How to Interview a Babysitter – VIDEO

How to Interview a Babysitter from UrbanSitter on Vimeo. Featuring “The Quintessential Haute Mommy” Paula Miranda. Produced by 11th&B.

Five Questions to Ask A Babysitter in an Interview

We asked parenting expert, Paula Miranda, to share her top tips for interviewing a babysitter. Watch this How to Interview a Babysitter video or read on.

1. What kind of experience do you have? It’s important to ask about babysitting experience–and more broadly about any experience they’ve had with children (tutoring, camp counselor, mentor, etc.). Ask specifically about the sitter’s CPR and First Aid certifications, any coursework that relates such as early childhood development, and how many years experience she has caring for young infants, toddlers, elementary aged kids, etc.

2. What kind of activities do you have planned? Have the babysitter give you an idea of the types of activities they might plan for your child: Games (hide and seek, soccer, board games), arts and crafts projects, bubbles, charades, etc. This will help you determine if the sitter will have good chemistry with your kids. If you have a budding soccer player, you’ll want a sitter who is willing to take him to the park.

3. Are you open to helping out around the house? This is a big one. If you expect anything else to be done while you’re gone — dishes, laundry, or even errands, you should ask upfront if the sitter is willing to do it.

4. Are you comfortable disciplining my child? Lay out your house rules and the methods you usually use (time out, etc.), so the sitter is not in the dark, and make sure she/he is comfortable with saying “no” and being firm.

5. What do you expect from us, the parents? This is something parents often forget about. Set your sitter up for success by asking how much guidance they want from you. For instance, the sitter might appreciate a written schedule outlining feedings, bath time, and bedtime procedures. A written list is always helpful, and don’t forget to include emergency contacts.UrbanSitter makes finding and interviewing a babysitter easy. After signing up, you’ll immediately see a selection of babysitters recommended by parents in your local network (child’s school, YMCA, or mother’s group). After narrowing your candidates, there are several types of interviews you can schedule at the click of a button:

  • Phone interview – For some parents, a phone interview is all you need. You can gauge a lot from a 10-20 minute call.
  • In-person interview – This can take place in your home or public location. At home, your kids would have a chance to meet the sitter, however, you may be able to focus better without your kids around.
  • Paid, working interview – Hiring a babysitter to watch your kids while you’re home can be a great way to get to know a sitter. You set the desired pay rate.

Check out More Questions to Ask a Babysitter in an Interview.

How to Line Up Summer Childcare Help

UrbanSitter babysitter

The typical school-age child has 10 weeks of summer vacation. That’s at least 70 full days with you or another caregiver–be it a daycare provider, camp counselor, nanny, babysitter, family, or a friend. Regardless of your family’s regular schedule, it’s likely you could use a bit of additional childcare this summer. Now is the time to think about lining up your summer childcare help, here are a few options to get you started:

Summer Camps

Summer camp doesn’t have to mean an entire summer away from home. A week or more of ½-day soccer, gymnastics, or swim/tennis camp could be just what both you and the kids need to make it a fabulous summer. If you haven’t already registered your kids for summer camps or maybe you thought camp didn’t fit the budget this year, be sure to check out our earlier post –Tips for Choosing Summer Camps for Your Kids.  We’ve included links to help find affordable mini- and day-camp options for your kids, and provided tips for choosing camps that give you the most bangs for your buck.

Regularly Scheduled Babysitters

If you don’t have your kids in a camp or daycare, you’ll definitely need a break, and so will your kids. Shake things up by hiring a regularly scheduled sitter to babysit a couple mornings every week while you run errands, hit the gym, do a bit of housework or simply relax child-free. Many parents who have an infant and older kids, find it helpful to hire a sitter to stay with the baby while he naps and they spend some quality time with the older siblings, or the flip side – they have the sitter take the big kids somewhere fun, while you get things done at home when the baby’s asleep.

How do you find these sanity-saving sitters? Reach out now to find local college or high-school students or neighborhood mother’s helpers.

