Lifestyle

Jen Hartford's Nursery Reveal

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Let’s be honest: life as a mom is busy! So busy that you probably don’t have time to research all the clothing that you get for your wee one. Jen Hartford knew this about all of us moms before being a mom herself. Which is why she created Noble Carriage, an online shop and platform where all the baby things are safe for baby and the world.

“The organic food movement has done a fantastic job of raising awareness about the harmful effects of pesticides and chemicals used to produce the food we eat, “Jen said. “These same practices are done to grow the cotton that we put on our baby’s fair skin. It’s my goal to raise awareness about this issue and to create a curated shop of all of the best organic and sustainably made baby clothing, toys and accessories that people can trust.”

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More than making it simple to shop for your baby responsibly, Jen’s store makes it pretty. Sure, all of the items are made with certified organic cotton and are free from harsh chemicals; but they are also super soft and with intricate and delicate designs, making your little one irresistibly cute all. of. the. time.

Of course, when Jen announced that she was expecting, we couldn’t wait to see her very own noble babe sporting all of the noble clothes. But we were even more eager to see how her taste for beautiful, eco-friendly design would transcend out of her shop and into her little one’s universe. So without further ado, here’s a sneak peek at Noble Carriage founder and mom boss Jen Hartford’s nursery.

1. Why did you decide to focus on environmentally sustainable and organic baby clothing/products? I started Noble Carriage as a way to address the growing concerns of sustainability in fashion and the harmful effects that this industry has on farmers, the environment, and ultimately the end consumer. This challenge is far greater than just one company can tackle, so I focused our efforts where we could have the most profound impact: babies.

2. How has your pregnancy affected the way you select the products that you sell on your site? My pregnancy, and the birth of my daughter Sofia, has already had a profound effect on the brands and products that we sell at Noble Carriage. So far, her biggest impact has been with our nursery assortment. It wasn’t until I began to plan Sofia’s nursery that I discovered the overabundance of things people tell you that you “need.” I would say I am a minimalist, so this helped me focus on the products that are truly needed in the nursery. Everyone is different, but it’s safe to say that there are only a handful of things that you actually need, so my goal with Noble Carriage is to simplify the product choices to help parents design a sustainable, safe and eco-friendly nursery.

3. How has working in the baby world shaped the way you feel about your soon-to-arrive bundle of joy? Working in the baby world made me realize that there’s nothing more valuable than finding and maintaining a community of trusted moms. When they say “it takes a village,” they aren’t kidding.

I knew that the physical and mental challenges of pregnancy and parenting would be tough, but I totally underestimated the emotional toll that babies can have on their parents. It’s impossible to prepare for the unknowns of pregnancy and childcare, which can quickly lead to confusion, frustration, and fear. I’m so lucky to have met so many wonderful women and mothers over the last few years who have helped me through my journey in business and motherhood. It’s them, my tribe of mamas, that have helped me become a more confident mom.

4. Tell us about your nursery. What’s the vibe you decided on? I like to think of myself as a minimalist, so naturally, I wanted to have fewer, nicer things. The room is very small, so I decided to paint the walls white and use light wood and other natural colors in the furniture and decor to open up the room and provide a blank canvas to introduce some fun art and pops of color. What transpired from there is best described as a modern earthy vibe with mexican accents (inspired by my latin mother).

5. How did you go about creating the space? To create more space and brighten up the room, I remove the closet doors and painted the walls white.

From there, I focused on the four things that I felt I absolutely needed in Sofia’s nursery: a crib, a dresser, a changing station and a rocking chair. It’s crazy how quickly space evaporates once you’ve checked those essentials off.

Next, I wanted Sofia to find solace in nature, so having plants as a key part of her nursery was important to me. Unfortunately, her room is located downstairs and has zero natural light, so this was actually a huge challenge. Luckily, I was able to find a botanical designer who I worked with to create a hanging plant portal for the space (basically, an art installation made from preserved plants). This plant art sits directly above our rocking chair, which we hope will stir Sofia’s imagination and calm her while we feed and soothe her to sleep. This custom plant portal quickly became the focal point of the room.

