Category: Health, Fitness + Wellbeing

2017 EWG best safe sunscreens for kids and babies: Which is the most affordable?

Every year, I take a look at the Environmental Working Group’s report on the best safe sunscreens for kids and babies. This list measures popular brands against the EWG’s standards, including everything from worrisome ingredients to false marketing claims. Not every top-ranked tube of lotion is the same value for the dollar, though, so I’ve broken down all 19 of their best safe sunscreens for kids by price per ounce. Because I’ll bet there are other parents like me, who want safe products for their kids but don’t feel the need to spend more money than necessary. Top photo: © Kate Etue for Cool Mom Picks...

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Damn you, Facebook ads: We tried the FLEX disposable tampon alternative, and here’s how it worked for us. In full detail (sorry).

I’m coming up on my 25thish anniversary of my first visit from Aunt Flo. And over that those 2.5 decades, I’ve had the same exact routine every month: tampons and pads. I wasn’t necessarily looking to spice things up in that department, but when I saw the ads on Facebook for a free trial box of FLEX disposable tampon alternatives, I figured, why not give them a try? And then share every sordid detail with the entire Internet. So, here’s how my tampon-free week went, so you can see if making the switch is right for you. FLEX: What is it? (No, really.) Okay, so...

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The panicky mom’s guide to removing ticks from kids — yikes!

You may be wondering just how to remove ticks from your kids, should the need arise. And we don’t blame you one bit. With the warmer weather comes longer days spent outdoors and kids running barefoot in the yard. Also, increased warning about ticks and Lyme disease thanks to a booming tick population this spring. Eek! So to put anxious minds at ease — including our own — we’ve done the research for you and put together this handy guide to removing ticks from kids. Just know we’re not trying to set off any alarm bells here; please know that some experts put your children’s risk of getting...

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Your essential guide to the best, safe tick repellents for kids this spring. Because, eek.

We’re not alarmists around here, but we admit, we’ve been researching safe tick repellents for our own kids. The data we’re seeing on the booming tick population around the country this spring is a little disconcerting, and overall, Lyme disease has been on the rise — at least tripling since the 1990s. Kind of scary for those of us with kids who love to be outdoors. So, I’ve been rolling up my sleeves to scout out the best, safe tick repellents for kids. Because yes to kids playing outside all day — but a massive no to any associated parental anxiety. CMP...

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The Fit Tower Home Workout System lets you achieve all your fitness goals, no gym membership required. | Sponsored Message

This is a sponsored message from Fit Tower If you’ve been looking for a full body workout to help you achieve all of your fitness goals right in your home — without having to join a gym or pay for expensive classes — Fit Tower may be just what you’re looking for. Combining elements of yoga, ballet, Pilates, cardio, and traditional strength training, the Fit Tower comprehensive Home Workout System takes the popular barre workout phenomenon to a whole new level. Created by top personal trainer and fitness hall-of-famer Cathe Friedrich, the Fit Tower system is designed to target the entire body,...

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Beyond Tarot cards: Even skeptics find guidance and clarity with these 4 methods of divination.

I confess that when I’m struggling with an issue or looking for guidance, wisdom or just calm, I have always been a fan of various oracles and methods of divination. And I don’t mean the fortune teller at a street fair years ago, who looked at my palm and told me I would have nine children. I know, this topic may sound a little nutty to some of you. But take it from a science-loving skeptic: when life feels overwhelming, these are the tools that have helped me focus, find clarity, stay mindful and often feel more empowered and in control of my...

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Here’s what happened with I tried Hubble, the company that sends daily wear contacts to your door.

I’m a long-time contact wearer here, especially in those glasses break now and then moments (or when a style moment hits hard). And as much as my optometrist has tried to get me to try daily wear contacts because they’re waaaay better for my eyeballs, they dry out by mid-afternoon. No, thanks. And so, I’ve stuck with the ones I take out at night, wear for a couple of weeks (or um, months, shhhh), and pay a pretty penny for. That is, until Hubble send me a pack of their daily wear contacts a try. Related: The best mascara for contact wearers. And...

