nolaHoliday Shopping Guide 2015


It’s important to show your support for local stores and businesses this time of year and especially tomorrow – Small Business Saturday!
Unlike some holiday shopping guides that focus on specific items (instead of stores) and sometimes charge a fee to be included, we wanted ours to reflect a variety of businesses where locals really shop!  So we asked nolaParents to submit the names of their favorite local businesses – stores, websites, gift shops, artists, vendors, etc.
We are thrilled with the nolaHoliday list, which includes a little something for everyone – bibliophiles, sports fans, NOLA lovers, toy hunters, clothes hounds, jewelry fanatics, foodies, pet owners, art enthusiasts and all those looking for the perfect, locally sourced gift!
Be sure to visit theses nolaHoliday businesses tomorrow and throughout the season! And be sure to tell them nolaParent sent you!  Want to add a business to the nolaHoliday listing?  It’s not too late!  Fill in the form below!  

nolaHoliday Shopping Guide 2015

Where do you really shop during the holidays?
  • We are looking for locally owned businesses (not national chains) – but get creative beyond that – local businesses can be brick-and-mortar shops, online stores, vendors and/or craft people who attend art fairs and holiday gift shows; gift shops in museums/attractions, local etsy businesses, etc.
  • Hold Command key to pick more than one category
  • Are they know for something specific? Do you like a particular brand or item that you can only find there? If you marked "other" in the drop down menu above, what kinds of things do you buy here?
  • Great inventory, nice salespeople, off-street parking, good sales, etc
  • Is this a shop with a physical address, an online store with a website address, an artist who sells on Etsy or attends local holiday markets/craft fairs?
  • I would like to receive information from nolaParent!

Chelsea Clinton in NOLA to promote new book that encourages 10-14 year olds to make a difference on issues they care about

I have JUST returned from an event at Lusher Middle School where Chelsea Clinton (daughter of former President Bill Clinton and Presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton) spoke to more than 480 middle school students about her new book — It’s Your World:  Get Informed, Get Inspired, Get Going.

If you weren’t one of the lucky people who got to hear her speak and answer questions from the audience, you still have an opportunity to catch a glimpse of her at a book signing tonight at 5:30 pm at Octavia Books, 513 Octavia Street (Uptown).  To buy a ticket to the event, which includes a copy of the book, visit here.

In addition, Clinton plans to stop at Rebuilding Together New Orleans, a non-profit that improves the quality of life of low income homeowners, particularly those who are elderly, disabled, veterans or single head of households with minor children, through home repair and revitalization of New Orleans’ neighborhoods.

New Orleans is one of about 20 cities on Clinton’s book tour, which include stops at local schools, book stores, non-profits and more.

This is Clinton’s first book and is targeted to 10-14 year old readers.  It brings to light some of the challenges we face in our communities today, highlights some of the young people who have taken steps to tackle them, and offers advice on what young people can continue to do to help impart change.

Clinton talked about some of the things that shaped her childhood and what issues would become important to her.  She said that she always loved reading, especially newspapers at breakfast, even at a young age.  Reading newspapers helped her learn about what was going on in the world, how she felt about things, and which issues were most important to her — and all without relying on an adult to tell her about it or shape an opinion.  She also has a love of books, and specifically mentioned “50 Simple Things Kids Can Do To Save The Earth,” which helped to outline some of the actions she could take as a young girl to make a difference in the world.  She also mentioned the importance of her Grandmother Dorothy in helping her understand the importance of education and going to school.  These things helped form her book, which shows young children that they can start making a difference now on issues they care about whether they affect family, community or the world.

She spoke of one girl – Haile Thomas – whose father had been diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes.  At age 8, Haile wanted to do something to help make her father’s situation better so she started researching and making healthy family meals.  Eventually her father’s diabetes was reversed and her entire family enjoyed a healthy, plant-based lifestyle.  From there she took her knowledge and started spreading the word to other kids about how they can help create happier, healthier family lifestyles.  Now she has a cookbook, a youtube series, a foundation, and speaks around the country about her mission.

