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Charlotte+Asher creates chic diaper bags for the stylish, modern mom.

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Parenthood related topics written by the founders of charlotte+asher.

Thankful for...fresh starts

Chantal Standafer

Starting off a new day with the little ones. 

Starting off a new day with the little ones. 

With Halloween behind us, it’s full steam ahead to Thanksgiving. Well, unless you walked into Target this week, in which case we’re already onto Christmas. But holiday decor aside, in the spirit of thankfulness, we’ll be focusing on this theme for the next few weeks.

In our house these days, we have one very talkative three-year-old (Gaby) and a sixteen-month-old (Boyd), who appears to be teething half of his teeth. In classic threenager fashion, Gaby talks, raising her voice to make sure that she’ll be heard loud and clear. If I am in the middle of something, she then clings to me to grab my attention. Boyd has been a little whiny and wanting to be held a lot. The need for some personal space and quiet is creeping up and up, often rather quickly.

Sometimes I can handle it well. As in the kids take a nap at the same time and I can get a little quiet time, or a nap if I’m really lucky. But other times things pile up, the kids are practically both climbing on me for attention, and well, I kind of lose it. I’ll be short with them, reacting in ways that are not the most loving. And I’m unhappy about it.

But you know what? Every day will not be great. On occasion I wake up on the wrong side of the bed. So it’s unrealistic to expect my kids to be on their A game every single day. But I can choose how I behave and interact with them. And you know what, even if I have a rough day, the great news is that it does not have to be crushing. After years of holding onto the things I did wrong each day and things that I did not accomplish, my focus has recently changed. I now realize that I do not have to be burdened by the past. No matter what happens,  tomorrow comes and it’s a brand new day.  

So there you have it. The big thing I’m thankful for is that with each day I have a fresh start. Each day starts new (even if my task list carries over!), I can learn from the past and I have the chance to make different (hopefully better) decisions than the day before.

What is one thing you’re thankful for in this busy season?

A New Season and Beginning

Laura Hahn

We are well into fall, my favorite season of the year. Now that my family has moved back to the Boston area where I grew up, I finally feel at home. We moved back over the summer, but that time was pretty chaotic with all the drama that came with moving our belongings, furnishing a house, taking 2 kids on a 14 hour plane ride to Asia for 2 weeks, my husband starting a new job, and my son starting preschool. Phew! I finally feel like we are getting into a groove and can breathe a little bit, and I am loving the crisp, autumn air that heralds the excitement of the holidays coming up.

There’s something about fall that always makes me feel nostalgic. It brings back memories of new beginnings: changing your clothes out and back to school shopping, making new friendships, and filling your schedule with seasonal activities and events. The beautiful red, orange, and yellow foliage along with the earthy smells of autumn provide a picturesque background for it all.

When I lived in LA for 3 years, I really missed the seasons. I know LA weather is like paradise most of the year, but being an east coast girl I missed the familiar cycle of the seasons. I would even have trouble remembering when things happened because time seemed to stay still since the weather was always the same, be it October or June. But now that we are back in Boston with our children in tow, things have come full circle. While I’m relearning my city since it’s changed quite a bit over the past seven years, I finally feel at home.

What things do you love about fall? Any favorite memories or pastimes?

Welcoming Fall Style

Chantal Standafer


While fall may technically be here, the weather in Los Angeles is anything but fall-like (at least for someone who grew up in the northeast). I want to wear layers (or at least pants instead of anything light and flowy!), but with temperatures close to triple digits, that's just not going to work out. So without the ability to swap out my wardrobe without being sweaty and completely miserable, I had to change my approach to fall style.  

I started thinking about accessories. Even small things can change up a look. Given our weather, scarves and jackets are out of the question, at least for now. And my jewelry remains pretty much the same year-round. But what I came to focus on is changing up my nail polish. Instead of lighter and brighter shades, I'm now gravitating towards darker hues. 

