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Motherly @ Work features the stories and insights of modern women growing their careers—and their families.

Like Erica Riegelman President and Co-Founder of Aftcra—an innovative online marketplace where you can buy and sell handmade goods made by artisans in the USA. Aftcra sells everything from beautiful clothing and baby toys, to home furnishings and one of a kind pieces of jewelry. Aftcra is a place where you know you can find truly unique handcrafted products created by local artisans around your community and across the country.

We caught up with Erica to find out what keeps her inspired and how she gets it all done.


Why did you believe you needed to create Aftcra?

Erica Riegelman: The skill behind making handmade goods has always been a passion of mine. Growing up, handmade products were treated with respect. My mom was a maker with a talent that I wished that I had—she could make something beautiful from nothing. She was always creating, from ceramics to painting, woodworking to baking.

My mom started making life-sized witch silhouettes for Halloween and decided to sell them locally in her Northern Wisconsin community, but when she found out how much of a fee she would owe the local boutiques she became frustrated. Before she threw in the towel, I tried to find a way to help her (and artisans like her) sell their handmade goods easily. And so Aftcra was born—an online marketplace that is easy and affordable for makers to create their own online shop and list products for free.

What was the need in the market?

Erica Riegelman: When Aftcra was first conceived, it was intended to be an online craft fair where you could find handmade products made locally. Soon after we launched in October of 2013, Etsy (the leader of the handmade industry) shifted their mission away from only supporting handmade products to allowing the sale of manufactured goods on Etsy.com, therefore allowing hoards of resellers and non-makers to join their community. This change left many handmade shoppers and artisans in search of a marketplace that could offer authentic handmade products. So, Aftcra was quick to take over as the only handmade marketplace for artisans in the USA, and we’re proud to hold that title!

How and why did you decide that local, American-made products would become the basis of your business? What led you here?

Erica Riegelman: I wanted Aftcra to emphasize another passion of mine—shopping locally. Aftcra may be an online marketplace where people around the world can shop, but all of the products on Aftcra are handmade by makers that live in the USA. So many shoppers and bloggers want easy access to locally made products. With Aftcra they have the ability to do just that! We’ve had an overwhelming amount of users reach out to us to share their appreciation for a marketplace dedicated to only handmade goods and to makers in the USA.

What inspires you to do this work?

Erica Riegelman: Over the past three years I have had the opportunity to meet so many talented makers, handmade buyers, and individuals who are passionate about the artisanal community. Hearing all of their stories—the zeal the artisans have for their work, and how family traditions are being carried down generation after generation—has truly inspired me to continue to promote maker’s talents. Whether it’s a family business being passed down, or a stay-at-home mom who discovered her passion, I’m always sure to stumble upon an incredible story with a journey that most people only dream about.

What are your secrets for integrating work and family?

Erica Riegelman: Aftcra is a family-owned, privately held organization, which means a lot of family time. I

founded Aftcra alongside two other family members, one being my husband. I hold a full-time position with Aftcra while my husband plays more of a specialty role, with a focus on finances and partnerships.

Running a company alongside your husband is a lot about teamwork. It’s a balance that sometimes we get right and sometimes we don’t. Every family-owned business runs differently, but my husband and I have learned that there are times when we talk about Aftcra and times when we disconnect and enjoy our time together with our family. We’ve realized it’s a lot about being present in the moment—being present while working, and being present while spending time with loved ones.

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How do you recharge?

Erica Riegelman: Ah, this is a great question for all working moms. Do we ever get a chance to recharge?

The only way I can truly recharge is by completely disconnecting. Being the owner of a small business makes this difficult—I truly don’t remember the last time I didn’t work for an entire vacation. But there are times when I know that I need to let go for a weekend, and during that time I completely disconnect from the business. I force myself to take “me” time, which is typically getting outside and enjoying time with my friends and family. During this time I force myself to stop worrying about meeting a deadline or finishing a project. Once the forced break is done, I come back to my work with a clearer head, improved moral, and a spike in motivation.

When I need a quick break I tend to turn on one of my favorite shows—either 30 Rock, Arrested Development, or Veep—and get completely immersed in it for an episode or two. The comedic relief from the show helps me get back to work with a different perspective.

Do you have a mentor or someone you look up to that’s helped to shape you as a woman and a mother? Tell us how they inspire you.

