Maressa Brown


I am a writer and occasional editor. My work has appeared in Better Homes & Gardens, First for WomenWoman's World, AOL, YourTango, and various other publications. Interests include holistic health/fitness, beauty/style, reading, pop culture, astrology, summer, baking, and cooking with lots of veggies and spices! I've lived in Chicago, Boston, London, L.A. and Manhattan and now reside in north NJ with my Jersey boy husband. In our free time, we frequent BYOB spots, buy overpriced (but so yummy!) eats at Whole Foods, and do bizarrely huge loads of laundry.

Sipping on:

Organic coffee with coconut milk and stevia

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    Most moms' reaction to celeb baby names like Apple (Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martin's daughter), Bodhi (Megan Fox and Brian Austin-Green's little one), and North (West, of course) usually amounts to one gigantic eye roll. After all, isn't it crazy to name your kiddo something so "trendy"? Well, turns out, those quirky names aren't nearly as trendy as we think, according to intriguing statistics from scientist-blogger David Taylor.

    Taylor charted name popularity via chromatographs (graphs that indicate the speed at which something reaches its peak popularity, versus its volume/popularity overall) to pinpoint the truly trendiest names, which will most definitely surprise you! Here, the top 10 trendiest girls' and boys' names.

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    Used to be that when you started to think about trying for a baby, you'd do a bit of genetic testing, and maybe get a recommendation on a prenatal vitamin. But preconceptual wellness has come a long way! Whether you want to lay a solid foundation well before whipping out the ovulation calculator or you've been trying to get pregnant for a while, there's more to it than popping a supplement and eating your veggies.

    Nutritionist Carolyn Gundell, who leads the Fertility Nutrition Program at Reproductive Medicine Associates of Connecticut (RMACT), works with reproductive endocrinologists to help women lead a more "fertile lifestyle." "Before pregnancy, this can really help patients improve not only their ovulatory function, but optimize their overall health," Gundell says. "And [the message] is let's not just adopt these behaviors to get pregnant, but for life. Because our health is the best gift we can give our children."

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    A court ruling last week is being seen by some parents as a victory, but it really is anything but. The state Appellate Division found that a Long Island father's spanking of an 8-year-old boy "was a reasonable use of force." This comes after a judge had determined last year that the dad had abused his son "by inflicting excessive corporal punishment."

    Allegedly, the dad had spanked the child with an open hand as punishment for cursing while they were at a party in 2012. What's more, according to the court's ruling, "the father and the child returned home from the party, the father repeatedly struck the child with a belt on the buttocks, legs, and arms." If that sounds like a completely unreasonable "use of force" to you, you're not alone, but the dad denied the latter, and apparently, there was insufficient evidence to uphold that charge. But the court's decision to give the dad a pass on this spanking altogether is disconcerting in itself.

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    Carey D. Andrew-Jaja, M.D. may be an OB/GYN, but he can also add "viral sensation" to his resume now. The cheerful physician has become internationally known since word got out that at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center's Magee-Women's Hospital in Pennsylvania, he's known as the "singing doctor." For almost 30 years and while delivering more than 8,000 babies, Andrew-Jaja has been welcoming little ones into the world with song. His first choice is usually "Happy Birthday," but he'll also sing other songs by parents' request or pull out one of his "greatest hits" -- like "It's a Wonderful World" by Louis Armstrong or "Not While I'm Around" from the Stephen Sondheim musical Sweeney Todd -- for newborns and their families after deliveries.

    It's a tradition that has touched so many moms and their babies over the years.

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    Even before her new book, Keep Calm & Parent On: A Guilt-Free Approach to Raising Children by Asking More From Them and Doing Less, hit shelves earlier this week, Emma Jenner found herself at the epicenter of ardent debate among moms. All because her article for The Huffington Post, which details the "modern parenting crisis," struck some parents as controversial (to say the least!).

    As a reality star on TLC's Take Home Nanny, child development and child behavioral specialist, and founder of consulting service Emma’s Children, Jenner has studied and worked with children for 17 years. Upon noticing that the same parenting mistakes were arising among family after family, she decided it was time to share her approach with the masses. 

    Emma spoke with The Stir about the biggest mistakes parents are making today, what they can do to be happier and more effective, and of course all those tongues clucking about kids' right to choose their own sippy cup colors.

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