  • College students typically have some babysitting experience and are hungry to earn extra money. Students at nearby schools or locals who are home for summer break are especially good options. Expect to pay what you would pay a seasoned babysitter, and be sure to get a commitment well before summer break starts as their time is likely in high demand.
  • High school sitters, though less experienced, are often in the eyes of your child the most fun and energetic sitters. For those who have little experience with kids, plan to have them play with your children for a short time while you’re at home, or cover for you while you make a quick run to the grocery store until you are both comfortable with you leaving them alone. Negotiate hourly rates based on experience.
  • Mother’s Helpers are typically teens looking to get babysitting experience and earn a bit of money. Many start offering their help after completing a local babysitting or CPR course aimed at preparing them for potential childcare emergencies. Regardless, it’s best to leverage them as fun-loving, responsible kids to help out while you’re at home. Hourly rates are far less. Talk with the helpers or their parents to determine a rate that’s fair.

Your Go-To Source for Trusty Babysitters, Whenever the Need Strikes

UrbanSitter, of course! With the UrbanSitter mobile app, you can find and book a sitter on the go, and even have a confirmed sitter within minutes.

  • See which babysitters are recommended personally by parents in your local network (friends, parents at your child’s school, YMCA, mother’s clubs, etc.).
  • Need a Monday-Wednesday afternoon sitter or someone to drop the kids off at camp? Post a job and sitters will apply if they’re interested.
  • Schedule interviews online and even screen sitters beforehand by watching their video profiles!
  • Did you know the site even has a feature that allows you to shop by rate? Yep, you can search for a babysitter with the best rate, one that fits your budget.

You can rest assured there’s always a fantastic sitter ready to take your kids off your hands for a bit, whether it to entertain them at home, take them on a fun field trip, or even just take over carpool duty.

Regardless of your family’s summer agenda, don’t forget to include extra childcare in your plans!

Exciting New Features – Videos, Messaging, and more!

UrbanSitter is excited to announce groundbreaking new features designed to make your babysitter search faster and more efficient than ever before. These features launch today in select cities as part of new membership packages. Log in to view Membership Plans available in your area.

Lights, camera, action!

Babysitter Profile Video

At UrbanSitter, we strive to provide lots of information and efficient tools to help you find the babysitter that’s best for you. New Babysitter Profile Videos bring a sitter’s profile to life as they introduce themselves in a short 30 to 90-second clip.

When your time is precious, profile videos can help you screen a handful of sitters quickly. Of course, videos can’t replace a face-to-face interview, but they can provide a level of assurance, especially if you’re nervous about meeting a new sitter for the first time.

You’ve got questions…. A LOT of questions.

New UrbanSitter FeaturesNaturally, when you’re looking for a babysitter, you’re bound to have lots of questions. Even before you get to the point of interviewing, sometimes you just want to ask a question: Will you babysit twins? Are you okay driving my car since you don’t have one? One question can make all the difference, and you don’t want to waste time. That’s why we created the new Ask a Question tool, so you can message sitters anytime with a quick question.

You can also add optional Screening Questions when you post a job to the Job Board. Sitters who are interested in your job may include short replies to your screening questions with their profile, so you can get to know them before the interview. Ask your “make-or-break” questions or general questions to get a sense for their personality. You can choose from our list of common questions, or write your own.

Curious about UrbanSitter’s new features? Create a free account today and start searching for babysitters in your area!

Hit the Road: Spring Break Day Trips!

Photo Credit: Pink Sherbet Photography via Compfight cc
Photo Credit: Pink Sherbet Photography via Compfight cc

No plans for a family Spring Break vacation this year? No worries.

Check out these super ideas for easy day-trips to entertain you and the kids while school’s out for the week.We’ve included helpful insider tips to get the most of your time together.

San Francisco/Bay Area

It’s a lovely time of year to venture north – just an hour or so from SF – to the Guerneville/Russian River area. On a nice day, hit Sonoma Coast State Beach and if the river is more your speed, visit Johnson’s Beach on the Russian River, which is super family-friendly (i.e., no glass containers, alcohol or dogs allowed).When your kids tire of the beach, but still have energy to burn, head to Armstrong Redwoods State National Reserve to hike through the enormous redwoods. You can always opt to drive through the forest to take in the sights if your crew is too petered out for a hike.