Erica Riegelman: I don’t have a formal mentor, but other mothers who are dominating their industry while still making their children a priority have inspired me. Over the years I have looked toward Eleanor Roosevelt, Tina Fey and Julia Louis-Dreyfuss as three women who have done incredible things while still placing a focus on their children.

As I’ve gotten older I’ve realized that there is no perfect mentor for me, so I have started to focus less on what other people are doing and more about the characteristics that make them strong leaders. I’ve taken small traits from several influential women and helped form that into who I want to be. This route has helped me concentrate on my strengths and solidify my goals instead of following someone else’s path. I’m on a mission to forge my own way.

Tell us about your children. How have they transformed your career?

Erica Riegelman: I have a two-year-old daughter and a brand new baby boy.

I’ve held a variety of jobs over the past 13 years, but nothing has transformed me like being a parent.

The old saying is true—you never realize how amazing being a mother is until you become one. Having children taught me to be more empathetic, courageous, self-aware and confident.

But the most important aspect that I’ve learned from being a mom is that I have a purpose larger than myself. I want my children to know that both men and women can accomplish extraordinary things in life, and I know that I need to act as their role model in order for them to sincerely understand.

What gets you out of bed in the morning and keeps you inspired and excited about life?

Erica Riegelman: As an entrepreneur, I think it’s natural to wake up in the morning with this outlook that you’re going to make a difference in someone’s life today. Some days the impact you have is small, but other days you move mountains. Being an entrepreneur is full of highs and lows, and it’s important to embrace the good with the bad and to know that you’re helping more people than you can comprehend.

What’s one thing you do every day (or try to do every day!) to ensure that your work and home lives run more smoothly?

Erica Riegelman: When I wake up in the morning I write down a to-do list before I get out of bed. I make sure to keep the list on my phone so I can reference it wherever I may be but also add on to it throughout the day. Over the years I have found that this method helps me to stay on the ball—and it’s SO easy to incorporate into your routine! It also helps to make sure that I do not waste time worrying about forgetting to do something, which ends up stealing more energy than you’d imagine.

We’d love to hear—what would you tell other mamas who have a great idea and want to start their own business?

Erica Riegelman: There are always a million reasons to say “no” to take the plunge into owning your own business. Sometimes you have to push those excuses out of the way so you don’t regret taking a risk in your life. Starting a business is challenging—it’s going to push you outside of your comfort zone, you’re going to have to do things you never thought possible—but it will be the most rewarding experience for your career-driven self.

What do you hope your children will learn from your career?

Erica Riegelman: Right now my littles are too, well, little to truly understand the importance of my career with Aftcra. But when they get older I hope they see that hard work, personal sacrifice, taking risks, being kind, and appreciating your support system is what gets you through life.

My father was always a big advocate of women being able to accomplish the same things as a man, and I’m fortunate in that I married someone with the same outlook. I want our children to know that their dreams can become a reality if they work hard and have the passion to motivate them through the rollercoaster that inevitably comes with any career path.

What does ‘Motherly’ mean to you?

Erica Riegelman: To me, “Motherly” means embracing the new and improved you as you take the journey through motherhood. You will change and evolve into a different person than you were before you became a mother, but that person will be a better version you than you could have ever imagined. Trust me, I’m living proof of it!

Where can people find Aftcra online?

Erica Riegelman: You can set up your handmade shop, or start shopping, on Aftcra or you can connect with us on Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook, or Twitter.

You can also email us directly here (info@Aftcra.com) and one of our handmade enthusiasts will get back to you within 48 hours.

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Pop quiz, mama! How many different types of car seats are there? If you guessed three, you're partially correct. The three main types are rear-facing car seats, forward-facing car seats, and booster seats. But then there are a variety of styles as well: infant car seats, convertible seats, all-in-one seats, high-back booster seats, and backless boosters. If you're not totally overwhelmed yet, keep reading, we promise there's good stuff ahead.

There's no arguing that, in the scheme of your baby and child gear buying lifetime, purchasing a car seat is a big deal! Luckily, Walmart.com has everything you need to travel safely with your most precious cargo in the backseat. And right now, you can save big on top-rated car seats and boosters during Best of Baby Month, happening now through September 30 at Walmart.com.

