How Is It March Already?

The beginning of the year brought a little of everything, from quick news and service to holidays to first-person essays — even my old hat as a weddings editor popped back on. And, of course, Baby Shark never goes away. But my two favorite pieces for January and February were these:

The Best Royal Movies to Help You Truly Understand the Monarchy

Kind of related to the Oscars — and movies like The Favourite and Mary, Queen of Scots — and kind of to satisfy my own curiosity, I challenged myself to see if I could trace the royal lineage from Elizabeth II to Elizabeth I just through movies. I was able to do it, though some were obscure. But now I know that Colin Firth from The King's Speech is the current Queen's father. 

We're Officially Calling Blume Dolls the Hottest Toy of 2019

This was the first year I got to attend Toy Fair, and scout out all of the hot new toys for the year. And while I saw lots of great things, these cuties leapt out as an early favorite.

News

Parents, The Momo Challenge Isn't the Video You Need to Be Worrying About on YouTube

The Hatching Baby Toothless Is the Perfect Gift For Your Aspiring Hiccup

The Disney+ Streaming Service Sounds Like It's Going to Be Every Parent's BFF

Andy Cohen Was Just Dad-Shamed for Taking His Newborn on an Airplane

'Riverdale' Star Mark Consuelos Dishes on What It Was Really Like Working With Kelly Ripa

Kristen Bell Shut Down an Instagram Follower Who Said She's "Exploiting" a Kid for Her New Line

Kairi, the New Gerber Baby for 2019, Just Made History

The U.S. Divorce Rate Is Going Down, and We Have Millennials to Thank

Terminally Ill Girl in Wisconsin Just Wants Letters From Your Dog

Service

3 Tricks That Calm a Crying Baby, According to a Researcher Who Surveyed 800+ Parents

This Dad’s Trick for Getting Picky Kids to Eat Is Brilliant

My Daughter Wouldn't Sleep Away From Home Until We Got This Toddler Travel Bed

6 Apps That Make Potty Training Way Easier Than a DIY Sticker Chart

16 Lego Storage Ideas That'll Keep Every Small Piece Organized

15 Best Stargazing Apps for iPhones and Androids

The Best Books About Self-Love, Because We All Need to Pump Ourselves Up

Holidays

Watch This 'Peppa Pig' Chinese New Year Sneak Peek With Your Kids Tonight

15 Best Hallmark Movies to Watch Before Valentine's Day

14 Baby Valentine's Day Outfits for Your True Sweetheart

Easy Valentine's Day Games Any Kid Will Love

40 Quotes About Broken Hearts That Are Just Too Real

The 20 Best Irish Movies to Watch for St. Patrick's Day

The Best Irish Movies on Netflix to Stream on St. Patrick's Day

Milestones

14 Gold Wedding Dresses for the Bride Who Wants to Sparkle

15 Pink Wedding Dresses for the Most Romantic Brides Out There

Inspiring Backyard Wedding Ideas for Casual Brides and Grooms

Neon Wedding Signs That Will Give Your Reception Some Electricity

14 DIY Floral Garland Ideas for Spring Parties and Weddings

15 Grazing Tables Ideas That Will Make Any Party Stand Out

13 Creative and Thoughtful Ways to Ask: Will You Be a Godparent?

18 Mesmerizing Number Cakes We Wish We Could Eat Right Now

16 Cheap Neon Signs That Add Major Personality to Your Space

30 Quotes About Change, Because We Never Stop Evolving

Baby Shark

So, Where Did This "Baby Shark" Song Come From, Anyway?

Baby Shark Toys, Books, and Shirts Are Taking Over the Internet

A Baby Shark Play-Doh Set Is in the Works Because the Craze Will Never End

The New Baby Shark Toy Will Dance Circles Around You

Assigned Essays

Their Son Tested Positive for Strep Throat. Then Came the Severe OCD, Anxiety, and Hallucinations.

14 Reasons Parenting Teenagers Is Better Than You Think It Will Be

I Didn't Appreciate My Mother-in-Law Until I Had a Daughter

December Content: Doo Doo Doo Doo Doodoo

If there's one benign scourge on parents, it's Pinkfong's "Baby Shark" song. It's beloved by toddlers, reviled by parents, and always stuck in someone's head. So, when I found out that Wowwee was making singing Baby Shark dolls, I wrote about it — and it's definitely the most viral piece I've ever written. When I retire, they're going to write "wrote the Baby Shark" piece on my plaque.

