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  • Bloggers We Love

    A tribute to ten local bloggers with a special mix of voice, vision, and love of family

    By Whitney C. Harris

    Editor’s Note:  For a while now, we’ve wanted to celebrate the contribution that bloggers make to family life, but we weren’t quite sure how to do it. We didn’t want to create some version of a top ten list that ranks them against each other in a silly way or, really, in any way. We just wanted to share our thoughts on what’s so appealing and special about them. Hence “Bloggers We Love,” a concept we look forward to doing every year. Criteria? If I had to distill it, I’d say that we love their sensibility, passion, and commitment to their community of readers. Naturally, we looked for people who live locally and in one way or another make family life an important part of their blog. We also wanted to showcase a group whose interests are as varied as those of our readers, who are mostly city parents. In two cases, we opted to include websites that really don’t qualify as a singular blog, but either have a chorus of great individual voices (like Food52) or a singular sensibility that reflects the taste of a special editor (like Apartment Therapy). Our entire editorial team weighed in throughout the selection process, but our former executive editor, Whitney C. Harris, led the charge, doing much of the research and writing. The choices are New York Family’s; the nuance is hers; and the pleasure of discovery is yours.

    Enjoy!  -Eric Messinger

    •  Ilana Wiles

      Category: Parenting & Humor

      Blog: mommyshorts.com

      Founder: Ilana Wiles

      What it’s all about: Local mom of two girls (Mazzy and Harlow), Wiles isn’t afraid to show her readers the sausage making that is modern-day parenting. She mouths off on topics ranging from ridiculous celebrity-mom moments to her own tongue-in-cheek “Murphy’s Laws of Parenting.” Aside from personal rants, the blog also features sardonic insights found on Twitter and offers photo caption contests for creative moms and dads.

      Why we love it: Wiles tackles some seriously hilarious topics, like whether the day you gave birth trumps your wedding day, and lists words that toddlers simply can’t pronounce. (Guess how her little angels say “dump truck”?) Plus, she’s just launched “The Mommy Show” which films her and a guest in the Wiles home chatting about parenting mistakes and mishaps while doing chores like folding laundry.

      Favorite moment: Watching Taye Diggs try to pry open her kid-proof toilet seat.

      Favorite quote: “If you somehow manage to make it to work with an outfit free of poop, snot, or spit-up, you will spill your own coffee on it as soon as you sit down at your desk.”

    • Elisa Zied

      Category: Health & Wellness

      Blog: elisazied.com

      Founder: Elisa Zied

      What it’s all about: Zied has the credentials to back her savvy health suggestions. As a registered dietician nutritionist and certified personal trainer, she’s a big proponent of mindful eating and regular exercise. She’s quick to point out that we all know how to live a little healthier, it’s just a matter of deciding which path to take. Her blogging platform with Parents (parents.com/blogs/food-scoop) is where she really shines, showing other moms and dads how to get kids excited about plant-based meals and how to eat better while on the go. Plus, her new book, Younger Next Week: Your Ultimate Rx to Reverse the Clock, Boost Energy and Look and Feel Younger in 7 Days, was published recently and details some fairly simple yet effective ways for adults to adopt better habits. She also has a Stressipes web series in which she suggests simple changes for everyday physical and mental wellbeing.

      Why we love it: This Manhattan mom of two boys (Spencer and Eli) is one health and nutrition writer who actually comes across as supportive, rather than patronizing. She openly shares her past weight struggles and admits to eating chocolate every day—in moderation, of course. Her approach is warm and holistic, helping readers realize that health is about long-term achievements, not short-term fixes.

      Favorite fit bit: When kids are young, food choices are a family matter. But Zied knows that passing on eating disorders or body image issues should be avoided. In her “7 Tips to Reduce the Risk” post for Parents, she recommends how adults can prevent their own health problems from becoming their kids’.

    • Alicia Harper

      Category: Parenting

      Blog: mommydelicious.com

      Founder: Alicia Harper

      What it's all about: Harper makes a schedule look good. She holds a full-time job as an educator, is a single parent to 6-year-old Aiden, and runs a heartfelt blog. Did we mention she's in her 20s and has three degrees from Columbia University? On top of it all, she still has time to look fashionable! Despite her success in life, Harper has faced serious challenges, and she's not afraid to get real about it. She talks about her daily parenting struggles, things to do in NYC, and holds giveaways, but the heart of her blog is about being true to yourself and working hard for what you want, especially when things get tough.

      Why we love it: This city mom talks about parenting in a way that's relatable while still inspiring. Great blogs are about more than how-to's or the winnable free loot—they're about making you feel connected to someone even if you've never met them in real life. In Harper's more personal posts, she transcends blogger or resource guide and becomes a friend, a mentor, and a life coach rolled into one. And she does it with a lot of personality.

      So glad she went there: Mommy Delicious is an optimistic blog, but serious subjects are not shied away from. It took a lot of courage for Harper to discuss "The Post I'm Not Supposed To Write," which reveals her experience with domestic violence and her belief that silence can kill.

