5 “Cool Mom” Apps That Make Life Easier

COOLMOM

We know it, motherhood is hard.  All you want is a little more time — time to spend with the kiddos, yes, but also – dare we say it – a little time for yourself, with your husband, with your friends.  Just a little more balance. To feel a little bit more like a cool mom, and not just one of those moms in mom jeans

Luckily, technology is on our side…stepping up to help us out. Big time. Some pretty great services are on the scene that can actually give you time back, and help you feel more like your cool old self again.

1) Instacart.
Yes, yes, as working moms we are total Instacart proselytizers!  We swear it has given us hours of our life back, not only saving time going to the grocery store but also avoiding the aggravation of fighting with our kids about what items we will (and will not) buy. Although items on Instacart can cost a bit more (approx. .50-$1.00 per item more), we love the convenience and actually save money by not buying all that other junk that the kids throw in our cart when we aren’t looking! Plus, for only $3.99, you can get your groceries delivered to your home from multiple stores within 2 hours! As design devotees, we also love the slightly French looking logo and lovely font!  And all the reusable bags.  (Oh yeah, and check out the awesome recipe integration with Yummly!)  Thank you, Instacart.  We feel a little more like our old selves already.

2) Next, Drizly.
Ok, this is like Instacart but for wine.  And beer and liquor and stuff. Right??? So helpful when you are having book club or a dinner party and don’t have time to do that one last errand to get the wine.  Super easy and helpful.  A great hostess trick!

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3) Handy.
Ok, this one isn’t in our local area yet, but my sister swears by it and I could not be more excited for it to get here stat. We want broken stuff fixed ASAP (especially if this isn’t your husband’s strong suit). Plus, their hookup to cleaning services is supposedly great.  Nice to have some help on-demand, when you need it, be it on a regular basis or just when things get really out of control.

4) Spotify.
Simultaneously keeping you hip and the house, happy.  Our favorite playlists include Feel Like Gatsby, Feelin Good and Deep Focus.  Also – instant party – be the hero when you share Happy Birthday, Happy Hour, and Ultimate Pre-Wedding Playlist (depending on the occasion of course!).

While we are on the subject of good stuff to listen to, everyone reading this needs to make sure they have a great podcast app on their phone. On the iPhone, you should automatically have a purple “Podcasts” app on your screen which works just fine to quickly and easily listen to podcasts, but there are also other podcast apps you can download too. There is nothing that makes a commute or the laundry go faster than listening to an awesome podcast, be it Serial, The Longest Shortest Time (amazing for new parents), or (our favorite for entrepreneurial types) How To Start A Startup.

5) Ink.
It feels like two things that are always on the to-do list are to write thank you notes and to connect with relatives, especially those who are older and live alone.  Ink is a great app that lets you do just that via custom photo cards from your phone, designed and sent automatically from your home. We’ve made amazing birthday thank you cards, Easter cards and just little ones to say “hello, we miss you” with a cute pic of the kiddos.

At first, Ink may seem a little expensive at $1.99, but after you think about the card expense, your time, plus a stamp, it all seems worth it.  And Aunt Shelly agrees!  Now you can be more efficient but still express gratitude and thoughtfulness. What could be cooler than that?

6) Stylevise.
Ok, this one is ours. And it’s not even really an app yet. But it is a website, and you can check us out at www.stylevise.com.  Stylevise is there for you when you are stuck trying to figure out what to do with an area of your home, how to tackle that birthday party, or what to wear to that big wedding next month.  Just submit your dilemma for free and we’ll get our roster of talented stylists on it, sending you bids for how they would solve that problem ASAP.

As my sweet son Nick would say, “easy peasy, lemon squeezy.”  And it’s fun and tailored to your budget. Plus, it’s exciting to get to know talented stylists from all over the world, and get their fresh new perspective and great ideas!

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So, voila! Now that your fridge is full, the wine is poured, the house is clean, the music is on, you can Style It Up A Notch with Stylevise.  And all the sudden, you feel like yourself again. And yes, like a cool mom, with everything under control (ok, mostly), happy and beautiful.

If there are any other cool-mom-apps you are loving, leave a comment and let us know…and please send this to friends so they can contribute! We’d love to make a cool infographic with all the must-have apps for moms, and share it with everyone. Thanks so much!

One Happy Guest Room

Shelby came to Stylevise needing help. She had recently painted her guest room but didn’t love the paint color she chose. She didn’t want to spend even more time and money repainting so decided she was going to make it work, but with a little help from Stylevise. Decorating is not something she enjoys – and actually makes her head hurt (that’s what she told us!). She came to Stylevise for help sprucing up the room with decorative pillows for the bed, a rug, window treatments, and a recommendation for how to place the rug and furniture in the room. Shelby received bids back from our roster of talented stylists, reviewed the bids (and profiles) she received, and hired one of our amazing Stylevisors, Julia Wester. Shelby loved collaborating with Julia to get a solution for her guest room – a solution that would make the room more inviting and beautiful, complement the existing paint color and Nate Berkus duvet she already had and was within her budget of $200-$300 for purchasing any new items. Julia, you rock! And Shelby, a huge thanks again for Stylevising your space! We love working with you.