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Condoms for Valentine’s Day that give in (ahem) more than one way

You could buy the special man in your life a traditional romantic gift on the 14th. And hey, we have tons of creative and inexpensive Valentine’s Day gift ideas for him that we bet he’ll love. But if you’re looking for something to really spice things up, we may have found just the thing with Sir Richard’s condoms. Yes. Really. For every one of their stylishly packaged condoms you buy, thanks to the partnership of the global org Partners in Health, Sir Richard’s donates one condom to a developing country with the aim to stop the spread of unwanted pregnancies and STIs around the world....

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How much water should you be drinking? This smart bottle can help.

Our whole staff pshaw-ed the idea of a smart water bottle until our Editor Kate gave it a try for a week. Turns out, it can actually help you drink more water, which so many of us really need to do. Not only does the Hidrate Spark track your water intake with its companion app, but it will also give you reminders to drink more water. Granted, a smart water bottle is an investment, at least compared to what you might be using right now, but if you’re like us and tend to reach for the coffee or tea...

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The first reusable tampon applicator: Would you? Could you?

Our Facebook fans pretty much went nuts discussing (okay, debating) our thorough, honest review of THINX Period Underwear this past year, and now the woman-run period innovation company is back with the upcoming launch RETA, the first reusable tampon applicator. Yep. Reusable. Tampon applicator. And hey, why not? Related: The Dot Girl First Period Kit: a lifesaver for moms of tween girls Whether it grosses you out or seems like one more smart step toward ending menstruation squeamishness while helping you save money and be kinder to the earth, it is a pretty fascinating concept. Especially considering the medical grade silicone will likely be way more comfy than...

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Fitness tips for cold weather to help keep you on your routine: Because winter is coming (but pecan pie belly could possibly be avoided)

The winter can definitely put a damper on anyone’s fitness routine, which is why we’re putting together some really helpful, realistic, cold weather fitness tips to help you out as things get chilly. Between the can’t-resist holiday foods and the bitter cold weather that will be here before you know it, we’re all going to be more inclined to stay home and just eat our weight in comfort food. I know first-hand that the struggle is legit and following all the expert tips are easier said than done. That’s why I’m here for you! We’re in this together, mamas! So check out...

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Send some pampering to a mama-to-be with The Stork Bag subscription service

Finally escaping the morning sickness and extreme fatigue routine of the first trimester of my pregnancy has been a big reward in and of itself. And while I’m finding the second trimester and its nesting phase to be so much more enjoyable, it too brings its own challenges (hello, heartburn). So I was more than willing to sign up for a little pampering with The Stork Bag. The Stork Bag is a subscription service that delivers a bag full of goodies geared toward the specific needs of each stage of pregnancy, from the first trimester all the way to a post...

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Safe sleep for babies: 5 reliable sources on SIDS and more, so you can sleep better too.

In honor of SIDS Awareness Month, we’re sharing five of our go-to, reliable resources on safe sleep for babies. After all, sleep is easily the topic that consumes our minds as new parents more than any other — Are they getting enough sleep? Do I really need a schedule? Is my crib okay? Is my mattress okay? Are bumpers actually unsafe? Can they sleep with me? What happens if the baby rolls over onto her stomach?  We get it. It’s stressful! So we really hope these resources help new parents get the info and the reassurances we all need, so we can hopefully rest just...

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Barre Workouts: What’s the difference between Pure Barre and Barre3?

I spent a few solid months tightening up my buns thanks to Barre3 barre workouts a couple of years ago, so when I decided to hit the workout circuit again after a very long summer hiatus, I gave Pure Barre a try instead (thanks to a very tempting new client special). After almost a month taking regular Pure Barre classes, I’ve got a pretty good handle on what makes these two barre workouts different. If you’re wondering which one is right for you, or if barre classes in general should be on your fitness radar, I’ve got the inside scoop. Pure Barre vs. Barre3:...

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A pro’s tips for how to choose the right sports bra. Finally.

No matter what size your chest is, a sports bra is an important — if not the most important — part of a workout wardrobe. But, so many women, including plenty of us at Cool Mom Picks, don’t really have an idea of how to pick the right sports bra for our fitness routine or what constitutes the perfect bra for your body type. And, don’t even get us started on how to decide whether it’s the right fit or not, other than being smacked in the face with a boob. (ED: Ha, I wish. -Kristen) So we enlisted the...

