Talking Periods & Parenting with LOLA Co-founder Jordana Kier

We check tags on clothes and scan ingredients labels at the supermarket – but how much do we know about the everyday-essential tampon? Well, a whole lot more now, thanks to LOLA.

Jordana Kier and Alexandra Friedman founded LOLA in 2015 to get more of us talking about menstruation and questioning what we put into our bodies monthly. The subscription service delivers 100% organic cotton period products (including a First Period Kit) and gyno-approved “sexual wellness” products straight to your door. 

With a mission to “build the first lifelong brand for a woman’s body, from first period to last hot flash,” Jordana and Alex are leading the charge to bring “periods out of the bathroom and into the broader cultural conversation.”

 

Jordana and Alex are moms, too. (In fact, Alex is currently on maternity leave with her second.) The Awesome News spoke with Jordana about new motherhood (her daughter Rose is 8 months), and how she plans to educate her little girl about that glorious time of the month… 

Jordana and Alex with their daughters.

Where did the name LOLA come from?

The name comes from my husband’s late grandmother, and we liked the idea that there was a real person behind the name. She was an educated woman who always spoke her mind and she grew up in a time when not a lot of women were going to college. We just really love that part of the story – that we should never be afraid to ask the questions that we all are probably thinking. 

 

You and Alex share the role of CEO. How do you juggle the business with very young babies at home?

Well, over the past three years, we’ve basically alternated taking maternity leave. So Alex took her first in 2017; I took mine in the first three months of this year, and then she’s just coming back in a few weeks from giving birth again. It’s a good example of how we’ve had to be very open about the fact that our lives aren’t compartmentalized into what we do at home and what we do at work. And nobody should really have to be thinking about a work-life balance – just life! 

After your daughter was born, how soon did you feel the draw to get back to work?

I mean, honestly? Pretty soon. But I was lucky in the sense that my daughter was a good sleeper pretty early on and so that enabled me to be a person again. I think once I was able to unscramble my brain a bit from the lack of sleep, I was ready to start to see what was happening at the business. Workwise, my personality just doesn’t lend itself to being completely in the dark, and I think the sooner I was able to acknowledge that, the better it was for me. It was just what worked for me personally, and it doesn’t mean that it would necessarily work for anybody else. 

What does 7 AM look like at your house?

Waking up Rose ready with her bottle. We see the dog is patiently waiting to get walked. The morning news is on and we’re listening to it in Rose’s room while she’s having breakfast. 

What do you hope that Rose learns from having a powerful successful working mom?

I think it’s not being afraid of asking the tough questions or engaging on a tough topic. I think you have to be a little vulnerable to talk about your period or talk about your sexual experiences and share that maybe with friends, but also maybe with strangers. I hope to pass on to my daughter that same openness and what I hope is confidence in driving big conversations forward.

It’s super-early, but… have you thought about how to approach the big “period talk” with Rose? Will there be diagrams?

I’ve actually been thinking about this a lot lately! I hope it’s not a talk; I hope that it’s an ongoing conversation, where early on I’m talking about my period and my body, and encouraging her to see these are normal things we go through. We’re not just sitting down and having a formal talk – there’s always an opportunity for her to ask questions and I’m not just giving her one chance.

Thank you, Jordana! Check out more interviews with our inspiring mom community, including a supermodel and a nonprofit CEO.

Meet the NYC Moms Behind 2019’s Must-have Accessory

Our favorite thing about SALT handbag straps is that they look like giant colorful friendship bracelets – but what else would you expect from two business partners and BFFs? Despite being thick-and-thin partners for life, SALT co-founders Marla Toplitzky and Kacy Lubell never intended on going into business together.

“We were just chatting one day about merging two products we loved – a detachable bag strap and the beautiful woven strap on a Wayúu bag – and were like, “Well, we could make a few samples and see what happens? We went from selling to our friends to a 12,000-person waitlist overnight. It was crazy!”

