitable partner, Kids in Distressed Situations (K.I.D.S.). It’s easy: one card = $5 worth of Robeez footwear; 10 cards = $50 worth of Robeez footwear, and on and on!

A little bonus: For taking the time to send an e-card, Robeez is offering senders a chance to win one of seven new Shoes and Socks Gift Sets. The initiative ends December 20. It only takes a few minutes, so visit and help others keep their feet warm this winter.

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Posted by Chelsea on November 29, 2007

As my 5th grade teacher used to say, times flies when you’re having fun…and even when you’re not. Do you believe that it’s almost Chanukah? And Christmas is right around the corner. Damn, when did December happen?

This past weekend I realized I needed to get my butt in gear and get my holiday cards ordered already. I’m a big fan of photo cards - especially when you have kids. It’s always fun to show off how cute your kid is and when you get others’ cards, see how everyone’s kid has grown since last year.

For my son’s first holiday season, when he was only a couple of months old, I sent out photo cards (I ordered them off with this photo:

Yes, I am a clone of my father

Though my son is not named Rick Jr. after his father, when I was pregnant with him, I referred to him as “Rick Jr.” because I knew he was a boy and I thought it was funny, particularly because Jewish people don’t name for those who are alive. We think it’s bad luck or something, and instead name for someone who has passed away. Though using your deceased relative’s actual name works, of course, you can use the name’s first letter. So, if your late grandpa was Mordecai, you’re not screwed; Max (or Meredith) is sufficient. Additionally, if you are having a hard time picking an “M” name you like (or you didn’t really like your grandpa that much but your mom is going to “die a thousand deaths” if you don’t honor him), the middle name works too.

Anyway, I digress….so, I guess I referred to this baby as Rick Jr. so much that one of my mom’s good friends actually thought I was naming my son Rick Jr., and purchased this pillow for me. I included it in his nursery, thinking it was so cute and a good reminder of what I called him in utero. Well, when he came out, he WAS (and, naturally, still remains) Rick Jr.  As I’ve lamented before, he’s a clone of my husband.  Therefore, the pillow - and the card -  was all the funnier.

Last year, I sent out a GORGEOUS card from Tiny Prints with a black and white version of this photo of my son, my husband and myself (with that annoying lock of hair over my forehead Photoshopped out) from our annual Cape Cod trip:

Be careful - these Bostonians will shoot you for wearing that hat, Dad!

This year, I chose another cool card from, and I have to say, it’s my favorite holiday card yet. I’ll post it later so as to not ruin the surprise for those who will be receiving it, but I gotta tell you, it is really cute.

If you’re needing to order some holiday cards for yourself (and seriously, if you haven’t yet done it - you need to do it soon, people!), I definitely recommend checking out Not only are its cards reasonably-priced, but have it has a selection of cards designed by well-known artists/personalities like avalisa, Martha Stewart, Stacy Claire Boyd and Shirley Lee. Additionally, Kodak Gallery has all sorts of beautiful cards (and photo gifts) too. A word to the wise: before ordering your photo cards from a big-time online vendor, check the site’s homepage or for discount codes - if you order early enough, you can often get 20-30% off your order!

If you’re looking for something different, check out Simply Silhouettes. Their cards are so cool; you take a picture of your child or childrens’ profile/s, which they turn into silhouettes and then place them on a card, like this:

or this

Happy holidays (and card making!).

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Posted by Chelsea on November 01, 2007

Thankfully, this Halloween the Kaplans avoided the costume scandal of last year. Luckily, I got it right this time by purchasing with a seriously adorable Batman getup for my son. Not the most original, I know, but is there anything cuter than a little boy in a Batman costume? I think not.

While I imagined he’d look cute in the costume, I was concerned that my son would not be into donning the best parts of it - the cape and the mask. Fortunately, however, he didn’t protest about either. Phew!

By the time we were ready to go trick or treating, Batman was WIRED. He had no nap yesterday (too much excitement, I guess) and had eaten like 3 packages of Whoppers.

Here are some photos of all the Halloween glory:

Having a few more Whoppers before going out

Batman with his weapon of choice, a plastic pumpkin

Riding his version of the Batmobile

Getting ready to go out, minus his hat

Trick or treating/saving the neighborhood with Dad

Back at home, saving the rug from fuzz balls

And kissing Mommy, the biggest superhero of all, right?

Hope everyone had a great Halloween!

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