I am definitely going to buy the book.  I’m going to give it to my 10-year-old to read and then I’m going to read it too.  I will also try to heed the advice she gave on what parents can do to help encourage kids to take action and get involved (that story here.)!



Sarah Ott/ Shopping Exclusive SHOPPING EXCLUSIVE (sponsored).  
New Orleans designer Sarah Ott has a new store at 7808 Maple Street, where you can pick up t-shirts (adults and kids), jewelry, scarves, hats, purses , pillows and other New Orleans-inspired clothing and accessories.
Stop by Thursday, September 24 through Saturday, October 3 and let her know you are a nolaParent to receive 25% off your purchase AND a string bracelet!  (In-store only, one per customer).
store collage

How to consign at the Children’s Clothing Exchange

Childrens Clothing Exchange Collage

This week is the first regular selling week of the Children’s Clothing Exchange – the enormous consignment sale that takes place in a hidden away, old community center (Valencia Club, 1900 Valence Street) in Uptown New Orleans two times a year (Fall and Spring).  For a decade I have heard about it but have never participated in it.  It is steeped in shopping and selling stories.  Some people talk about the riches they made by simply cleaning out closets and playrooms and dropping off their gently used and worn items for others to buy. And others speak of the piles of smocked onesies, blazers, ski outfits, toys, bikes, and other equipment they find for mere pennies.

Two weeks ago I cleaned out our play room and took my toys and other treasures for consignment and below are my notes.  Keep these in mind if you want to consign at the next Children’s Clothing Exchange – and please share your tips and experiences as you shop this week!

Consign early and often. I dropped off Thursday at 930am and Saturday at 3pm and I was able to find parking and a work space to tag my items but I have heard that weekend days and the weekday night time slots are a zoo.

Don’t take your kids with you (but they are welcome). The first time I dropped off I was solo. The second time I was with my kids. It was helpful to have them there to help me carry stuff in but they were not helpful when they realized what was going on and asked to walk back out with two items I was planning to sell.

Ladies in Charge

Come prepared. I bought giant ziplock bags so I could group large items with their accessories. I wrote down very simple content pages – ie Fisher Price Imaginext Batman Cave with cars, accessories, figures – and put them in the bags then zipped them and taped them shut. (The ladies running the show suggested this so that kids can’t get in and play with and/or lose pieces before they are out the door).  I did a little price searching on ebay and came with my own pen and tape even though there are some supplies on site. I used everything and it made it all a whole lot easier.

Use it as reason to clean up and clean out. There are a few options open to you when you consign – donate, pick-up at end, mark for half price days, etc. A friend of mine uses the white tags and doesn’t allow half price selling on her items so that at the end she can pick up her items, see what sold, and then use that info for the next sale. I used the yellow tags so that everything I took in would either be sold or donated at the end. My advice is to use this as an opportunity to clean out and maybe make a little shoe money.

tagged bag

Don’t get overwhelmed. Easy for me to say. I looked at what I had to go through and nearly gave up before I even started. But the truth is that it is pretty manageable and goes quickly once you take the first step. I put everything that needed to go by the front door. My husband loaded it in my car. I easily found a parking place one block away. The first drop off took about 90 minutes but included an entire car full of toys, bikes, etc. The second drop took about 15 minutes because I had one load and knew what I was doing.

Shop Early and Often. The shopping part of the sale officially begins this week – and the half-price sale starts Saturday, September 26 – but what I didn’t realize is that you can unofficially start shopping for toys, equipment and I think some clothes like boys blazers during the drop-off segment.

Was it worth it?  I dropped off merchandise tagged at about $450 so I could make about $225 (they take half), but overall I can’t help but think that it was worth the effort.  After all, despite what I make (which I will report at the end of the month), I have a cleaned out playroom that can now be used as a study and hang out space for my older kids.  I would think it you were a mom with young kids it would definitely be worth your while to check out the sale this week!