Flavors Unlimited is the perfect stop for an  ice cream treat. It’s conveniently located just off the main road in Guerneville.
Mrs. Grossman's Sticker Factory
Mrs. Grossman’s Sticker Factory

For more to do in the area, include a visit to Mrs. Grossman’s Sticker Factory or the Charles Schultz Museum. Both are fun for kids and adults, too.

Costs: Mrs. Grossman’s Sticker Factory – Adults $7, Kids Under 12 $5, Kids Under 3 – Free. Tours are limited to 15 people and reservations are required. Call  800.429.4549 to book a reservation.
Charles Schultz Museum – Adults $10, Youth 4-18 $5 and Museum Members and Kids Under 3 – Free.

Los Angeles

Photo Credit: TepeyacFarm via Compfight cc
Photo Credit: TepeyacFarm via Compfight cc

If you live in the LA area, the obvious choice for a kid-approved day trip might be Disneyland. But, chances are you’ve been there, done that and would rather find a more affordable day with your kids.

Have you been to the Santa Barbara Zoo? It’s just 90 miles north of Los Angeles, and is considered one of the most beautiful zoos in the world. Where else can you see more than 500 animals while overlooking the Pacific Ocean, Andree Clark Bird Refuge and Santa Ynez Mountains? Gorgeous!

If you go on a holiday weekend, get there early to avoid the lines, but don’t sweat the parking. There is usually plenty of parking near the zoo.  It’s right by the beach so it’s typically chilly – pack a sweater, and don’t forget sunscreen and water.  You might want to bring a picnic, too, as you’ll have no trouble finding a nice spot. Opt for a meal at one of the zoo’s cafe is you need a break from packing lunches. Not to miss  – feeding the giraffes and riding the train, which goes all around the zoo.

Cost: Adults $14, Kids 2-12 $10, Seniors (60+) and children under 2 – free.

San Diego

You can enjoy the journey as much as the destination by taking the train to Historic San Juan Capistrano. For many kids, a train ride is all they need to make the day memorable, but you can easily keep the fun coming after the train stops. The charming town has something for everyone:

  • Head to Zoomars, an eclectic petting zoo with a can’t miss new attraction – Miner’s Gulch. Visitors can relive the Gold Rush, panning for gold, gemstones and fossils. 

Photo from Zoomars

  • A must do for young and old – have lunch in an old train car! The food is fabulous and the experience of eating in a train car will keep the kids occupied long enough for you to enjoy it.

Costs: Zoomars – Adults $8, Children $7.


Spring Break is perfectly timed for a visit to Lamb’s Farm, which opens for the season in late March. The farm is located in Libertyville, Illinois, less than an hour drive from the city. Here you will find a petting area with sheep and goat, mini-golf, a mini-train ride, cow bounce house and an Old World carousel. It’s also loved for its country-style, reasonably restaurants, so no need to bring food.  Their Weekend Breakfast Buffet, Saturday Night BBQ Buffet and Friday Night Fish Fry are highly recommended.

It’s a farm, so dress accordingly!

Cost: $5 for Age 2-Adults with additional, minimal costs for the train ride, mini-golf, carousel and bounce house. All proceeds benefit the non-profit organization that runs the farm. The organization serves adults with developmental disabilities, giving them a home and responsibilities in the community through their work at Lamb’s Farm.

New York City

Just 1-½ hours from NYC you’ll find bucolic Hyde Park on the east bay of the Hudson River. It’s an ideal day trip, not only for its scenic attributes, but also for its options and activities to entertain and feed everyone in the family. There’s the home of Franklin D. Roosevelt for a taste of history, the Culinary Institute of America  for a beautiful campus stroll, tour and amazing meal; and Big Bear Ziplines, which opened earlier this year to give new meaning to leaf peeping.  (The rides are exhilarating, and suitable even for the young, as long as an adult accompanies them!)