Just this small change can make such a big difference. And really this is not just for those of us still in summer weather. This is perfect for those who don't want to buy a bunch of new things for the season or simply do not have the time or energy to do so. Changing up your nail color only takes a few minutes and you can even multitask and listen to a podcast or talk on the phone while doing it. Or just enjoy some peace and quiet.  

What's your favorite quick fix for a style change?



A Personal Story

Laura Hahn

As we close up August and National Immunization Awareness Month, we want to end on a more personal note. As much as we can spew facts at parents to do the right thing and immunize their child (assuming s/he is not immunocompromised), nothing can quite affect us as much as stories. So for this post, we are highlighting a letter written by the beloved children's author Roald Dahl. His daughter Olivia caught the measles in 1962, and he wrote this piece in The Sandwell Health Authority in 1986. We encourage you to read on.

Measles: A Dangerous Illness


Olivia, my eldest daughter, caught measles when she was seven years old. As the illness took its usual course I can remember reading to her often in bed and not feeling particularly alarmed about it. Then one morning, when she was well on the road to recovery, I was sitting on her bed showing her how to fashion little animals out of coloured pipe-cleaners, and when it came to her turn to make one herself, I noticed that her fingers and her mind were not working together and she couldn't do anything.

"Are you feeling all right?" I asked her.

"I feel all sleepy," she said.

In an hour, she was unconscious. In twelve hours she was dead.

The measles had turned into a terrible thing called measles encephalitis and there was nothing the doctors could do to save her. That was twenty-four years ago in 1962, but even now, if a child with measles happens to develop the same deadly reaction from measles as Olivia did, there would still be nothing the doctors could do to help her.

On the other hand, there is today something that parents can do to make sure that this sort of tragedy does not happen to a child of theirs. They can insist that their child is immunised against measles. I was unable to do that for Olivia in 1962 because in those days a reliable measles vaccine had not been discovered. Today a good and safe vaccine is available to every family and all you have to do is to ask your doctor to administer it.

It is not yet generally accepted that measles can be a dangerous illness. Believe me, it is. In my opinion parents who now refuse to have their children immunised are putting the lives of those children at risk. In America, where measles immunisation is compulsory, measles like smallpox, has been virtually wiped out.

Here in Britain, because so many parents refuse, either out of obstinacy or ignorance or fear, to allow their children to be immunised, we still have a hundred thousand cases of measles every year. Out of those, more than 10,000 will suffer side effects of one kind or another. At least 10,000 will develop ear or chest infections. About 20 will die.


Every year around 20 children will die in Britain from measles.

So what about the risks that your children will run from being immunised?

They are almost non-existent. Listen to this. In a district of around 300,000 people, there will be only one child every 250 years who will develop serious side effects from measles immunisation! That is about a million to one chance. I should think there would be more chance of your child choking to death on a chocolate bar than of becoming seriously ill from a measles immunisation.

So what on earth are you worrying about? It really is almost a crime to allow your child to go unimmunised.

The ideal time to have it done is at 13 months, but it is never too late. All school-children who have not yet had a measles immunisation should beg their parents to arrange for them to have one as soon as possible.

Incidentally, I dedicated two of my books to Olivia, the first was James and the Giant Peach. That was when she was still alive. The second was The BFG, dedicated to her memory after she had died from measles. You will see her name at the beginning of each of these books. And I know how happy she would be if only she could know that her death had helped to save a good deal of illness and death among other children.

We are so privileged to live during a time where we can literally be immune to once deadly and rampant diseases. However, that has caused us to forget just how dangerous these diseases are, which has caused some to take vaccinations for granted. Since no one lives in a bubble and we all share the same earth, it's our responsibility to take public health seriously and not expose others to preventable diseases. The thing about disease is that it doesn't discriminate; anyone and everyone is susceptible. Not only are you loving and caring for your own children, but you are doing the same for others. So until these diseases are gone, keep spreading the word: #vaccineswork.

