May at GHK.com



Summer has just barely started, but I'm already starting to think about back-to-school. Like many adults, I still find shopping for supplies to be a small pleasure, so I threw many of my favorites into a gallery of teacher gifts. 


25 Dorm Room Essentials Every College Student Needs



But beyond the pencils and the books, I also wrote these stories.

Health/Safety

What Is Surrogacy? The Process, Types, and Costs, Explained by Experts

The 5 Best Toddler Swim Safety Tips, According to Swim Experts

Entertainment

Jennifer Lopez's Young Daughter Just Blew Us All Away With Her Amazing Singing Voice

All 21 Pixar Movies, Ranked From Best to Worst





April at GHK.com!



April was another month full of a little of everything: Some interviews, some fun round-ups, some quickie news items. One project I really enjoyed involved digging into research into different parenting styles, and how they help or hurt kids in the long run. I even got to be on WBAL-AM to talk about "lawnmower" parenting. (Listen below!) I'm trying to take these lessons to heart and not hover on the playground, but it's hard.




Health and Safety


Entertainment



Autism Awareness Month

Sesame Street Launches New Material Starring Julia and Her Family in Honor of Autism Awareness Month

10 Things Parents of Kids With Autism Spectrum Disorder Wish You Knew

Shopping

Here's How Walmart's New Baby Registry Actually Works

Rent the Runway Just Launched a New Rental Service for Kids' Special-Occasion Clothes

15 Mother’s Day Mugs That Are Better Than the Ones That Say “World’s Best Mom”

Etc

Dole Is Releasing a New Smoothie Bowl That Tastes Just Like Dole Whip


In Honor of Equal Pay Day, Here Are the Jobs With the Smallest Wage Gaps for Women

The Best Camping Activities for Families to Try This Season

And then I didn't write these, but I had the pleasure of assigning/editing them:

I Cried When I Found Out I Was Having Boys
I love this essay. Jackie Goldschneider gets really honest about gender disappointment, and how it's not about the baby — it's about letting go of her vision of motherhood.

I Don't Want to Make "Mom Friends." Can I Just Stay Home Alone?
Another really brutally honest reckoning with one aspect of motherhood. 

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

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


DVD Review: God Help the Girl


...But while the songs come often, to call the movie a thin wrap-around narrative for music videos is to be too dismissive; Murdoch is equally concerned with the look of the picture; there is a handmade quality to the filmmaking. Murdoch described the movie to an audience at a Q&A in New York City as bringing the aesthetic of a Belle and Sebastian album cover to life. Everything looks perfectly retro, all Breton stripes and Peter Pan collars, as if the movie were unearthed whole while rummaging in a well curated vintage store. Though it may be stylish and stylized, that’s not to say it’s aloof or ultra-serious; there’s a lot of playfulness here, and Murdoch takes every opportunity to slip in a visual joke without commenting on it, like casually standing one of his characters in front of a store mannequin dressed exactly like him...

Bustle Catch-Up

I've been behind in posting my Bustle articles—very behind—but here are some of my favorite posts I've done in the meantime:

Mad Men Season 7 Premiere "Severance" Has An Ominous Title, But Does It Actually Tell Us Anything?

15 Selina Meyer Quotes That Prove The President (Yeah, President!) Has The Perfect Thing To Say In Every Situation

As Justified Rides Off Into The Sunset, Here's What's Going Ro Be Missed The Most

Aquarius Lead Sam Hodiak Vs. Fox Mulder: They Have More Than David Duchovny In Common

Halt And Catch Fire Season 2 Emphasizes The Women Of The Show & We Couldn't Be More Excited

Here are the rest of the TV shows I've covered since I last posted:

AD: The Bible Continues (2); Agent Carter (2, 3); American Odyssey; The Americans; Aquarius (2, 3); Battle Creek; BetweenBlack-ishThe Blacklist;  Blood, Sweat, and Heels; Brides Gone StyledCatfish; The Casual Vacancy; Cleveland Abduction; The Critics' Choice Awards; The 87th Academy Awards (2); Dancing with the StarsEmpire (2, 3, 4); Gotham; 500 QuestionsForever; Halt and Catch FireHindsight; The Josh Wolf ShowLake Placid vs. Anaconda; Labor GamesThe Last Man on Earth (2); Little Women: NY (2); The Lizzie Borden Chronicles (2); Mad Men; The  Making of the Mob: New York (2); The MessengersMTV's ScreamNew Girl (2, 3); Nickelodeon's Kids Choice Awards; Orange Is the New BlackParks and Recreation; The Prancing Elites; ProofThe Returned (2); Saturday Night Live (2, 3); Seeds of Yesterday; Sense8Shark Tank; StitchersSons of WinterSwab Stories; Texas Rising'Til Death Do Us Part; The Tony Awards12 Monkeys; Turn: Washington's Spies (2); UndateableWeird Loners; The Willis Family

I also got to spoil Fifty Shades of Grey for people who didn't want to watch the movie and just wanted to know if the ending deviated from the book.

Image: Justina Mintz/AMC

The A.V. Club: Film Essay

For its 1995-themed week, The A.V. Club let me write about one of my favorite film subgenres: mid-'90s internet paranoia movies. 

1995 Marked the Birth of Internet-Paranoia Films

"...The internet and virtual-reality films of 1995 also show the emergence of a problem that filmmakers are still struggling with today: how to represent a digital world on screen. You can see early attempts to create some sort of cohesive visual language to stand in for the internet. Status bars, for example, are used in more than one of these movies as a quick way to ratchet up tension; the heroes have to wait until the bar reaches 100 percent before they can flee to safety. It’s a cheap thrill, and one we sadly haven’t outgrown yet.

Mostly, though, attempts to create a new look for the internet are hideous, trafficking in cheesy, psychedelic swirls of numbers and symbols and environments that look like video games circa Nintendo 64. Hackers andVirtuosity both fall victim to the allure of pop-art colors: Virtuosity makes is virtual exit quickly, bringing SID 6.7 into the real world, but Hackers often goes into the “architecture” of circuitry, with skyscrapers of squares and rectangles standing in for the systems they’re trying to break into, and dreamy-looking equations standing in for the data they want to collect. Today, it looks dated..."

Click through to read the full essay at The A.V. Club, or download the PDF.

DVD Review: Annabelle

You Can't Sink Your Teeth Into Any of the Ideas in 'Annabelle'

...With a period setting and a story centered on family, it seems like Annabelle is attempting to replicate some of the The Conjuring‘s strengths; it also duplicates the first film’s eerie moods and tense setpieces. In some places, it succeeds; Leonetti makes great use of deep focus, with threatening figures crossing the way, way back of the frame. These moments are startling without resorting to the typical, easy jump scares.

Leonetti doesn’t have Wan’s way with imagery, however, and these moments fail to build on one another. It seems at times like Annabelle is trying to imply that domesticity itself is under attack: sewing machines start by themselves, a bedroom television can’t get reception, and baby dolls are tampered with. But then it finds itself dabbling in pretty much any kind of horror-movie elements it can get its hands on, throwing in all different kinds of religious symbolism, other creepy children who have barely anything to do with the story, and an all-knowing bookstore owner (a thankless role for Alfre Woodard), so that its message, such as it is, becomes diluted....

Click through to read the full review at PopMatters.