If you’re visiting on a weekday, you can stock your picnic basket at the Apple Pie Bakery, before topping the day off with a cinematic throwback: the Hyde Park Drive-In (which has vintage cartoon commercials and a kitschy snack bar). A great day, for everyone, conveniently packaged into one locale!

Costs: FDR –  $14/adult (two-day pass) and kids 15 and under are free. Big Bear Ziplines –  prices vary. You can book reservations on the tour that’s right for your group by calling 888.ZIP.BBZI (947.2294). Check local flash deal sites for coupons and reduced rates.

Extended family or friends in town for Spring Break, leaving you with large crew of kids to entertain? Hire a babysitter to come along and help out on your day-trip!

5 Things to Consider Before Choosing a Summer Camp for Your Kids

summer camp

Options are seemingly endless for summer day camps and mini-camps for kids as young as toddlers. With camp registrations underway and deadlines quickly approaching, it’s tempting to jump at the first cool camp you come across, just to make sure you secure a spot.

Do yourself and your kids a favor by taking a few minutes to consider these 5 factors before you choose. Not only will it make it easier to decide which works best for your child and your family, it’ll save you a whole lot of money!

Things to consider:

1. Is your child happiest indoors or outside?

Sending a homebody, who finds Zen in the A/C with a stash of art supplies, to “tough it out” in the Great Outdoors might make for (at the very least) unpleasant drop-offs for you both. For years to come, you’ll hear about the number of mosquito bites she suffered! The reverse is just as true. Some kids would choose to be outside even in the dead of winter. If one of them belongs to you, indoor camp probably isn’t the best bang for your buck.

2. Your child’s interests.

It might be obvious that a week of karate isn’t a fit for your princess, but give some thought to whether your child would have more fun with active play or something quieter. Traditional summer camps and sports camps are great for burning energy, but some kids have more fun with more low-key activities, such as crafting, science, learning a foreign language, music or cooking. If you want to get them moving indoors, check out local options for dance, gymnastics/tumbling or theater. Need something to satisfy the child who loves trying new things, check out this list of really cool, not-so-ordinary camp options for NYC area families. Even if you don’t live in NYC, the list might give you a few options to look at finding close to home. You’ll score big points with your adventure-lover.

3. Your schedule.

Little kid summer camps seem to fall into one of a few scheduling categories: they provide all-day care for your child, are a half-day option (mornings or afternoons), or are designed to cover the time after school or daycare and before you get home from work. Decide which you need, and if you have some flexibility with the decision, think about what works best for your child. Will naptime be affected? Is a full day away from home a bit too much for his attention span and stamina?

4. Can you recruit a friend to join and carpool?

Most kids are thrilled to have a buddy join them at camp. It makes it infinitely more fun. And it’s wonderful to have another parent or sitter to share the carpooling. If your car is big enough or you can manage multiple children on public transportation, get a handful of kids to go together. Better yet, coordinate with your pals to book a babysitter who can take care of transportation for the whole group.

5. Cost.

We all knew kids aren’t cheap, but who knew summer camps are so dang expensive!? Yikes! Unless your budget is endless, you need to factor costs into your decision before sending your four-year-old to a few weeks of half-day camps that amounts to the cost of a really great get-away weekend with your spouse. If you’re looking at full-day options for the entire summer, the decision is even costlier. Costs in the SF Bay Area are roughly $5,000 for a 10-week program.

If you’ve given these factors thought and decided summer camp might not work this year, why not hire a babysitter to entertain the kids and give you a regularly scheduled break? There are plenty who would love to help you – log onto UrbanSitter.

Chores for Children

Photo Credit: clogozm via Compfight cc
Photo Credit: clogozm via Compfight cc

Part of being a parent is taking the time to teach kids about responsibility. Assigning kids chores is an ideal way to do just that, and also a way to instill self-discipline, routine, and the importance of being a contributing member of a family and eventually a self-sufficient member of society. Chores also help kids learn practical skills that will help them throughout their lives.