Summertime beauty at the corner of happy and healthy.

Last month’s Look Boutique event was a huge success. The folks at Uptown Walgreens were super excited to meet so many moms and learn about the products we love. Check out some of the fun stories from the evening and the moms behind them.


Andrea has been using the same lipstick pencil since her wedding… in 2000. Her husband isn’t around anymore but her lipstick is, which is down to the stub. She decided it was time to let it go. The Look Boutique beauty advisors helped her find an exact color match from the popular Vera Moore line. Out with the old, in with the new. She was so thrilled.


Wendy and Erin jogged to the event. To tone and refresh, they spritzed a little La Roche-Posay Thermal Spring Water.


Jesse loved hearing the centennial story behind the natural skincare recipes of Le Couvent Des Minimes and the 17th century botanists monks who cultivated the plant species found in the beauty line’s recipes today. (This particular line is a personal fave of mine.) Anne walked away as the winner of the Look Boutique Beauty Basket full of fabulous beauty products valued at $300.


Christine and Dina picked up some fun nail polish from the trendy line POP Beauty. Christine also grabbed a bottle of the award-winning Klorane Dry Shampoo–a summertime must-have, especially if you find yourself traveling a lot.

Marlene (not shown) noticed her eyelashes are thinning so she decided to try Talika Lipocils eyelash conditioning gel to make her lashes longer and thicker… in 28 days.

Here’s a pretty collage of all the products mentioned. You will find them at the Look Boutique in the Uptown Walgreens on the corner of happy and healthy!


Ladies Night at the corner of happy & healthy!

Where can you go to buy diapers, pick up dinner and a bottle wine, fill a prescription, print a photo, and get a mini-makeover… on your lunch hour?

At the corner of Happy & Healthy, of course… otherwise known as Walgreens Uptown on Magazine and Joseph Street.


As one of only 13 flagship stores in the country (think New York, LA, Chicago), Walgreens Uptown offers a LOOK Boutique–a gorgeous beauty department featuring dozens of prestige and niche cosmetic, skincare and hair care brands that you typically have to order online or go to the mall to find, including Britain’s leading skincare brand, No7, which is known for its internationally acclaimed range of anti-aging beauty serums.

Please join me for a casual evening of wine, nibbles, mini-makeovers and DIY manis!

Thursday, May 22, 2014
Walgreens Uptown
5518 Magazine Street

Learn how to apply a cat-eye or create an evening look, find your perfect, everyday shade of lipstick, or the best anti-aging beauty serum for your skin.

Did I mention free beauty samples?

Space is limited, so please email me and I’ll put you on “the list.”  Can’t wait to see all you beautiful ladies!

Keep those little eardrums safe this Mardi Gras season

I have a love/hate relationship with Mardi Gras. I love the spirit that flutters about throughout the city. Everyone is happy, footloose and fancy-free. On the other hand, it can create a little bit of anxiety when you have little ones. Catherine, my 4yo, does not care for Mardi Gras… What. So. Ever. And since having tubes put in her ears for chronic ear infections, she has been super sensitive to noise.

I’ve never really considered ear muffs before since my kids won’t even let a hat get within three feet of their heads, but after chatting with a hard-core Mardi Gras/Jazz Fest mom whose kids have never missed a beat, I’m going to give it a try this year.

Apparently, the Peltor Junior Ear Muffs are the way to go.


They’re light, not too tight and those cute little ears fit perfectly inside the wide, foam-filled cushions. These ear muffs block out all the harmful noise without shutting out the important noise they need to hear to stay safe.

Cute, too.

peltor-kid-earmuffs-1301.jpgThey come in Neon Pink and Blue. The best part? They’re only $14. If you order them now, you’ll have them in time for next weekend and for sure you’ll have them in time for Jazz Fest.

Roll on.

8 New Orleans Home Organizers and Personal/Professional Assistants

Playroom driving you nuts? Is your home office just a storage room for papers and used ink cartridges? Wearing those jeans again because you can’t walk into your closet? Do you start over all the time because you don’t know where to start?