One Key Way to Keep Your Child Healthy

Chantal Standafer

Little guy knows that his 12 month vaccinations are a big deal! 

Little guy knows that his 12 month vaccinations are a big deal! 

Parents agree that feeding and sleep schedules are important to help keep their children healthy. The same goes for childhood immunizations. Vaccinating children on time is the best way to protect them against 14 serious and potentially deadly diseases before their second birthday.

“The recommended immunization schedule is designed to protect babies early in life,when they are vulnerable and before it’s likely that they will be exposed to diseases,” said Dr. Nancy Messonnier, Director of the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases (NCIRD), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Public health and medical experts base their vaccine recommendations on many factors. They study information about diseases and vaccines very carefully to decide which vaccines kids should get and when they should get them for best protection.

Although the number of vaccines a child needs in the first two years may seem like a lot, doctors know a great deal about the human immune system, and they know that a healthy baby’s immune system  can handle getting all vaccines when they are recommended. Dr. Messonnier cautions against parents delaying vaccination. “There is no known benefit to delaying vaccination. In fact, it puts babies at risk of getting sick because they are left vulnerable to catch serious diseases during the time they are not protected by vaccines.”

When parents choose not to vaccinate or to follow a delayed schedule, children are left unprotected against diseases that still circulate in this country, like measles and whooping cough. Since 2010, we have seen between 10,000 and 50,000 cases of whooping cough each year in the United States. And, up to 20 babies die from whooping cough each year in the United States. Most whooping cough deaths are among babies who are too young to be protected by their own vaccination.

The United States experienced a record number of measles cases during 2014, with 667 cases from 27 states reported to CDC's NCIRD. This was the greatest number of cases in the U.S. since measles was eliminated in 2000. Staying on track with the immunization schedule ensures that children have the best protection against diseases like these by age 2.

Parents who are concerned about the number of shots given at one time can reduce the number given at a visit by using the flexibility built into the recommended immunization schedule. For example, the third dose of hepatitis B vaccine can be given at 6 through 18 months of age. Parents can work with their child’s healthcare professional to have their child get this dose at any time during that age range.

“I make sure my kids are vaccinated on time,” said Dr.Andrew Kroger, medical officer, NCIRD, and father of two. “Getting children all the vaccines they need by age two is one of the best things parents can do to help keep their children safe and healthy.”

If you have questions about the childhood immunization schedule, talk with your child’s doctor or nurse. For more information about vaccines, go to

The Flu Vaccine: Do we really need it?

Laura Hahn


As a parent, you feel helpless when your child is sick and the flu can hit children hard, leaving them feeling miserable. Symptoms include fever, chills, runny or stuffy nose, muscle or body aches, and fatigue. Sadly, every year some children are hospitalized and die from flu complications. Why not do everything you can to help protect your children against the flu this season? You can start by getting them vaccinated.

A flu vaccine is the best way to protect against the flu and everyone can benefit from that protection. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that everyone 6 months and older get a flu vaccine every year. That includes all children from babies 6 months and older to teens, parents, and everyone who comes in contact with children.

A flu vaccine is especially important for children younger than 5 years old and children of any age with certain chronic health conditions such as asthma, diabetes or neurologic disorders. Those children are at high risk of getting serious complications from flu, like pneumonia, which can lead to hospitalization and even death.

Each year about 20,000 children younger than 5 years old are hospitalized from flu complications[i]. Since 2004-2005, flu-related deaths in children reported to CDC during regular flu seasons have ranged from 37 deaths (2011-2012) to 171 deaths (2012-2013). Influenza-related deaths in children are tragic. Even more tragic is the fact that past data indicate that among children 6 months and older, 80 to 85 percent of flu-related pediatric deaths occurred in children who have not received a flu vaccine. During the 2015-2016 season, some reported flu-associated deaths occurred in children who had an underlying medical condition that placed them at high risk of developing serious flu complications, but about 60 percent were otherwise healthy, underscoring the fact that even healthy children can become very ill from flu.