It’s often easier and quicker just to do these tasks on your own, but remember you’re teaching valuable lessons by taking the time to assign and enforce a chore routine in your family.

You can improve your success rate – get kids to be excited or at least not whine and complain too much about doing their jobs – by assigning chores that are age appropriate and building them into your daily routine.  It’s also helpful to keep the list short and simple so it’s not overwhelming for anyone, and decide ahead of time how you will motivate, enforce and possibly reward the work. Some say kids shouldn’t be rewarded for basic chores, i.e. doing what’s expected of them, and should instead earn a reward when they go above and beyond expectations.

We bet you’ll be surprised at what kids are capable of doing! Take a look at these suggestions for chores for kids age 2-8 years.

Ages 2-3: Toddlers

This is the age group that likely enjoys having a job to do and is most eager to help. You’ll get much better success if you accompany them in their work.

  • Pick up toys and books.
  • Take dishes to the sink after a meal (stick with plastic!)
  • Dust furniture.
  • Help put away groceries.
  • Water plants and flowers.
  • Put dirty clothes in a hamper.

Ages 4-5: Preschoolers

These budding learners can do a lot more than you think!

  • Toddler chores.
  • Empty trash cans.
  • Put clothes in their drawers or hang them in the closet. Hang a second, lower rod to make it easy for them.
  • Make a simple bed.
  • Help set the table.
  • Fold towels.
  • Get the mail.

 Ages 6-8: Early Elementary

Here’s the group most likely to put up a fight over doing their chores. Remember, positive re-enforcement and encouragement go a long way.

  • Toddler and preschooler chores.
  • Wash dishes and load/empty the dishwasher.
  • Fold clothes.
  • Pack lunches.
  • Sweep the floor.
  • Help with dinner. (Prepping, washing produce, measuring ingredients)
  • Wipe the bathroom counter.
  • Take out the recycling.

Use a chore chart to help your family stick to it and track when chores are done. We’ve found a few especially handy, printable chore charts to help. Find one that works best for you.  And, don’t forget to keep the babysitter in the loop so she knows the routine and what’s expected.

Chore Charts - Brought To You By the Letter B.
Free, printable chore charts from “Brought to You By the Letter B”

Free, Printable Chore Charts







Don’t forget to keep the babysitter in the loop so she knows the routine and what’s expected.

Tips for Keeping Your Family Healthy This Flu Season

It’s that time of year when it seems nearly everyone is sneezing, coughing and wiping a runny nose. This is especially true if you have children or around children frequently. How do you keep your family healthy when the odds certainly seem stacked against you?

Try practicing these helpful tips for keeping everyone well this flu season:

  • Wash hands frequently. Young children should be taught to wash their hands thoroughly with soap and warm water. Many teachers and daycare providers have them sing a short song, such as “Happy Birthday” sung twice, to show them just how long to scrub. It’s important to wash hands throughout the day, especially after using the bathroom, before meals or snacks, and when returning home. For babies, clean their hands throughout the day with alcohol-free wipes.
  • Teach kids to keep their hands away from their mouths and noses, especially until they can wash them properly.
  •  Create snacks and meals with lots of whole grains, dark leafy greens (Homemade Kale Chips are awesome!), and foods rich in antioxidants, such as berries. Tea is also a great disease fighter. Serve it to your kids warm with a bit of milk and honey.
  • Make sure the whole family gets plenty of sleep. It’s often the best medicine, as it allows our bodies to recover and it strengthens our immune systems. Experts recommend 14 to 15 hours of sleep per day for infants, 12 to 14 for toddlers, 11 to 13 for preschoolers and 10 to 11 for school-age kids.
  • Keep the fluids flowing to keep hydrated and loosen congestion. Dry winter air, indoor and out, can dry out the lining of your nasal passages, creating tiny cracks that make you susceptible to infection. Drinking water can help moisten those membranes.
  • Fight the spread of germs by regularly wiping down the areas of your home shown to harbor the most germs, such as refrigerator handles, remote controls, and doorknobs.
  • Arm you family with flu shots. Doctors recommend that everyone over the age of six months get a flu shot. Since the flu peaks in January or February and can extend into March or April, it’s not too late to get one, if you haven’t already.
  • Make a pot of soup. Research shows that the ingredients in chicken soup actually make you feel better thanks to their anti-inflammatory properties. The steam also helps by clearing your sinuses. We love this recipe from Padma Lakshmi that puts a flavorful twist on traditional chicken soup — Indian-Thai Chicken Soup with Butternut Squash and Spinach.
  • Know when to see a doctor. The symptoms of colds and the flu are often confused. Watch for signs of the flu, which may be the same as those of a cold, though more severe. See a doctor within 48 hours of the onset of the flu for a prescription for flu-fighting TamiFlu. Flu symptoms include:
    • high fever
    • headache
    • cough
    • sore throat
    • runny nose
    • body aches
    • tiredness
    • vomiting and diarrhea (especially in younger children)
  • Teach kids not to share drinks or food. It’s good practice to follow this rule even within your home.
  • Keep moving, regardless of the weather. It’s easy to retreat to the couch and resort to a movie for afternoon entertainment when it’s cold outside. Instead, bundle up your kids and get the gang outside for a brisk walk or game of Freeze Tag.