The solution. (click to view Guest Room Decor Concept

Toddler Birthday Party Made Easy with Stylevise

The doc is IN! Lindsay came to us looking for some help planning her three-year-old daughter’s upcoming Doc McStuffin’s birthday party. One of our talented Stylevisors, designer Kate Bendewald with Studio 7 Creative, provided Lindsay with just the personalized advice she needed – a simple plan that included four uniquely crafted age-appropriate activities and a few decor ideas and recipes.

Lindsay was more than delighted with the advice (which included the ability to click on any item and buy it online)! She also loved that Kate provided her with a link to a free online download of a Doc McStuffin’s checkup lists for the kiddos to use for one of the activities. We had to share just a glimpse. Happy 3rd Birthday, Nina. We hope it’s fabulous!!! (A huge thank you to Lindsay Barth for letting us work on this one!)

Disney Toddler Birthday Party Plan

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Planning a Wedding, One Step at a Time

Wedding Styling and Stylists

All my friends and family would tell you that I got really into planning my wedding. I definitely didn’t hire any sort of wedding planner, thinking I could handle all the details myself. Plus, a wedding planner definitely wasn’t in the budget. That seemed like such a luxury item to me. I never would have even considered it.

That said, I really could have used some “micro advice” on little things here and there… advice on “dilemmas” I spent a TON of time trying to figure out myself and never reached great resolution on.  For example, a color palette that was summer-y and unique, but not too preppy, or the dreaded bridesmaid dress (that is a long story and a disaster, despite my best intentions), or an assortment of platters for the dessert buffet I was so dead-set on. Overall, I spent way, way too much time on that stuff, and during my first year of business school too. I can’t imagine the hours I lost searching the Internet when I could (and should) have been out having fun and meeting people. Oh yeah, or maybe studying.

That is the reason we created Stylevise – not because you can’t choose it on your own, but a little direction and feedback from an expert can save you time and money, and leave you a lot happier in the long run. With something as complicated as a wedding, this is especially true.

Here is my little list of 5 ways Stylevise could help you “micro-plan” aspects of your wedding, borne from my own painful experience and that of my friends and family:

  1. STYLE YOUR ENGAGEMENT PHOTOSYou finally booked the photographer for your engagement photos, but you have no idea what to wear or what background/poses will look naturally beautiful, not contrived. Let the photo stylists at Stylevise help you pick out some looks and prepare for the shoot. This photo could be on your save the date, the first holiday card you send together, or even in the New York Times… might as well get some advice on how to make that photo really sing.
  2. PICK A COLOR PALETTE. Our color consultants could help you and your fiance (or mother, if that is who you are really planning the wedding with like I was) mutually agree on a pretty color palette to help set the tone for the flower, dress, and linen choices.
  3. NARROW THE DRESS OPTIONS. Gather feedback from your bridesmaids on the “yeas” and “nays” – who wants straps, who doesn’t, what lengths work best for different body types. Our Stylevisors could help select a full spectrum of options for you to start working with, including choices of dresses that are coordinated but not all exactly the same (why DO we expect grown women to all wear matching dresses anyway?!)
  4. HELP THE MOTHER OF THE GROOM. We find that mother-of-the-grooms do NOT get the love and attention they deserve. Everyone else has so much attention on her dress, or even a special shopping day set up for it, but the poor mother-in-law is often left out in the cold. No more! Tell your mother-in-law about Stylevise and suddenly she has a devoted expert in her corner. And you can even send her the color palette you created via Stylevise earlier, so she has a little direction. Or a gift certificate!
  5. GET THE RENTALS RIGHT. Renting linens, furniture, and lighting are optional items that some people spend money on, and others don’t. But if you are going to spend the money creating a lounge space or getting the lighting just right, it sure makes sense to get some experienced perspective on how/where to set it up. We have  “staging” experts who are so talented at creating the perfect space for your guests to relax. Sometimes there are places to get unique items that are not very well known, but well-priced and can add originality and comfort to your event. Get some perspective and even a little floor plan without hiring a full-service planner.

We are sure there are many other wedding-related dilemmas you are experiencing that you would like some perspective on, but aren’t going to hire a full-service planner to tackle. So try Stylevise. It’s free to submit your dilemma and there’s no commitment required. We’ll get you reasonably priced bids from talented experts who love to help on discrete, bite-sized problems. Then you can decide whether or not to hire.

So, what “dilemmas” can we help you with when it comes to “micro wedding planning”? Tell us how we can help here.

Stylevise Helps Two Sisters Paint Up Their New Apartment

Just in! Sisters Katie and Sarah just moved into a new apartment. They came to us needing advice on paint colors, and which walls to paint and not paint. One of our talented Stylevisors, architectural color consultant and interior designer Kelly Grant Rogers, quickly provided the advice they needed so they were ready to go when the painters arrived. For $20, Kelly provided them with recommended paint brand/colors, tips for painting it more affordably with a reduced budget and instruction on which walls to paint (and in which color). They couldn’t be more thrilled with the results!

Here’s a before and after picture they shared with us! Congrats on the new pad, girls! It looks awesome.
Before and After: Paint Color Advice