 

Splashed across the internet as the must-have accessory for busy, stylish moms, detachable SALT handbag straps are up there with No.6 clogs and Kamm pants. The thick, vibrant strap looks like a guitar strap, with hooks you can clip to your favorite handbag… or camera (a fun discovery on the SALT Insta feed). Each strap is hand-woven by local Wayúu artisans in the La Guajira region of northern Colombia. Through their partnership with Nest, a nonprofit that works with a global network of artisans (especially women), SALT is helping Wayúu handworkers grow their businesses, while preserving their traditions, cultures, and beliefs.

In honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Marla and Kacy created the limited-edition PINK Strap, with 50% of the proceeds going to F*ck Cancer. “It’s a cause that’s important to us because it impacts so many people, and [F*ck Cancer] emphasizes prevention and early intervention. That saves people’s lives! As a women-owned and led company, we feel it’s our responsibility to take every chance we can to help,” says Marla.

Of course, both women know exactly what makes moms tick – they have five children between them, all under age 10! The Awesome News asked Marla and Kacy to share the highs and lows of parenting. 

So, how did you come up with the name, SALT?

Marla: We wanted to play on the idea of an accessory that adds dimension, brightness and/or spice to an existing item. As in, just add SALT to your bag for some extra flavor!

What’s it like being in business with your best friend?

Kacy: Incredibly fun and funny! For us, even the most boring conference call is hysterical. It’s also incredibly helpful that we don’t have to check our personal lives at the door when we come to work. We can talk and support each other as friends while running the business. We know exactly what each of us is trying to juggle at any given time.

Marla: Often we text until midnight (at least) and share, literally, every idea that pops into our heads. We almost always know what the other is thinking, which comes in handy! We work around each other’s lives and schedules. It feels like a family business.

 

Marla with husband Harlan and kids Annabelle, 7 and Benny, 5.

 

Why did you decide to partner with Nest?

Kacy: We partnered with NEST to ensure that our production is safe, fair and socially responsible for our artisans – and that we help them grow and thrive economically. We’re beyond excited to be taking a trip together to Colombia in November to spend time with the artisans in their communities! We want to truly understand how best to support them.

What is your biggest challenge as a business owner and mom?

Marla: There are not enough hours in the day to do both full-on. You always feel behind in one or the other.

 

Kacy with husband Dan and sons Duke, 9, Beau, 6 and Jack, 3.

 

What’s been your proudest moment as business owners and moms?

Kacy: When our kids spot SALT straps on the streets of New York and beyond. They’ll shout, “LOOK, MOM! A DUKE STRAP!” It’s hard to articulate how good that feels – their pride in us.

 

Six Ways to Look Good & Feel Good About Supporting Cancer Research

 

SALT The PINK Strap: This breathable handwoven strap adds an eclectic touch to your favorite handbag – with 50% of proceeds donated to F*ck Cancer.M.Gemi x F Cancer Women’s Laces: M.Gemi and F*ck Cancer joined forces on a collection of unashamedly bold statement pieces to boost cancer awareness. These Italian-made shoelaces slot effortlessly into your wardrobe – and 100% of your purchase goes to F*ck Cancer.Girlfriend Collective 1 in 8 Tee: In the US alone, 1 in 8 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in her lifetime. Purchase this unique hand-dyed tee and 100% of proceeds will go to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation.

Vans Breast Cancer Awareness SK8-HI: Vans created its quirky-cool collection with UK charity CoppaFeel!, founded by Kristin Hallenga, who was diagnosed with secondary breast cancer at just 23. The line sends a strong message to young people: Stamp out late detection by educating yourself about your breasts. A portion of proceeds from the collection will benefit CoppaFeel!.Naked Cashmere Puff Love Slippers: For every purchase of these luxuriously soft, pom-topped slippers, Naked Cashmere will donate $25 to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation. 

K Kane Chain Letter Neon Bracelet: A fun, bright addition to your arm party, or as a cheery standalone statement, 50% of the purchase price of any pink cord bracelet will be donated to The Pink Agenda 

A Sleep Pro Answers ALL Your Bedtime Qs

The first month or two back from summer break wreaks havoc with your kids’ bedtime routine – and yours! Sleep pro Leigh McMahon is here to help.