Have a child home sick or are you down-and-out with a cold yourself, despite your best efforts to ward off germs? Remember, UrbanSitter is there when you need a back-up babysitter!

Our Favorite Pins for Hosting the Perfect Valentine’s Day Party

Image from

There are so many delightful, inspiring ideas for Valentine’s Day decorations, crafts and treats out there! We’ve pulled together some of our favorites to show you how to host a truly adorable Valentine’s Day Party. Keep the guest list small – think of it as a pumped up play date for a few friends – and choose from these awesome ideas you can make yourself (or with the help of a handy babysitter!). Before you know it, you’ll have the makings of an unforgettable party.

We’ve pinned our favorite ideas to our UrbanSitter Pinterest Boards: Kid’s Party Ideas, DIY Holiday, Crafts for Kids, Sweet Treats and Printables Pinterest Boards. Check them out!

Where’s the Party!?

Welcome your guest with a hint at what’s inside by decorating your front door with an eye-catching pop of festive color. This DIY wreath is made out of burlap and paper roses. Click here for the tutorial.

“Homemade” Valentines

Why resort to a box of store-bought Valentines when you can print or make your own? Take your pick from several gorgeous Valentines offered as free printables. We especially like the one with a mini bottle of bubbles (instead of more candy!). For those with patience and handy kids, get the kids involved and make your own, like these super awesome hearts made from bit and pieces of broken crayons.


There’s no shortage of inspiring party decor photos out there, but we especially like this one that shows you sweet simple can be.

Fun Crafts for the Entertainment

Create some bling with this wildly popular craft idea from Mom On TimeOut. Especially good if you have a party of girls, you need only Hershey kisses and pipe cleaners to whip up a few of these! Have a mixed crowd or slightly older kids, try these Valentine Cala Lillies, which can be taken home for a gift for Mom, Dad or the babysitter.

The Menu

Make it a dessert-only party, which is oh so fitting for this sweet holiday.

  • Cupcakes, (but, of course!) – Inspiration for an easy treat – top pre-made (store-bought) cupcakes with whipped cream and candy hearts.
  • Pudding Cups – Make little cups of pudding extra tempting by dipping the cup rims in melted chocolate and then rolling them in pink and red sprinkles.
  • Melon Hearts – Easily sneak in a little healthy to your feast with these melon hearts.
  • Beverages – You can click on this Pin to order printables to embellish drinks, or you can simply glue paper hearts to the outside of water bottles or plastic tumblers, and even insert a straw through one. Our advice as veteran parents – with all the sugar in the treats, no need to serve a sugary beverage, too. Stick to water or milk!