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Primal Pit Paste review: A natural deodorant that really works. Really. Stop making that face.

If we’re going to talk about natural deodorant, there’s no way it’s not going to get a little TMI up in here, which I’m okay with if you’re okay with. Because if you’re like me, you’ve had to use the strongest deodorant formulas, you know, the ones in the box that are one step down from prescription level, and you don’t feel so great about slathering it under your arms every morning and then scrubbing like crazy to get it off. That’s where Primal Pit Paste natural deodorant comes into the story and saves the day. Our beauty expert Kristyn Rudnet actually...

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The silver lining of the Mylan EpiPen price hike news, from a mom of a child with food allergies

When we first discovered my oldest daughter was allergic to peanuts and could have an anaphylactic reaction, our allergist told us that keeping EpiPens with her at all times could mean the difference between life and death. Think about that as a parent. Death. Of your child. You can bet that since that day, she has never gone anywhere without her EpiPens. And since that day, we have had a huge additional annual expense that definitely puts a a strain on our budget. But, that’s what you do to keep your kids safe. So you can imagine that we’ve been all ears when it comes...

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Toothbrushes delivered right to you door. This is our kind of tooth fairy.

When I got an email about Boka oral care subscription boxes, I got pretty excited because I am a little obsessed with toothbrushes. Yes, I’m the one who disinfects them after illnesses, tosses them pretty consistently every 3–4 months, and never ever goes to bed without flossing. That’s what you get when you work for a dentist all throughout high school and college. So when I heard I could get a box with a new toothbrush, paste, and floss delivered to my door every three months, I was elated, and when the Boka Box arrived at my door, it did not disappoint. Related:...

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Our favorite summer sports bra to keep you stylish and supported

The ladies in my Zumba workout class have been seriously bringing it when it comes to stylish workout gear lately. And even though I remind myself that it’s not a competition (something I have to tell myself a lot when we get to the Latin dance portion), I sometimes like to step up my usual I’m-just-here-to-get-gross-and-sweaty look. So what’s hot right now in the world of workout clothing? The fancy back sports bra, like this Free To Be sports bra from Lululemon, which I’ve been wearing way more than at the gym. This bra is simple enough that I don’t need a team of experts...

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The EWG 2016 safest sunscreens for kids: which are most affordable?

Every year, we have turned to the Environmental Working Group’s Annual Guide to Sunscreens to help us make more educated decisions about what are the safest sunscreens to slather on our kids (and ourselves) each summer. But we often find that when you break down the prices, whoa — it’s expensive to get safe sunscreens for kids! Especially considering how much we’re using. So this year we thought we’d take a good look at their short list of the EWG Best Kids’ Sunscreens, find the average prices online (generally from Amazon, Drugstore.com, or the brand’s own website if the product isn’t widely available at...

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The best bug sprays for Zika virus protection and how to apply them safely. Because we’d like to panic as little as possible about our kids, thanks.

This year, the Zika virus is on my mind (and everyone else’s, I imagine) so I’ve been avidly researching the best bug sprays for Zika virus protection. It happens that my daughter is extremely allergic to mosquito bites, so when she goes outside in the summertime, I make sure she’s covered head to toe in insect repellent — and for extra precaution, she wears one of those wristband mosquito repellents too. So you can see that this is an issue for me.   Do Non-Toxic Bug Sprays work against the Zika virus? Because she wears so much spray, I...

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What we think about THINX Period Underwear: An honest review, with all the details.

After 25 years as a woman with a period, you can’t blame me for growing tired of the monthly tampon, pad, and pantyliner rotation. Sorry, no menstrual cup love from me — though I know lots of ladies love them. So, after seeing the Facebook ads for THINX period underwear and then a review from a fellow, trusted blogger, I figured it couldn’t hurt to get a pair and try them. Not just for myself but quite honestly, more for my tween who is about to be entering her period years. (And sorry Sweetie, for embarrassing you completely.) If you’re wondering “Hold...

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10 super simple tips for modeling healthier behavior for your kids.