Starting back at school plays havoc with sleep. After a fun summer of choose-your-own-bedtime and zero responsibility, the sudden shift into “real life” is understandably a struggle for kids, and the stress and bewilderment can take a toll on bedtime.

“For most of us, summer is a time when bedtimes might slip later – the bedtime creep certainly happened in my house!” says Bonne Nuit Baby sleep consultant Leigh McMahon. 

Leigh has seen both sides of sleep training: when her sons were infants, she used a sleep consultant herself. Now Owen, nine and George, five-and-a-half, are champion dozers, as you would expect! We asked Leigh to share a few easy, effective ways to kick those bad summer sleep habits, plus her picks of the best sleep apps for kids.  

Sack-time Hacks: Here’s what to do if your child…

 

…wakes up during the night

Try: Adjusting bedtime 

Night wakings are a sign of being overtired, often due to too-late bedtimes. A typical bedtime is anywhere between 6:30 and 7:30pm – by that point, kids have usually been up for at least 12 hours, their brains and bodies have been busy and they’re ready to power down. An early bedtime is like duct tape for sleep problems, in that it can solve a lot of them. Choose a few nights per week where you make an early bedtime a priority – 6:30 isn’t unheard of for four-to-six year olds, seriously! 

…is a bedtime procrastinator

Try: The “Silent Return”

The Silent Return is our name for the super-boring, super-quiet method of turning kids around and putting them back in their bed. They’re not going to get another drink of water, they’re not going to get another tuck-in – nothing. Sometimes it takes a couple of nights of rinse and repeat, but you’ll start to break that habit by showing your kids that there’s no reason for them to be up, they’re not missing anything. I tell parents with very persistent older children to not even make eye contact with them!

…regularly climbs into your bed

Try: Talking it out

When making changes around sleep, for older kids especially, we suggest a “family meeting.” Pick a time when everybody’s well-rested and in a good mood. Explain to your kids that summer sleepovers were fun, but now that they have so much more going on, their body needs a lot of really good rest – and so does the whole family. It doesn’t have to be a long meeting! Make a couple of easy-to-follow rules, like, “Everybody sleeps in their own bed at night” and “We don’t wake other sleeping people in our house.”

If your older child has taken to sleeping with you or their siblings for comfort, the Parental Presence method is an effective way to get everybody back in their sleeping space. It’s a two-week process, where you stay with your child in their own bed until they fall asleep, then gradually physically move away every few nights. Contact is minimal and that’s really the key, especially with older kids: don’t engage, because if they see a tiny little opening, they will jump on it.

…takes forever to wake up 

Try: Giving back control

To give kids some ownership of waking up without a lot of parental input, an OK to Wake! clock can help. You set it for whatever time you want it to light up (green means “get up”), and there’s an alarm function. Maybe let that go off first before you barge in and take the covers off! 

…is surgically attached to screens

Try: Quiet activities together

Get a shoe box and add small, screen-free activities that you rotate each week: an easy puzzle, Legos, Tegu blocks, Magna-Tiles, a coloring or tracing book (which is very calming to the brain). If it’s possible, try to color with them and maybe do some blocks – this quiet time is when kids might start talking about their day, when Mom or Dad is just sitting there listening and not running in a million different directions. It’s a great opportunity for anxious children to talk about something that happened during the day that might prevent them from falling asleep.

Weekend Images Inc.

 

Leigh’s Healthy Sleep Trifecta

Turn their bedroom into a cozy cave to encourage a full night of zzzzs.

Cool 💤

An ideal sleep temperature is between 68 and 71 degrees Fahrenheit.

Dark 🙈

The more cave-like you can make the room, the better. There are a million different blackout curtain and shade options, but one I recommend to clients is the Amazon Basics blackout curtain.

Quiet 🙏

Get a white noise machine! They help the brain power down and get into a restful state. “My favorite is the Marpac, which is used by the NICU. Send your kids to college with a white noise machine, they will thank you for it!” says Leigh. Yoga is another way to ease kids into sleep and calm down the nervous system before bed. Read a yoga storybook together or try a few poses with the lights down: child’s pose, legs up the wall, and happy baby.

skynesher

 

The Right Night Light

You might be aware that your phone, TV and tablet all have blue light in them, which sends signals to your brain to stay awake. Well, your child’s night light might, too! According to Leigh, many night lights (say, from the grocery store) have blue light, stimulating kids’ brains when they’re trying to fall asleep. For younger children, she suggests the VAVA night light with a charging pad (great for nursing), and for older kids, the Gummygoods Night Light, which has a timer. 

