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The 25 happiest cities in the U.S. will make you consider a move

It seems people are living their best lives in Boulder, Colorado.

The 25 happiest cities in the U.S. will make you consider a move

When you’re putting down roots to raise a family, what’s a better selling point than living in one of the happiest cities in the United States?


Looking at 250,000 surveys conducted in 2014 and 2015, the massive new National Geographic Gallup Special/Blue Zones Index determined residents of Boulder, Colorado, are the most joyful in the country—followed by those of Santa Cruz-Watsonville, California, and Charlottesville, Virginia.

“There’s a high correlation between bikeability and happiness in a city,” says National Geographic’s Dan Buettner. “In Boulder you’re more likely to hear the whoosh of a cyclist than the shrill of a siren compared to places like Dallas, Tallahassee, or Los Angeles. Cities like Boulder question the unquestioned virtues of development.”

The findings were based on 15 key metrics that Gallup scientists say “signal happiness.” These include: eating habits, opportunities to learn something new on a daily basis, civic engagement, financial security, vacation time and even access to dental healthcare. (Yep, the researchers found a high correlation between people who frequent the dentist and have high levels of satisfaction.)

You can be sure to find more happy folks in these places:

1. Boulder, Colorado

2. Santa Cruz-Watsonville, California

3. Charlottesville, Virginia

4. Fort Collins, Colorado

5. San Luis Obispo-Paso Robles-Arroyo Grande, California

6. San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, California

7. Provo-Orem, Utah

8. Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk, Connecticut

9. Barnstable Town, Massachusetts

10. Anchorage, Alaska

11. Naples-Immokalee-Marco Island, Florida

12. Santa Maria-Santa Barbara, California

13. Salinas, California

14. North Port-Sarasota-Bradenton, Florida

15. Urban Honolulu, Hawaii

16. Ann Arbor, Michigan

17. San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, California

18. Colorado Springs, Colorado

19. Manchester-Nashua, New Hampshire

20. Oxnard-Thousand Oaks-Venture, California

21. Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, Virginia

22. Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington, Minnesota

23. San Diego-Carlsbad, California

24. Portland-South Portland, Maine

25. Austin-Red Rock, Texas

Interestingly, there doesn’t seem to be a ton of overlap with where millennials are actually moving to start their families—but there is crossover between the “happiest places” and “best places to raise a family” lists in Minneapolis. So if you’re comfortable in a heavy winter coat, a home in the land of 10,000 lakes may be a good bet for everyone in the family.

10 must-have registry items that will change your life, mama

The baby gear heavy hitters that should be top of your list

Calling all mamas-to-be! It's a fundamental truth of (impending) motherhood that your prepping-for-baby To Do list can feel a mile long, but really the best way to feel organized is to sort out the most important item at the top of your list: your registry. Sure the items you choose to include will end up running the gamut from nice-to-haves to absolutely essential game-changers, but mamas in the know quickly learn one thing: Not all baby gear is created equal.

So while you can and should pepper your registry with adorable inclusions that aren't necessarily can't-live-withouts (go ahead, add 'em!), you should make sure you're ticking the boxes on those pieces of baby gear that can be absolute life savers once you're in full-blown mama mode. From car seats to bouncers and playmats, your play and travel gear will be some of the most obvious important items on your list, but so can unexpected things, like a super comfy baby carrier and a snooze-inducing white noise machine. So to help you sort through the must-have options, we turned to the holy grail of motherhood that is buybuy BABY and handpicked 10 of the very best essential pieces that will change your life, we promise.

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Our Partners

Every week, we stock the Motherly Shop with innovative and fresh products from brands we feel good about. We want to be certain you don't miss anything, so to keep you in the loop, we're providing a cheat sheet.

So, what's new this week?

Earth Mama: Effective, natural herbal care for mamas and babies

Founded and grown in her own garage in 2002, Earth Mama started as an operation of one, creating salves, tinctures, teas and soaps with homegrown herbs. With a deep desire to bring the healing powers of nature that have been relied on for thousands of years to as many mamas as possible, Melinda Olson's formulas quickly grew into Earth Mama Organics. Since then, the brand has remained committed to manufacturing clean, safe and effective herbal solutions for the entire journey of motherhood, including pregnancy, breastfeeding and baby care, and even the loss of a baby.

Bravado Designs: Soothing sounds for a good night's sleep

With 28 years of serving pregnant and postpartum mamas under their belt, Bravado Designs is a true authority on the needs of changing bodies. It's true that we have them to thank for rescuing us from the uncomfortable and frumpy designs our own moms had to live with. Launched in Canada by two young mamas, they designed the first prototypes with extra leopard print fabric certain that a better bra was possible. Throughout the years they've maintained their commitment to ethical manufacturing while creating long-lasting products that truly work.

The Sill: Instagram-ready potted plants

We've long admired this female-founded brand and the brilliant mind behind it, Eliza Blank. (She even joined Motherly co-founder Liz Tenety on and episode of The Motherly Podcast!) The mission behind the business was simple: To make the process of bringing plants into your home as easy as possible, and as wonderful as the plant themselves. With their in-house, exclusively designed minimalist planters, the end result makes plant parenthood just a few clicks away.

Not sure where to start? Here's what we're adding to our cart:

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10 photos to take on baby’s first day that you'll cherish forever

You'll obsess over these newborn baby pictures.

Bethany Menzel: Instagram + Blog

As you're preparing for baby's birth, we bet you're dreaming of all of the amazing photos you'll take of your precious new babe. As a professional photographer and mama, I have some tips for newborn photos you'll want to capture.

Here are the 10 photos you will want to take on baby's first day.

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