    • Amanda Hesser and Merrill Stubbs

      Category: Food & Dining

      Blog: food52.com

      Founders: Amanda Hesser and Merrill Stubbs

      What it’s all about: Based on the simple concept of cooking 52 weeks a year, Hesser and Stubbs have created a community-driven food blog that bills itself as “helping people become better, smarter, happier cooks.” While some featured recipes have a sophisticated grown-up air to them (think Fennel and Mushroom Pâté with Grainy Mustard), others are eminently doable and kid-friendly (like Magical Marvelous Memorable Cookies). The site is also accessible to amateur chefs with features like how to successfully peel a hard boiled egg. Hesser and Stubbs celebrate the art of cooking for many reasons: from the benefits a regular family dinner has on kids in school to the environmental value in eating sustainably.

      Why we love it: While the aesthetics of the site are a delight—each dish is presented as though appearing in the latest issue of Bon Appétit—the writing and the recipes are the true draw. Brilliantly categorized, making navigation a cinch, the carefully curated columns feature a powerful parenting voice throughout. Nicholas Day’s “Dinner vs. Child” has some eccentric tips on how to get kids to eat like adults, from recommending they try chicken liver pâté to proclaiming that sardines can be “a harried parent’s solace” (new parents might want to check out Day’s book Baby Meets World). Similarly, “Weeknights with Jenny” are one mom’s adventures in preparing family meals that don’t require all of her attention—with the recipes to prove it. Meanwhile, “Amanda’s Kids’ Lunch” gives readers a visual snapshot of what practically gourmet goodness she’s most recently prepared for her little ones (Walker and Addie), and “Cooking for Clara” similarly shows exactly how Stubbs feeds her own tiny toddler.

      Favorite foodie feature: Aside from the encyclopedia of recipes, Food52 has opened an online shop, Provisions, where you can find tools and tableware to really up your gastronomic game.

    • Belle Savransky

      Category: Photography & Art

      Blog: petitebiet.com

      Founder: Belle Savransky

      What it’s all about: Gorgeous photos of this Brooklyn mom’s toddler daughter (Biet Luna) and baby boy (Lucien Hunter) give digital pixels beautiful purpose at the Petite Biet blog. Equally stunning is Savransky’s writing, filled with measured reflections on early parenthood and a poignant sense of time’s passing. She’s mastered the close-up child portrait, paired with carefully shared feelings about being a mom. We can’t describe just how charming this family’s city adventures are—you have to see for yourselves.

      Why we love it: Last year, Savransky took a picture a week of her two little ones for posterity. It’s an unhurried and beautiful way to watch them grow without the gimmick factor of the pic-a-day rapid video montages we’ve seen zipping around. We also adore Savranksy’s new sustainable children’s clothing line, Welkin NYC. Everything is unisex and seasonless, and we haven’t seen anything quite like it anywhere else. But aside from launching her own e-commerce shop, this New Yorker recently decided to demonetize her blog, so you won’t stumble across any nagging ads or sponsored posts.

      Favorite pic: Check out the January 20, 2013 post for some daddy-daughter-doggie tenderness.

    • Rainer Jenss

      Category: Travel

      Blog: intelligenttravel.nationalgeographic.com

      Writer: Rainer Jenss

      What it’s all about: From his scenic perch in nearby Nyack, NY, Jenss writes for National Geographic’s Intelligent Travel blog, specifically the Family Time channel. He covers travel across a wide spectrum, from “glamping” (that’s glamorous camping, for those of you who camp the old-fashioned way) with kids in western Montana to finding age-appropriate activities throughout South Africa. Always thoughtful in his recommendations, Jenss takes a particular interest in selecting the best accommodations. To him, it makes all the difference when traveling with kids.

      Why we love it: We seriously aspire to globetrot like the Jenss Family. This dad of two boys shows readers what family travel can be—what it should be. Imagine a well-planned itinerary free of frustrated attempts at unearthing an affordable lunch spot and incessant chants of “Are we there yet?” And while some blogs focus on the minutiae of one traveler’s experience, Jenss takes a more global approach through describing the history and the cultural significance of where his family journeys, all with a sense of impending adventure.

      Favorite travel tip: Jenss highly recommends exploring beyond the confines of the resort, especially when traveling with children. His recent review of Jamaica’s “Meet the People” program proves that the best way to discover a new place is to hang with the locals, at school, at church, and in their homes.

    • Beth Feldman

      Category: Work & Career

      Blog: rolemommy.com

      Founder: Beth Feldman

      What it’s all about: Feldman is a jack-of-all-trades when it comes to media and motherhood. She’s a former network TV executive who’s launched the online community Role Mommy where today’s busy moms go to be—in her own words—inspired, entertained, and informed. Feldman makes her work-from-home life in Westchester seem blissfully chaotic as she tackles issues related to career, weight loss, and raising kids in the 21st century through her blogger network.