Take-Home Treats & Party Favors

Order a simple sewing pattern from Craftsy to create magical wands & crown that are sure to thrill any of the little princesses attending. Stick them in a vase for instant decoration, too. Rely on free printables to embellish bags of candy for a tasty take-home.

How much to pay the babysitter for New Year’s Eve

cheers_icon If you have New Year’s Eve plans this year, you’re probably wondering how you’re ever going to find a babysitter–and once you find one, how much should you pay for New Year’s Eve?

Step 1: Finding a sitter for available on New Year’s Eve

Chances are the college-aged sitter you normally rely on already has plans. If that’s the case, try logging on to UrbanSitter and doing a search for sitters available on December 31st, or post a job. Send a few booking requests out and see if you get any takers. Before you do, think about the best pay rate you’re willing to offer.

Step 2: Deciding how much to pay a sitter on New Year’s Eve

Most parents expect to pay a premium to lock in a sitter on New Year’s Eve, but how much is enough? According to our recent survey:
30% expect to pay a babysitter their normal rate
53% expect to pay 1.5 times the normal rate
15% expect to pay 2 times the normal rate

Step 3: Lock it in

So you’re willing to pay top dollar, but what else can you do to ensure you’ll score a sitter? Offer to pay her cab ride home, delicious takeout, and if you’re not getting back until late, work out an overnight stay fee. She’ll be delighted to crash on your couch and earn an extra buck.

Enjoy the big night and Happy New Year!

Search for babysitters available on New Year’s Eve at

Getting Creative with Holiday Outfits (for Mom)

Whether you are going to a formal office holiday party or the neighborhood cookie exchange, you want to look your best this holiday season. And while it’s fun to treat yourself to something new, your very own closet or a consignment shop probably has some surprisingly-wearable items. Here are a few ideas, or visit our One Hot Mama Pinterest Board for tons more holiday inspiration!
Visit our Pinterest board for more One Hot Mama fashion inspiration!

Fancy pants: If you need a ball gown or fancy dress, your best bet is to shop the consignment stores or your friends’ closets. It’s not worth it to buy a $500 dress for one night (unless you can afford to and then, by all means, you should!). In most cities and even some suburbs, there are consignment stores that stock almost-new, brand-name dresses. For reasons stated above, they are usually in fabulous condition. Friends who have worked or still work for big law or finance firms will usually have a few good choices on hand as well.

Evening with friends: Buy new jewelry or a pretty scarf and wear something you already own. Remember that basic black dress you wore to a wedding six years ago? Well, assuming it still fits, it’s probably only boring to you. Others will see it as new and exciting, especially when paired with bold jewelry or a fun wrap. Costume jewelry is all the rage right now, and you can go high-end (like Kate Spade or Nordstrom brand) or you can march into H&M or Forever 21 and get yourself a little bauble that amps up your look ten fold. Also available are super-soft cashmere or wool wraps in sumptuous colors (why not try pink or chartreuse?) or  simple black or champagne with some sequins or sparkle to it. Your basic black is suddenly anything but.

Cookie exchange or children’s school party: This is a great opportunity to wear your favorite winter basics. Nice cords and a sweater can be enhanced greatly by a pair of suede booties or a leopard print skinny belt. If you want to embrace the season, do it with color (red or green sweater) or appropriate jewelry (a red bangle bracelet is cute. Or a Christmas pin, but stop at one. More than that and Grandma Judy might be the only fan). Also, a Santa hat is fun and always appreciated by the under-12 crowd.

The Nutcracker or Symphony: Pair something indulgent with something basic. Try a crisp white blouse with a black bubble skirt and heels. Add a chunky-jeweled necklace and you could be going to the ball or brunch. Also, a beautiful silk blouse in a jewel tone (pick one that compliments your skin tone), stands on its own with plain pants., i.e. dark trouser jeans or black slacks.

Remember, it’s not only the outfit that makes you shine during this crazy, festive, fabulous season; it’s the smile on your face and the bounce in your step.

Sure to add a bounce to your step: Booking a babysitter for your night out! UrbanSitter makes it fast and easy. so log on today and book a sitter in minutes!