We admit it, we’re not always the perfect models of healthy behavior. And we know our kids take in eeeeverything. But old habits die hard, whether it’s making a few questionable food choices in front of our kids (ahem), or driving two blocks to the store when we totally could have walked. (Come on, suburban parents, admit it — who’s done it?) That’s why we’re happy to team up with the Fuel Up to Play 60 program. It’s providing health and wellness solutions to schools across America, and working to increase school breakfast awareness and participation, so that more kids can start their day with the fuel they need to...

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7 little indulgences under $10 that make big changes to your mood.

I’m a huge fan of grabbing little indulgences or surprises for my kids here and there to help make them feel better after a bad day or, you know, just make them feel special. But when it comes to me, I have gotten pretty good at rationalizing myself right out of treating myself, even though I know that these little things are not necessarily treats but rather small ways I can help brighten my own mood. And they definitely have a trickle down effect into my work, my kids, and yes, my own mental health. No surprise then that I welcomed the final...

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Stand up straight! 5 simple ways to improve your posture

I’m not sure whether it’s because I’m tall or because I sit hunched over a computer all day long, but I have terrible posture. This isn’t necessarily a new discovery, but what is new to me is how much bad posture can actually affect your stress levels — something I learned as part of our sponsor Aetna’s Month of Mindfulness #Mindful30 challenge. Yikes! Like it’s not bad enough that I realize I look bad slouching in pictures, now it’s contributing to stress? So for my 3rd challenge, they asked me to focus on “perfecting my posture,” and boy, did I need...

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Meditation for parents: 5 easy ways to make it work for you

If you’re following along with me this month, you know I’m trying to make some positive changes in my life related to stress, something I’ve been struggling with both emotionally and physically for quite a while now. Over the last couple of weeks, I’ve been participating in Aetna’s Month of Mindfulness challenge, and wow, it’s definitely giving me the extra push I’ve been needing to reflect on what’s really going on in my life and what I can do to fix it. Hopefully I’m not alone in this and you’ve decided to join me. My first challenge was  5 tips and...

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Simple tips for staying healthy if you sit at a desk all day long

If you spend many hours of the day sitting at a desk or working in front of a computer like we do, then you know how tough it can be on your back, your neck, and uh…even your waistline. But there are actually things — really easy things — that you can do to make your work day easier on your body and to help keep you healthier. We’re partnering with FUTURO Legwear who knows a bit about this whole topic. Their Graduated Compression Legwear helps to reduce swelling and improve circulation, as well as keep you comfortable while your legs are stuck under...

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RXActive resistance activewear: Could these pants mean less time at the gym and more calories burned?

The summer crunch has been tough on my workout routine, which basically means there has been no workout routine. Sigh. But with fall around the corner and my kids back in school, I’ve got my eye on the gym, though I still don’t want to spend half my morning there. That’s why I was pretty intrigued to try out the RXActive resistance activewear, which are supposed to help you burn up to 14% more calories during your workouts. Not kidding. These magical pants, as I’m calling them, are actually the brainchild of a team of New York University medical...

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Sponsored Message: iTest lets you test for strep, right on your smartphone.

This is a sponsored message on behalf of iTest For so many parents, it could be a huge lifesaver to be able to tell the difference between a cold and strep throat before taking time off of work, wrangling a last-minute pediatrician appointment, and heading out with a sick kid.  That’s why iTest might just be the help that tons of parents are looking for. This revolutionary new testing system is like a medical lab in your pocket. It was designed to provide accurate strep test results right from home with the help of your iPhone, and can be used safely on your kids or yourself, anytime, and anywhere....

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Tru-Colour bandages: Because kids come in different colors

I love every single thing about Tru-Colour bandages, from their story to their packaging–but most of all, how they celebrate and honor diversity. Adoptive dad Toby couldn’t find bandages to match the skin tones of three of his five kids, so he created Tru-Colour. They’re available in three shades, all packed in a resealable bag, so addresses one more issue, too.   While they are a bit pricier than regular bandages, with 30 in each bag for around $6 (plus free shipping), I’m happy to pay a bit of a premium in support of such a positive message. Sometimes it’s the simple things that help work towards big...

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