      Why we love it: Despite its name, Role Mommy is for women who actually don’t consider themselves role models—which is precisely the point. Some of the inspiring moms who are featured are high-profile celebrities, but we hear the voices of just as many ordinary women who are doing the extraordinary work of supporting a family both at the office and at home. As a mom of two (Rebecca and Dylan), Feldman is an energetic advocate for working mothers. She seamlessly transitions from covering what’s hot in the kitchen to what’s newsworthy in the workplace, giving equal weight to both endeavors.

      Favorite quote: For her recent 44th birthday, Feldman catalogued 44 memories, one for each year. “Six years old: While vacationing with my family in the Poconos, I got caught shoplifting with my brother in Jamesway (we stole fishing equipment and candy). The last line I remember the security guard telling my dad: ‘And the little girl has a grape whistle pop down her pants.’ Incidentally, the year before, we got caught smoking cigarettes. Thankfully, I shed my delinquent past before I hit my teens.”

    • Carrie McBride

      Category: Home & Design

      Blog: apartmenttherapy.com/family

      Editor: Carrie McBride

      What it’s all about: Brooklyn mom Carrie McBride curates Apartment Therapy’s family platform according to her unique sensibility. She features submissions from families and designers of warm, unfussy, but artful interiors, alongside weekly roundups of things like the best kid-friendly wallpaper or fun ways to repurpose old toys. McBride also contributes personal posts about living in a pint-sized NYC apartment with kids. She can inspire even the least aesthetically inclined parents to spruce up their apartments. The site is essentially a creative digital space where visitors can brainstorm home décor by category, ogle real kids’ room photos for tangible ideas, mull over product listings, and gather ideas for making the most of their living spaces.

      Why we love it: It’s the chance to take virtual tours of freshly designed living spaces in cities across the country from the comfort of your couch thanks to the careful curation of one very design-savvy NYC mom.  The site is packed with the apirational (think an impeccably detailed breakfast nook) but also DIY projects that you can tackle yourself this weekend (peg racks that’ll make an ordinary nursery look like a chic baby boutique).

      Fun Gambit: We really love McBride’s post on “Creative Ways to Use Chalkboard Paint in Kids Spaces.” Who knew there are ten different non-paper places you can give your children to draw and not get in trouble?

    • Michelle Horton

      Category: Pregnancy & New Parenthood

      Blog: earlymama.com

      Founder: Michelle Horton

      What it’s all about: This aspiring magazine writer became a 22-year-old parent and life took an unexpected detour. Now 27, she’s exactly where she wants to be, working as a professional writer and raising a little boy (Noah) with her high-school sweetheart. On her blog, Horton schools women on having kids at a young age while grappling with every aspect of early motherhood: finances, education, career, marriage, social life, personal fulfillment. Sharing email conversations and reader questions and concerns, Horton lays bare all the feelings of isolation and insecurity that can come with being a young mom today while offering advice and possible solutions.

      Why we love it: Horton’s writing can be found all over the Internet on major parenting sites but Early Mama is where she really lets it all hang out. While she’s decidedly upbeat about unplanned pregnancy (just look at the “Why I Love Being an Early Mama” feature), Horton doesn’t ignore the more difficult aspects of young parenthood, like self-doubt, feeling like you’re missing out on personal growth, and being compared to other people your age—just to name a few. Crushing stereotypes along the way, she evokes a genuine sense of hope for young women and couples. She’s pretty much every reader’s personal parenting cheerleader.

      Favorite piece of mom advice: In a post titled “10 Things I Wish I Knew Then,” Horton uses the power of hindsight to tell it like it is“Your mother doesn’t know everything. The difficult thing about having a baby before any of our peers is that we rely on advice from older generations. A) The research has certainly changed in the last 20 years, and B) They don’t really remember. How do I know this? Because I hardly remember my pregnancy, and it was three years ago.”

    • Nicole Blades

      Category: Parenting

      Blog: msmarymack.com

      Founder: Nicole Blades

      What it’s all about: For three years, Blades has chronicled what it’s like to mother with both confidence and compassion as Ms. Mary Mack. A media consultant by day, she keeps an unfussy and thought-provoking blog that hopes to start larger conversations on parenting and, well, being human. Sharing thoughts and observations on everyday life, Blades covers everything from de-cluttering your closet to teaching children the difference between being given something and working for something in life. Meanwhile, she’s working on a book about race and motherhood.

      Why we love it: Blades blogs much in the same way your best friend likes to chat when you meet for your weekly latte—about anything and everything. But she’s not frenetically dispensing advice to her audience. Rather, MMM plays witness to her own parenting and then asks readers what they think, what they might have done in her position. Plus, she’s a serious writer who polishes her stuff better than many bloggers out there. And her video “vlog” entries are just as good. Also, a healthy dose of giveaways (think: plenty of books and food) doesn’t hurt either.

      Favorite vlog: While raising a biracial child (Quinn), Blades talks about being mistaken for her son’s nanny. Watch “The Rent is Too Damn High for What Folks Say to Mothers of Mixed Race Kids” for her generous take on the crazy things some strangers have said to her.