Singing Baby Shark Toys Are Here to Get That Song Stuck In Your Head Forever

Other pieces I wrote for December:

Gift guides: 15+ Adorable Stocking Stuffers for Toddlers, 20+ Gifts Your Toddler Wants to Unbox This Christmas

And the anti-gift guide: Attention Grandmas: It's Better for Kids to Have Fewer Toys (grandmas on Facebook HATED this story)

Entertainment: The Best Movies for Toddlers, When You Just Need to Take a Shower'Sesame Street' Just Introduced a New Character Who Is Experiencing HomelessnessThe 20 Best Romantic Movies on Netflix Right Now15 Movies to Watch on New Year's Eve, Because Going Out Is OverratedSee What Anne Geddes's First Baby Models Are Up to Now

Parenting-style explainers: What Is Permissive Parenting? Experts Say This Parenting Style Fails Kids, What Is Attachment Parenting? Parents and Children Share a Close Bond

More celebrations: 12 New Year's Traditions to Start With Your Family12 Awesome Things to Do on New Year's Day to Get 2019 Started RightGenius 1st Birthday Party Ideas to Celebrate Your First Year of Parenthood

Misc. parenting: These Will Be the Most Popular Baby Names in 201917 Parenting Memes That Make Moms and Dads Say, "It Me",

I also assigned some parenting essay from freelance writers that I particularly enjoyed:

I Raised Four Sons as a Single Mom. Now That They're Grown, I'm Off to Europe.

My Mother Died Before My Baby Was Born, But My Daughter Will Still Know Her

My Child Has a Severe Allergy, But I Secretly Ate Her Forbidden Food Anyway

November Content: Let's Redo the Kids' Rooms!

Just before heading into the big, December gift-giving season, I got to do a trio of kids-room interior design stories, and, man, kids today are lucky! I'd love to have any number of these rooms for myself. See the design trends for boys' rooms, girls' rooms, and nurseries below. (I tried to cover a range of aesthetics, but I just love all the geometric black-and-white rooms!

Other stories:

Gift guides started: See gifts for 1-year-olds, book lovers, grandparents, and teachers.Also, if you ever wanted a toy Dyson vacuum that looks just like the real thing, such a thing exists. 

Entertainment: 15+ Best Christmas Movies for Kids on Netflix16 Best Family Thanksgiving Movies on Netflix, Hulu, and More; 24 Kids' Movies Coming Out in 2019 That Are Worth a Trip to the Theater; We Scoured Infinity and Beyond for these 'Toy Story 4' Details

Parenting Explainers: What Is Authoritative Parenting?, What is Attachment Parenting?

Miscellaneous Parenting: These Are BabyCenter's Most Popular Baby Names of 2018 for Boys and GirlsRookie Moms and Dads: These 15 Parenting Books Will Turn You Pro 

Plus, a fun essay I didn't write, but got to assign and work on:

My Baby Completely Robbed Me of My Looks

October Content

As we head into November's midterms, I'm excited to share this piece:

These 10 Moms Running for Office Need You to Vote on November 6

I've been so inspired by all of the amazing women running for office this cycle — especially some of the groundbreaking mom candidates, who have done things like changed FEC regulations to allow campaign funds to be used for childcare costs or showed breastfeeding in campaign ads. I talked to 10 candidates, from both sides of the aisle, about why this election matters to mothers, and what it was like on the campaign trail with young kids.

Other than that, the holiday coverage is in full swing, so I got to do these pieces: 

Halloween

QUIZ: Could You Eat Your Way Through All of Disney's Halloween Treats?

10 Halloween Movies and Shows on Netflix That Won't Terrify Kids

And then, I didn't write this, but I'm proud to have assigned it. A husband-and-wife team wrote it, and they don't 100% agree.
Parents: Maybe Don't Buy Your Kid That Black Panther Costume This Halloween

Christmas

20 Easy Christmas Traditions to Start With Your Family

15 Ornaments That Celebrate Baby’s First Christmas

15 Classic Christmas Card Ideas to Send This Year

15 Best Christmas Movies for Kids on Netflix

20 Christmas Books for Kids That Aren't "The Night Before Christmas"

20 Books to Give Your Mom This Christmas

25 Gifts Your Toddler Wants to Unbox This Christmas

20 Adorable Stocking Stuffers for Toddlers

The Best Baby Gifts to Stack Under the Tree This Holiday

Etc.

