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Party with Respect

The ladies of Susty Party show us that sustainability comes in many colors besides green.

Party with Respect

So you thought your party days were over when you got pregnant, huh? Turns out once you get pregnant there’s a party for everything, starting with the baby shower. And now that you’re bringing a brand new human into the world, what better time is there to be aware of your eco footprint on earth? Every year, hundreds of billions of disposable tableware items are discarded, and you do not want to be a part of that. Thankfully the Brooklyn-based sustainable party tableware business Susty Party, founded by Emily Doubilet and Jessica Holsey, makes disposable (and compostable) goods that will bring style to every fete you have on your horizon.

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Here they prove it’s possible to throw a green party with style.

What are some things people can do to ensure an eco celebration? What are the no no's?

Choose reusable tableware if possible, but when quantity/location/price make disposable goods your best bet, be sure to pick compostable products. Rather than adding to the landfill with styrofoam or plastic plates, cups and bowls, choose alternatives that can return to the earth instead. Also be sure to clearly label your waste bins. One of the worst eco-blusters is to buy compostable products but then fail to dispose of them properly. Be sure to have containers for trash, recycling and compost. To eliminate confusion for your guests, make signs that clearly inform which bins are for what!

Can stylish and eco really be put in the same sentence when talking about parties?

If you've ever been to a Susty Party, you know the answer is yes. A few years ago though, it was much more difficult. Compostable tableware used to be limited to white or tan and had a very industrial look. Our bright colors and fun patterns are evidence of a revolution in the eco-friendly party world, as it becomes more and more mainstream to consider sustainability when throwing an event.

Do you ladies have a favorite project you do with leftover party goods?

We love this DIY Straw Wreath. We made it for Christmas, but it would be the perfection decoration for so many different holidays! Picture pink, green and yellow straws for Easter, red and blue for July 4th, orange and black for Halloween. The options are endless! We also can't get enough of this DIY Straw Cake Topper. Cake toppers are all over Pinterest these days and this Susty version is made especially cute with our striped straws.

What are some of your favorite party trends you're seeing for spring? Color schemes?

We're obsessed with our new yellow and gray line for spring. The gray is unexpected, but our star print makes it playful and whimsical, yet sophisticated. The yellow products are also perfect to mix and match with so many other colors for easy entertaining. One of our favorite party trends is the build-your-own-blank bar. With spring around the corner, we cannot wait to throw rooftop brunch parties. We've got big plans for brunch bars -- picture mimosa bars, waffle bars, cereal bars, parfait bars.

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This is how we’re defining success this school year

Hint: It's not related to grades.

In the ever-moving lives of parents and children, opportunities to slow down and reflect on priorities can be hard to come by. But a new school year scheduled to begin in the midst of a global pandemic offers the chance to reflect on how we should all think about measures of success. For both parents and kids, that may mean putting a fresh emphasis on optimism, creativity and curiosity.

Throughout recent decades, "school success" became entangled with "academic achievement," with cases of anxiety among school children dramatically increasing in the past few generations. Then, almost overnight, the American school system was turned on its head in the spring of 2020. As we look ahead to a new school year that will look like no year past, more is being asked of teachers, students and parents, such as acclimating to distance learning, collaborating with peers from afar and aiming to maintain consistency with schooling amidst general instability due to COVID.

Despite the inherent challenges, there is also an overdue opportunity to redefine success during the school year by finding fresh ways to keep students and their parents involved in the learning process.

"I always encourage my son to try at least one difficult thing every school year," says Arushi Garg, parenting blogger and mom of a 4-year-old. "This challenges him but also allows me to remind him to be optimistic! Lots of things in life are hard, and it's important we learn to be positive during difficult times. Fostering a sense of optimism allows kids to push beyond what they thought possible, like biking without training wheels or reading above their grade level."