 

Best Bedtime Meditation Apps for Kids

  1. Stop, Breathe, Think For kids aged 5–10, it helps kids check their feelings and “create their own force field of calm” to aid peaceful sleep. 
  2. Headspace does special mindfulness sessions for kids, aged from toddler up to 12.
  3. GoZen uses animated videos to guide kids with anxiety issues.

Leigh McMahon is a certified sleep consultant with Bonne Nuit Baby, based in Denver. She majored in Child Development and Psychology at Tufts University, and has been featured on websites such as Motherly and Lucie’s List. Follow Leigh’s #boymom and #dogmom adventures @leighwaldmcmahon

Ali Bird’s Instagram Life Looks So Damn Gorgeous, We Want Her To Adopt Us

A two-second scan of Ali Bird’s Instagram feed is all it takes to get a sense of the family’s effortless cool factor.

A two-second scan of Ali Bird’s Instagram feed (here) is all it takes to get a sense of the family’s effortless cool factor. You’ll see weekly videos of the Director at The Wall Group – who represents the most powerful stylists and hair and makeup artists – hip-hop dancing to Cardi B at the Peridance Capezio Center. In between are shots by (and of) her partner, photographer and director Cass Bird, known for her incredible work in Vogue and with brands like GAP, Nike, and Warby Parker. Of course, their two children, Leo, 11, and Mae, 9, play starring roles, exuding the kind of badass vibes only kids who grow up with creative New Yorker parents can.  

 

We sat down with Ali to talk all things parenting: tackling mornings with a “sleep zombie” and an early bird, striving for emotional transparency always, and bonding over Steve Carell memes. 

What does 7 AM in your house look like?

Coffee and repeating, “Time to get up!” 20 times to [the] kids and Cass. Leo is a night owl and it’s so hard to get him out of bed. He’s not interested in breakfast or getting dressed. I can literally choose anything for him and he’ll wear it because he’s a sleep zombie. Mae is 100% the opposite. She is an early bird – wakes right up, wants breakfast right away, and is very opinionated about her outfits. She’s got a very authentic, specific style and loves getting herself dressed.

Cass BIrd
Leo and Mae. Credit: Cass Bird

 

What does 7 PM in your house look like?

Family episodes of The Office. The humor in The Office is unparalleled – we have so many family jokes about it. It’s really Leo’s favorite and he just gets the humor and weirdness and so do I. We connect on that and are both constantly quoting it to each other, sending each other memes. Cass and Mae are along for the ride.

 

What’s an unexpectedly awesome aspect of parenting? 

Getting to re-parent yourself. I think my parents’ generation was afraid to be seen as not having all the answers, and they often didn’t let us in on their internal lives. For me, it’s healing to be able to actually share feelings, thoughts, ideas and frustrations with my children, at a level that meets them, of course.

Cass BIrd
Credit: Cass Bird/Vogue.com
Cass BIrd
Fam’s all here… for Vogue Magazine! Credit: Cass BIrd/Vogue.com

What’s an unexpectedly NOT awesome aspect of parenting? 

Going from zero to 100 real quick! I don’t know any kids that listen on the first time. Mine certainly don’t. The constant repeating makes me frustrated.

What do you always find time to do with your kids every day, no matter how busy you are?

Connecting to humor, silliness and fun. It’s a way [for us] as parents to be kids again and meet our kids on their level. It relieves my anxiety and lets me remember not to take everything so seriously. We have a lot of jokes and a lot of family fun.

 

You and Cass work in the fashion and beauty space. What do you hope your children know and take away from watching you both?

That it takes all types to make the world interesting, and that being able to truly express yourself is the most beautiful of all. I think Cass and I strive to bring our authentic selves into every area of our lives.

Check out more stories from power moms we think are awesome here and here