Diaper Genius


Big changes this week at the Chapman house. I just returned from maternity leave and Hannah has moved on up to size 2 diapers. Before I gave birth no one told me just how diaper obsessed you become in the first few months of motherhood. I thought the biggest worry would be about diaper rash but these little suckers help you keep track of how well your child is thriving…too few diapers and your baby isn’t eating enough…a mom’s worst nightmare! 

So my lifesaver was that little wetness indicator on the front of the Pampers Swaddlers Sensitives. Diapers today are so good at wicking away moisture it can be hard to tell when they are actually wet. It’s no surprise that diaper manufacturers figured out they were selling less diapers and needed to give parents and caretakers a reason to change more frequently. So while I know that a blue line doesn’t necessarily mean you need to change it right away (even if they want you to), that wetness indicator gave me the reassurance that I was doing a good job as Hannah’s mom and that was worth paying extra for!  

Now with Hannah at almost 15 lbs, I’m no longer as obsessed with the wetness indicator and dare I say it, willing to extend the life of each diaper. As we move to the next size I am reminded how many of my mom friends swore by Pampers Sensitives for the early months (although they never said why) but suggested going to whatever brand is on sale in the later months. How brand loyal are Moms once the insecurity of early motherhood has worn off?  For now we’re sticking with Pampers but I have to say the Huggies at Costco are quietly calling my name.

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Hop to the Shops


Ever since I caught the marathon bug a little over a year ago, I have become a glutton for gear.  Like a moth to a (rather expensive) flame, so am I to the many running stores that pepper the Manhattan sidewalks—taunting me with window displays of the latest shoe models and GPS devices.

In light of our down in the dumps economy, I’ve been trying to scale back on my “stuff”-buying–i.e. everything other than your basic food/water/shelter/cable.  I have been grudgingly, but dutifully, deleting the thousands of emails from retailers that flood my inbox daily, all promising sales, deals, blowouts…oh my.

However, in a rare moment of weakness I happened to click on an email from one of my very favorite sports apparel stores, JackRabbit Sports, and was struck by the incredible personalization of the letter.  More than simply offering me $5 off my next shoe purchase, and in addition to reminding me of the 10% every returning customer is privy to, it filled me in on exactly why I needed to hop on in asap. 

It gently brought to my attention the exact date that I purchased my last pair of shoes, followed by the well-known (but oft forgot) knowledge that the average lifespan of a running shoe is 400 miles.  And I had passed that.  300 miles ago.  To make it even more irresistible, they listed the exact store where they had my shoe (and size) in stock…and gave me the price after all of my discounts.  Literally all I needed to do was show up, hand over the money, grab the box, and head out. 

If you make it that easy, no one can resist….well, it would take a woman far stronger than I.

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Kudos to Haagen-Dazs Five ice cream. So clever and yet so simple at the same time. I knew it was a home-run when out with my Mom and her old boss, a woman always dressed to the nines in Chanel suits and dripping in diamonds. We went to the fanciest restaurant in our town because she was with us and, after glancing at the wonderful dessert menu overflowing with cheesecake, gelato and double-stuffed chocolate cake she said, “lets pass, lets hit up the local grocery store, I have the perfect dessert.”  

At the A&P she picked up three different flavors of Five (one for each of us, of course) and exclaimed, “this is delicious and has to be good for you–it only has five ingredients and they’re listed right on the front of the package.” Genius. I never looked at the back of the label, I didn’t have to, Haagen-Dazs gave me permission to eat as much as I want because they know women today are reading packages and they took the hard work out of it. Never mind the calories on the back, I can see there’s no high-fructose corn syrup on the front. Bravo, you’re giving women everywhere the chance to eat ice cream minus the guilt!

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Gimme More


As of two weeks ago, I am the proud owner of a beautiful iPhone 3G. My treatment towards it is reminiscent of a stage mother’s obsession over her child prodigy. I’m constantly praising its features to my friends and colleagues (“iPhone is soo clever, it can…”), and I am on a perpetual scavenger hunt for new apps to pull out as party tricks.

Recently, there have been a rash of articles lauding the 1 billion downloads of the 25,000 (and counting) applications available. From Fast Company to the NY Post, everyone has an opinion on the app with the coolest interface, the most efficient time-manager, and the most obscure virtual game.

With the increasing specificity and diversity of apps available, home screens are becoming indicative of their owner’s personality…it’s become a mini facebook page. It certainly has the same stalking potential! It’s easy to tell if you’re a gamer, an audiophile, a news junkie…all from the little square buttons decorating the toy you flash to anyone who will stay still long enough to look. For example, my friend Brendan’s love for obscure microbrews is evident in his BeerBrands app, which will tell you everything there is to know about the local brews in any city you happen to be visiting.

My obsession with filling the face of my phone got me thinking about what my ideal application would be (winner: A Sephora Beauty Insider’s deal list). Out of curiosity, I sent out a short email blast to a group of my friends, all 20-somethings living in the city, asking what their ideal app would do. These are some of the responses I got.

– “An app that finds good scenes and monologues for specific acting situations.”
Aspiring actor

– “One that acts like a TV guide in your pocket so you can see what’s playing when and on what channel. It would also have a search function (so you can see if your favorite made-for-tv movie is playing.)”
MTV employee

– “An application that catalogues all of my items of clothing, like Cher’s closet in ‘Clueless’, and provides outfit suggestions for everyday of the week.”
Jean, Just Ask a Woman

– “An unobtrusive device that continuously records audio such that you always have access to the last 10 minutes of any conversation in which you participated. Can’t believe what you just heard? Need to remember what your boss said? In an argument where your counterpart just contradicted herself? Just play the tape.”
Law student

And my personal favorite, and most applicable for all of us impatient New Yorkers…

– “A really loud honk button, so that if people in front of you on the sidewalk are walking slowly you can honk at them.”
My (very vocal) roommate…

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Say Goodbye to Dish Pan Nails

When it comes to doing the dishes, my solution for not ruining a good manicure is letting my husband attack the pots and pans. Now I have to admit, leaving the sink full of dishes has less to do with my nail polish than my aversion to kitchen clean-up.

Don’t get me wrong, my kitchen is decked out with the best cleaning supplies on the market. My last two obsessions were the Tide-To-Go Pen (it works great on placemats and husbands!) and Mr. Clean Magic Eraser (have you tried this on your walls yet?)   

And now I might have a third one which actually makes me want to attack my All-Clads.  Last night I saw a commercial for a really great (or should I say Brite) idea from the folks at Scotch-Brite.  The Ultra Nail Saver Sponge.    

Beyond just the function of this product, I love the fact that they were able to tap into a whole truth about women which is that while she may act as superwoman around the house – taking care of chores, meals, family, pets, job, etc., she also needs reminders that she doesn’t have to come last in line. Scotch-Brite recognizes that she doesn’t need to give up on herself and her nails to get the job done.

As the website promises, Scotch-Brite is reshaping the way you clean…and perhaps think. This one will have a permanent spot in my kitchen. 

 Just Ask a Woman

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May 23, 2024
by Mary Lou Quinlan

A look at an early production of WORK


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The God Box Goes Global!

“The God Box” has grown to include an app, audio book, philanthropic venture and solo show performed by Mary Lou across the US. Now The God Box Project goes global to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.
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