As if that wasn't enough, Walmart will even take the carseat your kiddos have outgrown off your hands for you (and hook you up with a sweet perk, too). Between September 16 and 21, Walmart is partnering with TerraCycle to recycle used car seats. When you bring in an expired car seat or one your child no longer fits into to a participating Walmart store during the trade-in event, you'll receive a $30 gift card to spend on your little one in person or online. Put the money towards a brand new car seat or booster or other baby essentials on your list. To find a participating store check here: www.walmart.com/aboutbestofbabymonth

Ready to shop, mama? Here are the 9 best car seat deals happening this month.

Safety 1st Grow and Go Spring 3-in-1 Convertible Car Seat


From rear-facing car seat to belt-positioning booster, Grow and Go Sprint's got you covered through childhood. Whether you choose the grey Silver Lake, Seafarer or pink Camelia color palette, you'll love how this model grows with your little one — not to mention how easy it is to clean. The machine-washable seat pad can be removed without fussing with the harness, and the dual cup holders for snacks and drinks can go straight into the dishwasher.

Price: $134 (regularly $149)


Baby Trend Hybrid Plus 3-in-1 Booster Car Seat in Bermuda


When your toddler is ready to face forward, this versatile car seat can be used as a five-point harness booster, a high-back booster, and a backless booster. Padded armrests, harness straps, and seat cushions provide a comfy ride, and the neutral gray seat pads reverse to turquoise for a stylish new look.

Price: $72.00 (regularly $81)


Baby Trend Hybrid Plus 3-in-1 Booster Car Seat in Olivia


Looking for something snazzy, mama? This black and hot pink car seat features a playful heart print on its reversible seat pad and soft harness straps. Best of all, with its 100-pound weight limit and three booster configurations, your big kid will get years of use out of this fashionable design.

Price: $72.00 (regularly $81)


Evenflo Triumph LX Convertible Car Seat


This rear- and forward-facing car seat keeps kids safer, longer with an adjustable five-point harness that can accommodate children up to 65 lbs. To tighten the harness, simply twist the conveniently placed side knobs; the Infinite Slide Harness ensures an accurate fit every time. As for style, we're big fans of the cozy quilted design, which comes in two colorways: grey and magenta or grey and turquoise.

Price: $116 (regularly $149.99)


Disney Baby Light 'n Comfy 22 Luxe Infant Car Seat


Outfitted with an adorable pink-and-white polka dot Minnie Mouse infant insert, even the tiniest of travelers — as small as four pounds! — can journey comfortably and safely. This rear-facing design is lightweight, too; weighing less than 15 lbs, you can easily carry it in the crook of your arm when your hands are full (because chances are they will be).

Price: $67.49 (regularly $89.99)


Graco 4Ever 4-in-1 Convertible Car Seat


We know it's hard to imagine your tiny newborn will ever hit 100 lbs, but one day it'll happen. And when it does, you'll appreciate not having to buy a new car seat if you start with this 4-in-1 design! Designed to fit kids up to 120 lbs, it transforms four ways, from a rear-facing car seat to a backless belt-positioning booster. With a 6-position recline and a one-hand adjust system for the harness and headrest, you can easily find the perfect fit for your growing child.

Price: $199.99 (regularly $269.99)


Graco SlimFit All-in-One Convertible Car Seat


With its unique space-saving design, this 3-in-1 car seat provides 10% more back seat space simply by rotating the dual cup holders. The InRight LATCH system makes installation quick and easy, and whether you're using it as a rear-facing car seat, a forward-facing car seat, or a belt-positioning booster, you can feel confident that your child's safe and comfortable thanks to Graco's Simply Safe Adjust Harness System.

Price: $149.99 (regularly $229.99)


Graco Snugride Snuglock 35 Platinum XT Infant Car Seat


Making sure your infant car seat is secure can be tricky, but Graco makes it easy with its one-second LATCH attachment and hassle-free three-step installation using SnugLock technology. In addition to its safety features, what we really love about this rear-facing seat are all of the conveniences, including the ability to create a complete travel system with Click Connect Strollers and a Silent Shade Canopy that expands without waking up your sleeping passenger.