Flu Symptoms in Kids Come Suddenly, But You Can Act Fast If You Know What to Look For

20 Best Baby Books for the Ultimate Nursery Library

How Caroll Spinney Amassed a Large Net Worth and So Much More From 'Sesame Street'

The Best Lullaby Music For Toddlers That'll Have Them Sleeping Like Teenagers

10 Adorable Mommy & Me Shoes for You and Your Kid

And then one more thing that I wrote before I started this gig finally got published. I love the mission of this organization:
Girls with Impact: Setting Up Teens for Success

New Gig Alert + September Stories

Big news! I've moved over to GoodHousekeeping.com as the website's new Parenting & Relationships Editor. I'm still on the same beat, doing my best to support all the moms out there, but at a new publication.

I've done a lot of editing and updating of the parenting content there so far, but I've also managed to write some of my own stories. 

I started off with my own opinion about Bert and Ernie (having done hours and hours of "research" with my daughter).

As the Mom of a Toddler, I Don't Need Bert and Ernie to Be Gay, but Kids Should See More Loving, Same-Sex Relationships on TV.
This headline is a hard one, and possibly misleading. I wrote about what it's like to watch the show now, in its half-hour format (it's very different from what it was like when we were kids!), and what I found so beautiful about the male friendship of Bert and Ernie in an era of toxic masculinity.

Then I went back to my pop-culture roots for some movie recommendations.

20 Best Kids Movies of All Time

20 Animated Movies You Need to Watch With Your Kids Before They Grow Up

30 Christmas Movies for Kids to Get the Whole Family in the Holiday Spirit

20 Best Kids Movies on Netflix Right Now

And then a few other fun round-ups.

The Cutest Outfits for Baby's First Thanksgiving
(This includes the Carter's turkey dress my daughter's worn for three years in a row—the same one she peed on three times her first Thanksgiving.) 

16 Best Pregnancy and Baby Books for Those First 40 Weeks (and Beyond)

The 10 Best Halloween Horror Nights of 2018


A Little Sizzle

Can you spot my quick quote in this video about what moms really want for Mother's Day? (I mean it: Keep the breakfast, just give me the bed!)

 

You can also catch a glimpse of me on Better Connecticut, which did a behind-the-scenes segment about putting together a magazine. I get my close-up at the 5:12 mark. I am paying attention to my production meeting very intently.

Parents Magazine — October, November, December

As 2017 comes to a close, here's a look back at some of the stories I've written in the last stretch of the year.

Plus one special feature that I didn't write, but had the pleasure of editing.

A New Look for Parents

Just wanted to pop in to urge everyone to check out the September issue of Parents magazine, which features a beautiful new redesign including a brand-new font! Just look at that lowercase "a!"

It's been an honor going through the redesign process for the front-of-book, and really rethinking what we want moms to experience when they open the magazine—finding that right mix of humor, service, and heart. Take a look at the September FOB and see what you think.

Before we launched our big redesign, I got to do a couple of super fun pieces for August that I'm particularly proud of, too.

A Hot Minute on Pandora

Disney World is on of my favorite places on Earth, so I was extremely excited to be one of the first to visit Pandora: The World of Avatar in Disney's Animal Kingdom for Parents. I had some tips on traveling there with the kiddos. 

"1. Carve out some time to just explore the land. You may think that, with only two rides, it'll be easy to breeze through Pandora, but there's a lot to be seen just by walking around the paths. One Disney expert I spoke with suggested that you plan on spending 45 minutes there in addition to the time you'll spend waiting on line for the attractions. Look for interactive elements, like playable Na'vi drums and exotic plants that steam and squirt water at guests.

2. Pandora looks completely different in the daytime, when you can see all the details of the extra-terrestrial flora, and at night, when the bioluminescence of the land gives everything a blacklit glow. It's worth it to see it in both lights. Animal Kingdom is looking to beef up its other nighttime offerings, like adding the new Rivers of Light show (which was sadly rained out for my visit). If the kiddos can't stay up that late, though, you can get a good idea of the bioluminescence in the Na'vi River Journey.

3. Talk with the cast members. Everybody has a tale of how they ended up on Pandora—you can start by asking them if they were born on Pandora or Earth. The "Field Guides" walking around can give you even more background about the world's creatures, teach you some of the Na'vi language, and offer hints about what you may see, like how to tell the difference between a true Na'vi and a lab-created avatar. (Hint: Count the fingers.)"

Click through to read the rest of the piece at Parents

Photo credit:  Kent Phillips/Disney