6. Tell us about some of the biggies in the room. I overthink every little detail, so if it’s in her room, it likely has a story and meaning behind it. The biggies to me are the 4 essentials I previously mentioned as well as the custom plant portal.

My favorite element of the room is the combination of the rocking chair and plant portal. The rocking chair is a custom piece made by Monroe Workshop exclusively for Noble Carriage. Their workshop is in the heart of Los Angeles where they make stunning sustainable furniture and wood toys for kids. The custom plant portal is hung from the ceiling directly above the rocking chair, which is a beautiful visual for Sofia and adds some unique dimension to the room.

7. What elements from Noble Carriage are you bringing into your nursery? How, if at all, is your nursery style echoing that of Noble Carriage? Like Noble Carriage, a lot of curation went into choosing the items that I would bring into Sofia’s space. I did my best to choose items that are not only well designed, but are also free from any chemicals that could be harmful to Sofia.

The crib is made from untreated, sustainable birch wood and converts into a toddler bed. The hand woven baskets double as toy, book, laundry, and diaper storage. And even the clothing serves as a decor item.

8. What are some of the details or sentimental pieces that you think really bring the room together? I’m all about Sofia having strong female icons in her life, so naturally I have an obsession for Frida that I want to pass down to Sofia. Anything Frida-inspired in the room has sentimental value to me. The portrait of Frida Kahlo illustrated by Alex Carfioli(gifted to me by my mom) and our exclusive Frida Kahlo doll, handmade by a mama artist in Tijuana, Mexico, exclusively for Noble Carriage.

A few other pieces that mean the world to me are a mobile above the changing table, handmade by my sister-in-law, handmade native american moccasins, gifted to me by my other sister-in-law, and our Noble Carriage exclusive handmade Misha & Puff X Jess Brown doll (are you catching onto my handmade obsession yet?!)

9. What’s the best piece of advice you’d like to give a mama-to-be who’s about to create her little one’s universe?

Start designing with the items you need and not the items you want. Paint, build, and open rugs well before the baby is due to arrive. No matter how natural a product is, there is usually still an element of off-gassing that occurs so you should allow that to happen well in advance. Lastly, remember that when you are happy, your baby is happy, so design a space that makes you happy.

Photos by Rico Castillero.

Shop the nursery:

Misha & Puff X Jess Brown doll

Frida Kahlo doll

Oeuf NYC crib

Kalon stump nursery stool

Monroe workshop rocker

Frida Kahlo Doll in indigo little mini dress

Jess Brown coco doll

Monroe Workshop Cecily the pig

Hazel Village Max the hipster raccoon doll

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I'm usually that girl who shells out for premium leggings, and I still think they're fun as a treat, but I've now bought these so-called "compression" leggings in multiple colors. And since 74% of you told us in a recent Instagram poll that you live in leggings, we hope this practical hot tip can help make #momlife a little easier for you, too.

So why compression? While we'd never advise going to extremes, we're not opposed to a little help keeping everything in place. To be clear, this isn't about hiding—we're all for celebrating our bodies (and especially our bellies) at every stage. But adapting to an ever-changing shape can be distracting, and a little extra support around the stomach and hips can feel amazing after birth and help you focus on what's important.

What these $20 leggings have on even my most expensive pairs is that they are thickmeaning they don't snag in the wash, sheer out when I squat, or (heaven forbid) rip when I bend over. Their durability makes them perfect for both household chores and high-intensity workouts. They're also warm, making them well-suited for transitioning between seasons. And once your wardrobe fully changes over, the same brand makes compression shorts that are equally comfy.

Homma Premium Thick High Waist Tummy Compression Slimming Leggings

amazon leggings

As for the whole compression thing? Once they're on, I honestly don't notice anything but how flattering they are when I catch my reflection in the mirror. The 88% Nylon, 12% Spandex blend keeps it tight without feeling, well, too tight. Think of the compression like a gentle hug, or a guardian angel that just wants to bless your curves all day long. Now if you'll excuse me, I'm off to order another pair.