Sorry if I’m projecting.

Just in case your MANY qualities do not include cleaning, efficient filing or general organization, here are 8 awesome New Orleans Home Organizers and Personal/Professional Assistants that can help you get you off to a nice, clean, clutter-free start, no matter what your chaotic circumstances are.

1. The Amandas: Organizing and closets

  • closets
  • garage
  • kitchen
  • office
  • space design
  • products

Note: They’re like, famous. And super pretty. Totally HGTV.

2. Clutter Clearer

  • eliminate clutter
  • closet and room organization
  • moving assistance: packing and unpacking
  • business place organization: filing, organizing and eliminating clutter in work space environment
  • organization of memorabilia

Note: They have the BEST Facebook page with awesome inspiration, tips and tools. Definitely a page to follow.

3. Consider it Done in Nola

  • errands: grocery and drug store shopping, retail returns/exchanges, package delivering/receiving, dry cleaning pick up/ drop off, any errand you need done.
  • birthday parties
  • post office pick up and deliveries
  • emergency/last minute help
  • errands or company for aging family members

Note: Three words: Tuesday Target Run… Follow them on Facebook. They can help you with things you don’t even know you need help with.

4. Cynthia M. Dubois, Professional Organizer

  • general home organization and clutter elimination
  • assistance in disaster preparedness and disaster recovery
  • help with compulsive hoarding
  • general home office/business organization and clutter elimination

5. The Occasional Wife

  • organization of any room in the house
  • eliminate clutter
  • holiday decorating and un-decorating; arranging for special events
  • personal shopping; running errands
  • overseeing home projects; preparing a home fore renovations/home projects
  • moving services/ relocation assistance
  • preparing a home for a newborn; childproofing a home
  • estate sales; staging/preparing a home to sell on the real estate market

Note: These ladies are brilliant, funny and they’ve got a real good thing going. They are branching out nationally, which is awesome. They’re in NOLA, Baton Rouge, Los Angeles and Atlanta!

6. Organize Dat: Re-Organizing NOLA One Room at a Time

  • eliminate clutter
  • general organization
  • space planning
  • set-up home or small office
  • creating and maintaining electronic or paper filing system
  • computer setup and installation
  • data entry; bookkeeping; quickbooks setup and entry
  • flyer design/photoshop
  • personal shopping

Note: I love that she offers photoshop design work and computer and bookkeeping support. Very cool.

7. Organized Impressions

  • office organization: desktop purging, paper management and paper filing system
  • home organization
  • life events: moving, baby/childproofing
  • space planning

8. Virginia Barkley

Is an author, speaker, trainer & life coach, committed to helping her family, friends, and fans live more abundantly with less of the stuff that clutters homes and cramps lifestyles.

Note: She’s a true life coach. Big leagues. And totally approachable. I wrote about her here.

Totally awesome gifts you can find anywhere.

Sometimes the best gifts are right in front of us all year long. Here are some of my favorite gifts that I’ve received over the years that any gal would love. I also threw in a few things that even HE or THEY would love. Merry Merry!


1. A Big-ol-Bag of Coffee ($20). Yes, I do realize that every local coffee vendor in town is all…whhhaaaat? But Dunkin’ Donuts coffee is delicious, and you can buy a tub of it at our new COSTCO for about $20. My MIL gave this to me one Christmas and I enjoyed every last drop of it.

vanilla2. Melipone® Mexican Vanilla ($7). This vanilla is locally made and absolutely delicious. I add it to ice coffee, but their website offers delicious recipes that really do this vanilla justice. Wrap it in a pretty bow and tie a recipe to it. Voila! You can pick up a bottle at any PJs Coffee or buy it online.

williamsonomaspray3. Williams-Sonoma Essential Oils Countertop Spray, Pink Grapefruit ($10). A few years ago one of my very fancy girlfriends gave me a bottle of this. I absolutely LOVED this gift. It’s pretty, it’s pink, and it makes my kitchen smell divine. Every time I spray it, I think of her.