Price: $169.99 (regularly $249.99)


Graco Snugride Snuglock 35 Elite Infant Car Seat


With just one click, you can know whether this rear-facing car seat has been installed properly. Then adjust the base four different ways and use the bubble level indicator to find the proper position. When you're out and about, the rotating canopy with window panel will keep baby protected from the sun while allowing you to keep your eye on him.

Price: $129.99 (regularly $219.99)


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

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If I ever want to look alive before dropping my son off to school, there are two things I must put on before leaving the house: eyeliner and mascara. When using eyeliner, I typically use black liner on my top lid, a slightly lighter brown for my bottom lid, and then a nude liner for my water line. It works every time.

My mascara routine is a bit different. Because my natural lashes are thin and not the longest, I always opt for the darkest black I can find, and one that's lengthening and volumizing. For this reason, I was immediately drawn to It Cosmetics Lash Blowout Mascara. The new mascara is developed in partnership with Drybar (the blow dry bar that specializes in just blowouts) and promises to deliver bold and voluminous lashes all day long. I was sold.

Could this really be the blowout my lashes have been waiting for? It turns out, it was much better than most volumizing formulas I've tried.

For starters, the wand is a great size—it's not too big or small, and it's easy to grip—just like my favorite Drybar round brush. As for the formula, it's super light and infused with biotin which helps lashes look stronger and healthier. I also love that it's buildable, and I didn't notice any clumps or flakes between coats.

The real test is that my lashes still looked great at dinnertime. I didn't have smudges or the dreaded raccoon eyes I always get after a long day at work. Surprisingly, the mascara actually stayed in place. To be fair, I haven't compared them with lash-extensions (which are my new go-to since having baby number two), but I'm sure it will hold up nicely.

Overall, I was very impressed with the level of length and fullness this mascara delivered. Indeed, this is the eyelash blowout my lashes have been waiting for. While it won't give you a few extra hours in bed, you'll at least look a little more awake, mama.

It Cosmetics Lash Blowout Mascara

It Cosmetics Lash Blowout Mascara

Here's how I apply IT Cosmetics Lash Blowout Mascara:

  1. Starting as close to lash line as possible (and looking down), align the brush against your top lashes. Gradually turn upwards, then wiggle the wand back and forth up and down your eyelashes.
  2. Repeat, if needed. Tip: Be sure to allow the mascara to dry between each coat.
  3. Using the same technique, apply mascara to your bottom lashes, brushing the wand down your eyelashes.
Motherly is your daily #momlife manual; we are here to help you easily find the best, most beautiful products for your life that actually work. We share what we love—and we may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You've got this.

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Having children isn't always as easy as it looks on Instagram. There's so much more to motherhood than serene baby snuggles and matching outfits. But there's a reason we've fallen so deeply in love with motherhood: It's the most beautiful, chaotic ride.

Every single day, we sit back and wonder how something so hard can feel so rewarding. And Eva Mendes just managed to nail the reality of that with one quote.

Eva, who is a mama to daughters Esmerelda and Amada with Ryan Gosling, got real about the messy magic of motherhood in a recent interview.

"It's so fun and beautiful and maddening," the actress tells Access Daily. "It's so hard, of course. But it's like that feeling of…you end your day, you put them to bed and Ryan and I kind of look at each other like, 'We did it, we did it. We came out relatively unscathed.'"


Eva Mendes Admits Parenting Two Girls With Ryan Gosling Is 'Fun, Beautiful And Maddening' www.youtube.com

And just like that, moms all over the world feel seen. We've all been there: Struggling to get through the day (which, for the record is often every bit as fun as it is challenging), only to put those babies to sleep and collapse on the couch in sheer exhaustion. But, after you've caught your breath, you realize just how strong and capable you really are.

One thing Eva learned the hard way? That sleep regressions are very, very real...and they don't just come to an end after your baby's first few months. "I guess they go through a sleep regression, which nobody told me about until I looked it up," she says "I was like, 'Why isn't my 3-year-old sleeping?'"

But, at the end of the day, Eva loves her life as a mom—and the fact that she took a break from her Hollywood career to devote her days to raising her girls. "I'm so thankful I have the opportunity to be home with them," she says.

Thank you for keeping it real, Eva! Momming isn't easy, but it sure is worth it.