$19.95

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Mornings can be so rough making sure everyone has what they need for the day and managing to get out the door on time. A recent survey by Indeed found that 60% of new moms say managing a morning routine is a significant challenge, and another new survey reveals just why that is.

The survey, by snack brand Nutri-Grain, suggests that all the various tasks and child herding parents take on when getting the family out the door in the morning adds up to basically an extra workday every week!

Many parents will tell you that it can take a couple of hours to get out of the house each morning person, and as the survey found, most of us need to remind the kids "at least twice in the morning to get dressed, brush their teeth, or put on their shoes."

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According to Nutri-Grain, by the end of the school year, the average parent will have asked their children to hurry up almost 540 times across the weekday mornings.

We totally get it. It's hard to wait on little ones when we have a very grown-up schedule to get on with, but maybe the world needs to realize that kids just aren't made to be fast.

As Rachel Macy Stafford, the author of Hands Free Mama, Hands Free Life, writes, having a child who wants to enjoy and marvel at the world while mama is trying to rush through it is hard.

"Whenever my child caused me to deviate from my master schedule, I thought to myself, 'We don't have time for this.' Consequently, the two words I most commonly spoke to my little lover of life were: 'Hurry up.'" she explains.

We're always telling our kids to hurry up, but maybe, maybe, we should be telling ourselves—and society—to slow down.

That's what Stafford did. She took "hurry up" out of her vocabulary and in doing so made that extra workday worth of time into quality time with her daughter, instead of crunch time. She worked on her patience, and let her daughter marvel at the world or slow down when she had to.

"To help us both, I began giving her a little more time to prepare if we had to go somewhere. And sometimes, even then, we were still late. Those were the times I assured myself that I will be late only for a few years, if that, while she is young."

It's great advice, but unless we mamas can get the wider world on board, it's hard to put into practice. When the school bus comes at 7:30 am and you've gotta be at the office at 8 am, when the emails start coming before you're out of bed or your pay gets docked if you punch in five minutes late, it is hard to slow down.

So to those who are making the schedules the rest of us have to live by, to the employers and the school boards and the wider culture, we ask: Can we slow down?

Indeed's survey suggests that the majority of moms would benefit from a more flexible start time at work and the CDC suggests that starting school later would help students.

Mornings are tough for parents, but they don't have to be as hard as they are.

[This post was originally published May 17, 2019.]

News

Teaching science to your child can sound kind of daunting. Don't be put off by memories of high school physics, though—science for little kids should be fun!

Science activities for toddlers and preschoolers are all about exploration and supporting the natural curiosity within each child. Children are born curious. All we have to do is provide the tools to explore the world around them, and encourage them to ask questions and follow their interests.

While science for little kids is all about fun, there is no reason to dumb it down. Feel free to use real scientific terminology wherever you can (kids are surprisingly receptive to it), and introduce the scientific method by asking kids for their hypothesis before you do an experiment together: What do they think will happen? Why?

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Whether you're interested in STEM-based projects to do at home or just need ideas for helping kids explore their world, these activities can help your family incorporate science education into your everyday life.

Here are 9 easy science activities and experiments to do with preschoolers and toddlers.

1. Observe a life cycle


science activities for preschoolers


Butterflies are fascinating to children, and not only because they're beautiful. The process of transforming from a caterpillar to a butterfly can seem pretty magical.

Butterfly kits let your child watch the process of a life cycle up close. For toddlers, just observing the caterpillar, looking closely at the chrysalis and watching the beautiful butterflies that (eventually) emerge is enough. For preschoolers, you may want to prompt them to draw what they see at each stage, or to write a few words about the process.

A book about butterflies (or this one for toddlers) can further support their interest.

Take this activity a step further by creating a butterfly garden in your backyard, or finding a local butterfly garden where you can release the butterflies.

2. Create a habitat


science activities for preschoolers


Is your child fascinated by roly polies, ladybugs or snails? Creating an insect habitat, whether in a bug box or just a corner of your backyard, is a great way to stoke that interest.

What do ladybugs eat? Where do they like to sleep? These kinds of questions can really inspire a child to think like a scientist and are super easy to answer, either though a trip to the library or a quick Google search.