4. Melange D’Orleans Herb Citrus Candle ($20). I gave this to a hostess and then went back to Whole Foods the next day to pick one up for myself. We now randomly text each other whenever we light our mutually adored candles.




5. Hot Huez ($10). I know. But the girls looooove this. It ranks right up there with press on nails, both of which you can pick up at Walgreens.

chromecast6. Google Chromecast ($35). Now when your husband insists that you watch another Will Ferrell SNL outtake on YouTube, you don’t have to get up from the couch. He can just stream it using this handy little device. No more huddling over a laptop, phone or tablet. You can stream Netflix, YouTube, HBO, Pandora, Google Music, photos, videos, etc. You can grab one at Best Buy and Walmart.

rubixcube7. Rubix Cube ($10ish). I think all parents should unite and force our children to master the Rubix Cube. Imagine handing this over to your “bored” or “grumpy” or “spoiled” kid instead of your $400 iPhone. This is ageless and timeless. And I’m pretty sure you can pick one up at Walgreens.


8. Uno ($6). I played this endlessly as a kid–ranks right up there with W-A-R. It’s a long winter break and this is a great game to pass the time and possibly spend a little family time together. You can pick this up anywhere, like, oh, I don’t know, Walgreens? Target, Toys-R-Us, too.



Holiday Gift Guide (girls)

Gift ideas for girls

ALEX DUCT TAPE PARTY. It’s all the rage. And I love it. Anson covets/hoards/hides every ring of plain old vanilla masking tape she can get her hands on. I can’t keep it in the house.  Wait until she finds out there’s an entire jewelry line she can design using random jewelry “lying” around the house… with masking tape. Glorious brightly colored, patterned, leopard print,  masking tape. $33 Girls.DuctTapeParty


JAPANESE WASHI TAPE is masking tape. Very, very, pretty masking tape made of natural fibers (think bamboo or bark). I realize the Scrapbooking pros out there will shame me being the last person on earth to know about Japanese Washi Tape. I accept that. A few roles of this in someone’s stocking is an awesome gift. $13 for 5 rolls. Very nice.


Rainbow Loom. You know. I know you know. Since when did fluorescent orthodontic bands become bracelets? This trend recently caught my attention when I overheard a teacher talking about using them as tools in the classroom for for hyper kids. They can “loom” with their hands/fingers and listen with their ears. The body (the distraction) becomes focused/calmed/redirected so the brain can focus. You know, because I’m a cognitive development expert. (Disclaimer: I am not an expert in anything so please refer to Google, like I do, for medical advice.)

Buy this locally or find the one closest to you:

p.s. It says this is a toy for +8. And that does make sense, but it’s good to present kids with things that are considered the “next level.” This way, their brain is a little more challenged. Remember the the “next level” is 100% subjective. p.p.s This seems like a very important counterfeit message/warning that Rainbow Loom feels compelled to report. It certainly doesn’t hurt to take their word for it and it’s even more of a reason to buy locally so you can check things out.

girl.americangirlmannersAmerican Girl: A Smart Guide to Manners. As a parent, this is a real tool for me, and I really think my daughter will enjoy it. I think we’ll enjoy it together. Hopefully it doesn’t have the same effect a gym membership or exercise tape might have.

There is a wonderful collection of books that I’ve heard are really good, including how to take care of your body, feelings, boys, money, the Internet, middle school, parties, babysitting kid, and so much more. A girlfriend of mine told me that her 6yo really enjoys these books and whenever there’s a topic that isn’t relevant, she just skips over it.


Ban.Do Twist Scarf is a wired chiffon or lame scarf that can be tied in a twist, a bow, around your neck, or as a bracelet and they come in 12 beautiful, bright colors! $20

iPhone 4 Case. Attempting to channel my inner teen, here. They also have a 5 and 5s case. $25

Fujifilm Instax Mini 8 Instant Camera comes in different colors and produces really high quality instant photos. Super fun! $100

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