Flu vaccination is the best weapon we have to protect against flu. A flu shot can have mild side effects, such as soreness or swelling where the vaccine was received, a mild fever, or body aches. While these side effects can be uncomfortable and inconvenient, they are mild and usually resolve quickly. While flu vaccine can vary in how well it works each year, the vaccine does protect against illness and can prevent serious flu outcomes like hospitalization.

“Parents who take the time to get their children vaccinated can rest a little easier knowing they are helping to protect their family against an illness that can have serious complications,” says Dr. Daniel Jernigan, Director of the Influenza Division in the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases (NCIRD) at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). “Of course parents should get vaccinated, too.”

Children, and everyone else, should get a flu vaccine by the end of October, if possible. Since it takes about two weeks after vaccination for the antibodies that protect against influenza virus infection to develop in the body, it is best that people get vaccinated early in the season so they are protected before flu viruses begin spreading in their community. However, as long as flu viruses are circulating, vaccination can still be beneficial, even in January or later. Flu viruses can continue spreading as late as May. Keep in mind that the flu vaccine does not provide protection against non-flu viruses that can cause colds and other respiratory symptoms similar to those caused by flu.

For many children, one flu shot will be sufficient this season, but some children between the ages of 6 months and 8 years may require two doses of flu vaccine given at least four weeks apart. This includes all children in this age group who are getting vaccinated for the first time and children who have only ever received one dose in their lifetime. Your child’s health care provider can tell you whether your child needs two doses in order to be fully protected against the flu. Children needing two doses of vaccine should start the process early enough that two doses can be given before flu season starts.

Babies younger than 6 months are too young to get a flu vaccine, but they are at high risk for complications, including hospitalization and death, if they become very sick from the flu. Therefore, it is important that pregnant women, family members and anyone who cares for young infants get vaccinated to help prevent the spread of flu viruses to young babies.

Help put your mind at ease by protecting your child against flu this season. Flu vaccines are offered in many convenient locations.  For example, you and your child can get vaccinated at your doctor’s office, pharmacy, at local health clinics and at flu clinics at local retail outlets. Use the vaccine finder at to find where you can get flu vaccine near you.

Since October 2013, more Americans, even those with preexisting conditions, have qualified for health insurance coverage that fits their budget and needs. It includes many free screenings, vaccinations, and counseling. Visit or call 1-800-318-2596 to learn more.

For more information about flu and the benefits of the flu vaccine, talk to your doctor or nurse, visit the CDC flu website (, or call CDC at 1-800-CDC-INFO (800-232-4636).

[i] Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Children, the flu, and the flu vaccine. (2013). Seasonal influenza (flu) website. Retrieved August 22, 2013. Website:

National Immunization Awareness Month

Laura Hahn

No tears for this brave girl after receiving her shots! 

No tears for this brave girl after receiving her shots! 

August is National Immunization Awareness Month, and hopefully you're aware that charlotte+asher is a huge proponent of immunizations since each bag sold helps provide life-saving vaccines to children in need. This month we've teamed up with the CDC to provide more insight into the importance of vaccinations. We'll be highlighting a different topic each week, so be sure to check back!

For now, here are Five Important Reasons to Vaccinate Your Child.

You want to do what is best for your children. You know about the importance of car seats, baby gates and other ways to keep them safe. But, did you know that one of the best ways to protect your children is to make sure they have all of their vaccinations?

Immunizations can save your child’s life. Because of advances in medical science, your child can be protected against more diseases than ever before. Some diseases that once injured or killed thousands of children are no longer common in the U.S.--primarily due to safe and effective vaccines. Polio is one example of the great impact that vaccines have had in the United States. Polio was once America’s most feared disease, causing death and paralysis across the country, but thanks to vaccination the United States has been polio-free since 1979. Due to continual worldwide vaccination efforts, Afghanistan and Pakistan are the only two countries in the world that have never interrupted the spread of wild poliovirus, and only small pockets of polio still exist in these countries.