3. Sink + float


science activities for preschoolers Plastic animals in bath Getty Images


This is the simplest possible experiment, but that doesn't make it any less fun. Fill a container (or the bathtub) with water, gather some objects, and ask your child which objects they think will sink, and which they think will float.

Then let them experiment! A toddler will most likely just play in the water with the objects, and you can point out that some sink to the bottom and some float on top.

For a preschooler, you may want to encourage them to categorize which items sink and which float. They can make a list, or simply divide the objects into two piles. Then you can compare the categories and talk about why some things sink and others float.

You can do "sink and float" again and again with different themes. Try using objects you find in nature or using items from the kitchen.

4. Build a marble run


science activities for preschoolers Getty Images/iStockphoto


Using simple materials such as paper towel tubes, cardboard, yarn, tape and glue, challenge your preschooler to make a ramp for a marble to go down. (Toddlers can do a version of this experiment using a rubber ball in place of a marble.) Your child can experiment to see what slopes and what materials make the marble travel the fastest!

5. Watch the weather


science activities for preschoolers


Observing the weather is something even young toddlers enjoy. Talk to them about the vocabulary for different types of weather and invite them to help you check the weather before getting dressed each day. If they enjoy this, try setting up a weather station they can be in charge of, and let them play mini meteorologist.

6. Stargaze


science activities for preschoolers Getty Images/Tetra images RF


If your goal is to ignite your child's curiosity in science and the world around them, anything outer space-related is a pretty good bet.

Try reading a book about space (this one is great!) to inspire some real-world stargazing. You can invest in a telescope if they're really into it, or you can also enjoy a special stargazing time with your child using no equipment other than a blanket for the backyard—and maybe a cozy snack or some hot cocoa.

Look up into the night sky together and talk about what you see. You don't need to be a NASA scientist or know the names for all the constellations: The moon and the big dipper are plenty fascinating for a little kid.

With regular stargazing sessions, your child will start to notice things like the phases of the moon, the movement of the moon across the sky, and the way that stars form "pictures" in the sky. They might even see a shooting star! That is the kind of experience that will not only spark their interest in science, but that will stay with them as a special memory forever.

7. Study animals


science activities for preschoolers


Have you ever known a 3-year-old who can name every player on the Yankees, or can rattle off the names of more dinosaurs than you've ever heard of? Young children can absorb so many words—why not put that skill to good use?

This science activity comes straight from the Montessori classroom and encourages young children's desire to absorb precise and rich language.

Choose an animal they're interested in and help them learn the scientific names for the body parts. It's extra fun to choose an animal your child has real life experience with, like a dog or a squirrel. You can use the Montessori parts of an animal puzzle and labels, or simply use a drawing or photograph of the animal and label the parts for your child.

8. Experiment with ice


science activities for preschoolers


Fill two ice cube trays, one with water and one with salt water. Put them in the freezer (or outside, if it's cold enough where you live!) and observe to see which freezes faster.

Freeze some small toys (like these Toob animals) in ice and ask your child for ideas on how to get them out.

There are tons of easy experiments you can do with ice whether it's winter or summer—in winter, watch things freeze outside, and in summer you can watch them melt!

9. Make a rainbow


science activities for preschoolers


Few scientific activities are simpler than making a rainbow with a prism and sunny window, which really does bring the science of rainbows alive for children. Place the prism in a basket by a window, along with a book about rainbows (and maybe rainbow-colored crayons and paper) to inspire your child to explore independently.

10. Catalog a collection


science activities for preschoolers

Does your child collect little bits and bobs everywhere? Do they come home with pockets full of rocks or feathers?

Instead of lamenting the small piles of pebbles you find all over your house, show your child how to organize their collection in a scientific way. Help them come up with a system of sorting their treasures however they like (size? color? type?) and provide a certain spot in the house or backyard where the objects belong.

11. Plant a seed


science activities for preschoolers


For toddlers and preschoolers, something as simple as planting a seed is a perfect scientific activity. To increase their interest, choose a seed or pit from something you're eating, like an apple, avocado or peach. Choose something that grows in your area and invite your child to help you plant the seed. They will be fascinated watching it sprout and grow.