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My labor and delivery was short and sweet. I started feeling contractions on Monday morning and by Tuesday night at 8:56 pm my handsome baby boy was born. Only 30 minutes of pushing. Afterward, I was still out of it, to be honest. I held him and did some skin to skin and handed him off to my husband, my mother held him next.

When he was in my mother's arms, I knew he was safe. I started to drift off, the epidural had me feeling drowsy and I had used up all my strength to push this 7 lb baby out. My son's eyes were open and then I guess he went to sleep too. My mother swayed him back and forth. The nurses were in and out, cleaning me up and checking in on us.


When yet another nurse came in, my mom said to her, "He wasn't latching because he wanted to sleep."

The nurse yelled, "He's not sleeping!"

The next 25 minutes happened in slow motion for me.

After the nurse said these words, she flung my son onto the little baby bed. I looked over and he looked a little blue. Then I heard the loud words of CODE PINK. In matters of seconds about 30 nursing staff descended into my room and crowded around my baby.

I couldn't even see what was happening. I tried to get out the bed but they wouldn't let me and after a couple of failed attempts one of the nurses look at me and said, "He's fine, he's breathing now."

Breathing now? He wasn't breathing before? Again, I tried to push my way to my baby, but once again I was told to not move. They had just performed CPR on my 30-minute old newborn and I couldn't understand what was happening even after a pediatrician tried to explain it to me.

I just started crying. He was fine in my stomach for 39 weeks and 6 days and now I bring him into this world and his heart nearly stops?

I was told he needed to go to the neonatal intensive care unit. I was confused, as I thought the NICU was only for preemies and my son was full term.

After what felt like an eternity we were finally allowed to see our son. My husband wheeled me there and we saw him in the corner alone. I saw the incubator and the wires, he's all bundled up.

The nurse explained all the beeping and showed me the heart rate monitor. He's doing fine. We go over the feeding schedule. I'm exhausted still. I stay with him until about 1 or 2 am. They all suggest I get some sleep. There's no bed in the NICU, so I head back to my room.

The next day was better, he doesn't have to be in the incubator anymore, but the wires remain. By that night or early the next morning, the wires in his nose come out and I try feeding him. I try pumping. It was painful.

He gets his first bath and he loves it. The nurse shampoos his hair (he had a lot!) and he seems so soothed. The nurse explains that because he's full term he doesn't need the same type of support in the NICU. She tells me my baby's strong and he'll be fine.

I look around. I see the other babies, the other moms. They could be there for weeks. And unlike me, the moms have to go home—without their baby.

Friday comes and by now he's done all his tests, blood work came back normal, all tubes have been removed and I get it. I get my going-home package. Finally. I get my instructions on doctor follow-ups and we finally get to go home.

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There have been a lot of iconic entertainment magazine covers featuring pregnant women over the years. Who can forget Demi Moore's bare baby bump on Vanity Fair or Britney Spears' similar nude pose on Harper's Bazaar?

Pregnant women on a magazine covers is nothing new, but a visibly pregnant CEO on the cover of a business magazine, that's a first and it happened this week.

Inc. just put The Wing's CEO Audrey Gelman on the cover and this is a historic moment in publishing and business.

As Gelman told Today this week, "You can't be what you can't see, so I think it's so important for women to see that it's possible to run a fast-growing business and also to start a family."



She continued: "It's so important to sort of burst that bubble and to have new images of women who are thriving and working professionally while balancing motherhood … My hope is that women see this and again feel the confidence to take greater professional risks while also not shelving their dreams of becoming a mother and starting a family."

The Wing started in 2016 as a co-working space for women and has grown rapidly. As Inc. reports, The Wing has eight locations in the U.S. with plans for more American and international locations by 2020.

Putting Gelman on the cover was an important move by Inc. and Gelman's honesty about her early pregnancy panic ("I can't be pregnant. I have so much to do." she recalls thinking after her pregnancy test) should be applauded.

Gelman says pregnancy made her slow down physically, and that it was actually good for her company: "I had this realization: The way to make my team and my employees feel proud to work for me and for the company was actually not to pretend to be superhuman or totally unaffected by pregnancy."

We need this. We need CEOs to admit that they are human so that corporate leadership can see employees as humans, too. Humans need things like family leave and flexibility, especially when they start raising little humans.

There are a lot of iconic covers featuring pregnant women, but this one is different. She's wearing clothes and she's changing work culture.

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