Vaccination is very safe and effective. Vaccines are only given to children after careful review by scientists, doctors, and healthcare professionals. Vaccine side effects are almost always mild such as redness or swelling at the site of the shot, but this is minimal compared to the pain, discomfort, and risk of injury and death from the diseases these vaccines prevent. Serious side effects following vaccination, such as severe allergic reaction, are very rare. The disease prevention benefits of getting vaccinated are much greater than the possible side effects for almost all children.

Immunization protects others you care about. Children in the U.S. still get vaccine preventable diseases. In fact, we have seen resurgences of measles and whooping cough (pertussis) over the past few years. For example, in 2014, there were 667 cases of measles in 27 states, the greatest number of cases since measles was eliminated in 2000. The following year saw measles cases as well. During 2015, 147 people were part of a large, multi-state measles outbreak linked to an amusement park in California. Almost one in 10 people who became sick with measles in this outbreak were babies too young to be vaccinated. While some babies are too young to be protected by vaccination, others may not be able to receive certain vaccinations due to severe allergies, weakened immune systems from conditions like leukemia, or other reasons. To help keep them safe, it is important that you and your children who are able to get vaccinated are fully immunized. This not only protects your family, but also helps prevent the spread of these diseases to your friends and loved ones.

Immunizations can save your family time and money. A child with a vaccine-preventable disease can be denied attendance at schools or daycare facilities. Some vaccine-preventable diseases can result in prolonged disabilities and can take a financial toll because of lost time at work, medical bills or long-term disability care. In contrast, getting vaccinated against these diseases is a good investment and usually covered by insurance. The Vaccines for Children program is a federally funded program that provides vaccines at no cost to children from low income families. Click here to find out more about the VFC program, or ask your child’s health care professional.

Immunization protects future generations. Vaccines have reduced and, in some cases, eliminated many diseases that killed or severely disabled people just a few generations ago. For example, smallpox vaccination eradicated that disease worldwide. Your children don’t have to get smallpox shots anymore because the disease no longer exists anywhere in the world. By vaccinating children against rubella (German measles), we have dramatically reduced the risk that pregnant women will pass this virus on to their fetus or newborn, and birth defects associated with that virus are seen in only rare cases in the United States when a pregnant woman who was never vaccinated against rubella is exposed to someone who contracted rubella in another country. If we continue vaccinating now, and vaccinating completely, parents in the future may be able to trust that some diseases of today will no longer be around to harm their children in the future.

For more information about the importance of infant immunization, visit This document can be found on the CDC website here

Fun Ways to Beat the Summer Heat

Laura Hahn

Shot through the heart! Good thing it's just water!

Shot through the heart! Good thing it's just water!

We are officially in the summer swing! Wherever you are, you are probably dealing with some pretty hot and/or humid weather. Add in your kids, and the days can seem miserable. Here are some fun ways to stay cool this summer:

  • Go somewhere indoors with A/C. Whether it’s the mall, IKEA, the movies, a museum, or the library, make a fun outing out of it while also managing to stay cool. You can even get some errands done too!

  • Get some water guns. Make a game out of it and you have a fun way to stay cool with your kids! Also acceptable are a sprinkler or spray hose if you have a backyard, otherwise spray bottles with a fan for you city folk may be more your style.

  • Go to a spray park. They should have these all over, oftentimes next to or near a playground. You can probably find a list of them on a local website. Some friends have even attested to bathing their kids there so there’s no need for a shower when you get home! #genius

  • Eat cold things. Popsicles, ice cream, watermelon, lemonade--these are all fun treats that are part of summer memories! You can even make your own popsicles to change things up or make them a little healthier. Don’t forget that pitcher of sangria for the adults!