12. Read science books together

There are so many wonderful science books out there for kids. Books like Ada Twist, Scientist, What Do You Do With an idea? and The Most Magnificent Thing celebrate children's curiosity and introduce the scientific method.

Of course you can also find countless books at the library on various aspects of science to encourage your child's interests, whether that's snails or volcanoes!

Whatever kind of scientific activity you choose to do, just remember to let your child lead the way. It might not turn out how you expect, but the goal is really just to encourage your child to explore with curiosity.

Learn + Play

Wouldn't it be nice to throw on mascara and instantly look well-rested? Let's set the scene: You've been up all night caring for your sick toddler and you look extremely tired. You quickly apply a waterproof, lengthening and volumizing mascara and poof—tired eyes begone. Sounds like a magic trick, right? But we have a few mascaras in our makeup bag that can do just that, mama.

These are our favorite mascaras to use that make us look well-rested and ready to conquer the day, even if we're running on just a few hours:

Tarte surfer curl mascara

Tarte surfer curl mascara

Whether you're prepping for hot yoga, a day at the beach, or just keeping up with the kiddos, Tarte's latest mascara is perfect for a mamas active lifestyle. It's a vitamin E- based mascara that delivers sweatproof, weightless volume without the clumps. Pro tip: Just do the top lashes for a more natural look.

$23

Fenty Beauty by Rihanna full frontal volume, lift + curl mascara

Fenty Beauty by Rihanna full frontal volume, lift + curl mascara

This popular mascara was designed to deliver Rihanna's full lash look, and we must admit, after three applications, our lashes turned out thicker and fuller than ever. The key to this formula is that it's paired with aflat-to-fat brush that customizes what you need. The fat side holds lots of product to quickly load and lift lashes, while the flat side defines and curls each lash.

$24

Maybelline lash sensational mascara

Maybelline lash sensational mascara

Not ready to spend loads of money on a beauty product? We hear you. That's why we love this liquid ink formula from Maybelline. It coats from all sides for full coverage with a featherlight feel. Just be careful with your application—it requires a good makeup remover to remove.

$9.99

L'Oréal voluminous lash paradise mascara

L'Or\u00e9al voluminous lash paradise mascara

If a deep black color is what you're after, this mascara will get you there in the best way possible. The soft wavy bristle brush gives lots of volume and the 200 bristles catch every lash for a full fringe effect. No, seriously—get the results you crave in only two coats!

$10.99

Stila Cosmetics magnum xxx mascara

Stila Cosmetics magnum xxx mascara

Suffer from thin, straight lashes that never seem to curl? This creamy, non-clumping formula is buildable and gives instant volume. It's also pretty cool that the blossom-shaped fiber wand is carved in a curved silhouette that dispenses just the right amount of formula on each individual lash for lots of volume.

$23

Marc Jacobs velvet noir major volume mascara

Marc Jacobs velvet noir major volume mascara

When we heard that this mascara was inspired by Marc Jacobs' first beauty memory of his mother shaving fibers from a velvet ribbon to create her own faux lashes, we knew this was something special. This mascara gives smudge-proof length and volume in three strokes or less.

$27

IT Cosmetics superhero mascara

 IT Cosmetics superhero mascara

If black mascara leaves you with raccoon eyes by the end of the day, this mascara might be your new bestie. Developed with plastic surgeons, and clinically tested, it provides both length and volume in one coat. Also, the formula contains collagen, biotin and peptides to condition your lashes as you coat.

$24

Too Faced better than sex waterproof mascara

Too Faced better than sex waterproof mascara

Without question, the original better than sex mascara lives up to its name, and the waterproof feature on this one is an added bonus. The hourglass-shaped brush was designed with extra stiff bristles to maximize the performance of this super black, collagen-fueled formula. But, once on your lashes, prepare to rub for a long time to get it off.

$25

Lancôme monsieur big mascara

Lanc\u00f4me Monsieur big mascara

This is one of Lancôme's bestselling mascaras and we get why. For starters, it's a creamy formula with a gel-like texture that does not require touch-ups. It also brings a ton of volume, without the flaking.

$25

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