Star Mom: Cynthia Rowley

Can you share some of your can't-live-without products for new moms?
Baby wipes can get off anything -- use 'em for yourself. And sunglasses! When you have to wake up and get out of the house early, you never need to put on make-up.

Your collection ranges from menswear to umbrellas, and everything in between. You've written a number of books on entertaining and created home goods, too. How has motherhood affected your multi-tasking?
If you want something done, give it to a busy woman. Organization is key -- I have tons of written lists. I enjoy the satisfaction of crumpling that Post-It after everything's done. I also involve my kids in as many work things as I can. We're bringing Gigi to Japan with us next week, so I see it as 16 hours on an airplane each way that I can spend with her.

How important for you is "me" time?
I actually don't have any "me" time -- it's always "we" time! Every minute of free time, I want to be with my girls and husband. I take my kids with me to get pedicures. I've never been to a spa; I'm not good at relaxing!

We love your books on entertaining and hostessing. Can you share some kids' birthday party tips?
Well the first birthday party is more for grown-ups. For Gigi's, we had a cocktail party! This Friday I'm throwing a birthday party for Kit -- it's going to be a cooking party. We're splitting the kids into three groups: one will make the main course (mac and cheese), one will make dessert (cake) and one will make mixed fruit drinks.

Got any tips for busy moms entertaining girlfriends or friends at home?
Don't spend hours making a big dinner. Throwing a wine and cheese tasting combines food and the entertainment and saves prep time. Ask your friends to each bring a bottle of wine, or choose wines and cheeses from the same region. For summer, try serving a French Rose (Red Bicyclette makes a great one), pair it with French cheeses and baguettes. Check out tryrose.com for other easy party ideas.

Also, I have a party closet (could be a cabinet or drawer) where I throw things from time to time -- fun tablecloths, napkins, and vases that catch my eye on vacation or even running errands. It's good to have a place where you can stash everything so you can get to it quickly when you do have a party.

And what about with kids?
I always like to have an activity, period. Maybe the grown-ups play croquet and the kids play horse shoes, or ping pong, or hopscotch. In the end, aren't kids the best entertainment anyway?

What's the best parenting advice you ever received?
Having more than one kid creates a sort of wonderful chaos -- words of wisdom from Jerry Seinfeld. I've learned to embrace and love that chaos.

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