Summer is a great season to build lasting memories with your kids. Outdoor picnics, concerts, BBQs and backyard campfires with s'mores are just a few things we’re looking forward to doing this summer with them. What else do you have on your summer bucket list?


Five things to enjoy to this summer

Chantal Standafer

Taking the kids to their first baseball game! 

Taking the kids to their first baseball game! 

It’s summer! Which means time for sunshine, ice cream and swimming. Last summer we had a newborn, so we didn’t get to do too much exploring. So I’m excited to take advantage of the season this year. Here’s what I’m looking forward to most:

  • Extra ‘free’ time: During the summer months my moms’ group does not meet. Don’t get me wrong, I love spending time with other moms (without kids!). But there is something nice about changing up the routine. Plus, this free time allows for more playtime and adventures with the kiddos.

  • Exploring our summer home: We’re spending the summer in Charlotte, NC. So far we’ve enjoyed walking around the city, trying new restaurants and watching a ballgame. But we still have yet to explore the different neighborhoods, check out the library and museums, try the playgrounds and cool off in the splash pads!

  • Outdoor concerts: While we love music and enjoy concerts, they aren’t the easiest thing to do with the kids. But with summer comes outdoor concerts, which are so much easier to do as a family. The kids can play while we enjoy the music and time together. It’s a win-win.

  • Summer olympics: Whether winter or summer, I love watching the olympic games. This year will be the first time watching them with the kids. I’m looking forward to telling them about the different events as we watch together. And I can’t wait to hear what the almost 3 year old has to say!

  • Weekend away: Our schedule is a lot quieter since we’re away from home. This means it will be easier for us to take a weekend trip. We’re planning on a short road trip to visit with friends and see another part of North Carolina.

No matter where you live, there are always fun things to do in the summer. Not sure where to start? Ask friends or search online. The list doesn’t have to be extensive, but having a few new or special things to look forward to can make it even more enjoyable.

What are your plans for the summer?


Celebrating Father's Day: The Importance of Fathers

Laura Hahn

Getting some early instruction on being an ophthalmologist, just like daddy. 

Getting some early instruction on being an ophthalmologist, just like daddy. 

In spirit of Father’s Day this weekend, we wanted to have a post highlighting the importance of fathers and all that they do. While mothers may still tend to get the brunt of parental duty and scrutiny (and are still underappreciated!), fathers are equally as important of a parent. We as a society don’t value fathers enough, who have historically been solely seen as the uninvolved breadwinner or disciplinarian. However, fathers now desire to be actively involved their children’s lives. After all, they are parents--not the babysitter.

As the roles of mothers and fathers are converging more and parenting and household duties are becoming more evenly distributed, fathers are increasingly important to the household, especially as the number of stay-at-home dads increases. Work-family balance is equally important to both parents, and some fathers have the option of taking parental leave after their child is born. Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg has talked about the importance of having a supportive spouse in her book, Lean In, and has tragically felt what it was like to lose that support.

There are so many different family dynamics, and a happy, complete family does not necessarily include a father. But those where fathers are present, can benefit so much from them. Fathers are so important in being good examples for both sons and daughters. While sons will use their dads as the prime example of what it means to be a man, spouse, and father, daughters will just the same see their dads as an example of what a husband and father should be.

I know I am so blessed to have a wonderful relationship with my dad, and I have absolutely loved seeing my husband become a father. I remember when I was younger my mother said I would marry someone like my dad, and I do see some overlap in their characteristics. Even when we were dating, I could imagine that my husband would be a great father. As a mother of two now, I know that it would be infinitely harder to get through life without my husband by my side. I already see how my son’s personality is like both of us, but I know some of the sweetest things about him are straight from his dad. My husband is so special to our family, and I don’t even want to think about what it would be like without him!

How are you showing the fathers in your life how you appreciate them?