Here are a few mantras to keep in mind this school year:

Quality learning matters more than quantifying learning

After focusing on standardized measures of academic success for so long, the learning environment this next school year may involve more independent, remote learning. Some parents are considering this an exciting opportunity for their children to assume a bigger role in what they are learning—and parents are also getting on board by supporting their children's education with engaging, positive learning materials like Highlights Magazine.

As a working mom, Garg also appreciates that Highlights Magazine can help engage her son while she's also working. She says, "He sits next to me and solves puzzles in the magazine or practices his writing from the workbook."

Keep an open mind as "school" looks different

Whether children are of preschool age or in the midst of high school, "going to school" is bound to look different this year. Naturally, this may require some adjustment as kids become accustomed to new guidelines. Although many parents may wish to shelter our kids from challenges, others believe optimism can be fostered through adversity when everyone is committed to adapting to new experiences.

"Honestly, I am yet to figure out when I will be comfortable sending [my son] back [to school]," says Garg. In the meantime, she's helping her son remain connected with friends who also read Highlights Magazine by encouraging the kids to talk about what they are learning on video calls.

Follow children's cues about what interests them

For Garg, her biggest hope for this school year is that her son will create "success" for himself by embracing new learning possibilities with positivity.

"Encouraging my son to try new things has given him a chance to prove that he can do anything," she says. "He takes his previous success as an example now and feels he can fail multiple times before he succeeds."

There's no denying that this school year will be far from the norm. But, perhaps, we can create a new, better way of defining our children's success in school because of it.

This article was sponsored by Highlights. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

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There is rightfully a lot of emphasis on preparing for the arrival of a new baby. The clothes! The nursery furniture! The gear! But, the thing about a baby registry is, well, your kids will keep on growing. Before you know it, they'll have new needs—and you'll probably have to foot the bill for the products yourself.

Thankfully, you don't have to break the bank when shopping for toddler products. Here are our favorite high-quality, budget-friendly finds to help with everything from meal time to bath time for the toddler set.

Comforts Fruit Crisps Variety Pack

Comforts fruit snacks

If there is one thing to know about toddlers, it is this: They love snacks. Keeping a variety on hand is easy when the pack already comes that way! Plus, we sure do appreciate that freeze-dried fruit is a healthier alternative to fruit snacks.

Comforts Electrolyte Drink

Comforts electrolyte drink

Between running (or toddling!) around all day and potentially developing a pickier palate, many toddlers can use a bit of extra help with replenishing their electrolytes—especially after they've experienced a tummy bug. We suggest keeping an electrolyte drink on hand.

Comforts Training Pants

Comforts training pants

When the time comes to start potty training, it sure helps to have some training pants on hand. If they didn't make it to the potty in time, these can help them learn their body's cues.

Comforts Nite Pants

comforts nite pants

Even when your toddler gets the hang of using the toilet during the day, nighttime training typically takes several months longer than day-time training. In the meantime, nite pants will still help them feel like the growing, big kid they are.

Comforts Baby Lotion

comforts baby lotion

Running, jumping, playing in sand, splashing in water—the daily life of a toddler can definitely irritate their skin! Help put a protective barrier between their delicate skin and the things they come into contact with every day with nourishing lotion.

Another great tip? Shopping the Comforts line on Comfortsforbaby.com to find premium baby products for a fraction of competitors' prices—and follow along on social media to see product releases and news at @comfortsforbaby.

This article was sponsored by The Kroger Co. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

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Becoming a mother has been life-changing. It's been hard, tiring, gratifying, beautiful, challenging, scary and a thousand other things that only a parent would ever understand.

It is these life-changing experiences that have inspired me to draw my everyday life as a stay at home mom. Whether it's the mundane tasks like doing laundry or the exciting moments of James', my baby boy's, first steps, I want to put it down on paper so that I can better cherish these fleeting moments that are often overlooked.

Being a stay-at-home-mom can be incredibly lonely. I like to think that by drawing life's simple moments, I can connect with other mothers and help them feel less alone. By doing this, I feel less alone, too. It's a win-win situation and I have been able to connect with many lovely parents and fellow parent-illustrators through my Instagram account.

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