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Ali's A-List http://ali.blogs.giggle.com Find out what Ali is crushing on this week. Fri, 22 May 2015 17:05:02 +0000 en hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.1 An A-List Interview: SunHee Grinnell http://ali.blogs.giggle.com/2011/07/05/an-a-list-interview-sunhee-grinnell/ http://ali.blogs.giggle.com/2011/07/05/an-a-list-interview-sunhee-grinnell/#comments Tue, 05 Jul 2011 20:39:33 +0000 Ali Wing http://ali.blogs.giggle.com/?p=1380

SunHee and her husband, Toland.

This week we go behind the scenes with SunHee Grinnell, the Beauty Editor of Vanity Fair magazine and a New York mom we love. I have to say, I adore what SunHee calls her greatest achievement: “Being a good (working) mom and wife without losing my sense of humor.”

As someone who also juggles a busy career and a family, I couldn’t agree with her more about the importance of being able to laugh. And I can’t help but wonder if laughter would also be one of her top tips for looking good, too!

Ali Wing: What’s your motto?

SunHee Grinnell: Things happen for a reason.

AW: What inspires you?

SG: My husband, Toland, and my son, Roman.

AW: What color are you loving right now?

SG: Right now, shades of blues and grays.

AW: What are you currently reading?

SG: Aside from all the beauty press releases that I have to read, I am re-reading A River Runs Through It by Norman Maclean. It’s one of my all-time favorites. It takes me away and it’s very calming to read.

AW: What is your favorite city/location/destination?

SG: I couldn’t pick just one! I love: Brooklyn, New York; Paris, France; Elbow Beach, Bermuda; North Shore, Oahu; and Snowbird, Utah.

AW: Who is your favorite composer, or what is your favorite music genre?

SG: I love all music, from classical to classic rock — and everything in between. A few of my favorites are: Jean-Philipp Telemann, Maurice J. Ravel, Keith Jarrett, ACDC, Aerosmith, The Walker Brothers, Amy Winehouse, Shirley Bassey, Frank Sinatra, Barry White, John Lee Hooker and Muddy Waters.

SunHee's son, Roman.

AW: What was your most favorite baby gift?

SG: A baby blanket and baby scarf from Hermes.

AW: What is your proudest parenting moment?

SG: I nipped Roman’s whining from day one when he started and I succeeded! Because of that, Roman never whined as a toddler. (Thank God!)

AW: What do you consider to be your greatest achievement?

SG: Picking up snowboarding at the age of 41! And being a good (working mom and wife without losing my sense of humor.

AW: Please complete the following: … makes me laugh.

SG: …unexpected remarks from my son, Roman.

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Packing the Perfect Summer Diaper Bag http://ali.blogs.giggle.com/2011/06/28/packing-the-perfect-summer-diaper-bag/ http://ali.blogs.giggle.com/2011/06/28/packing-the-perfect-summer-diaper-bag/#comments Tue, 28 Jun 2011 14:51:14 +0000 Ali Wing http://ali.blogs.giggle.com/?p=1291 Skip Hop Versa diaper bagSummer is officially here, which means it’s time to get out and have some fun! So what should you pack for summertime adventures? Here are some tips for packing smart and traveling light.

Of course it all starts with a great bag, preferably one that includes a changing pad. (If you’re still looking for the perfect diaper bag, our Diaper Bag Gear Guide gives you lots of great thoughts on what to look for.)

There are a few key items that you should never leave home without, but you also don’t want to go overboard and pack too much. Here are my top picks for a manageable set of essentials:

•    First things first: Invest in a diaper bag you love that also fits your needs. One of our favorites at the moment: the Skip Hop Versa, which expands to be 20% larger!

•    Muslin swaddles are super lightweight for summer and serve a multitude of purposes.

•    Sunscreen wipes make application super easy and foolproof.

•    A protects your baby’s scalp, eyes and ears.

•    Binkies are an essential for soothing and pacifier clips keep them from getting lost.

•    Stash a travel-friendly portion of Babyganics Baby Wipes in this terrifically portable swipe case.

•    Don’t forget hand and face wipes for quick cleanup.

•    A fashionable onesie takes up almost no room and is perfect if you need a quick change.

•    Pack a snack to go in a smart feeding set.

•    And of course, don’t leave home without diapers and some Knot-It bags to stash the dirty ones!

What are some of your summer diaper bag must-haves? Share below!

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An A-List Interview: Julia Pimsleur-Levine http://ali.blogs.giggle.com/2011/06/17/an-a-list-interview-julia-pimsleur-levine/ http://ali.blogs.giggle.com/2011/06/17/an-a-list-interview-julia-pimsleur-levine/#comments Fri, 17 Jun 2011 19:30:58 +0000 Ali Wing http://ali.blogs.giggle.com/?p=1274

Julia with her son Adrian when he was just a few weeks old.

If I could go back in time and change one thing about my childhood, I would have been raised speaking more than one language. As we now know, small children can pick up a second language almost as easily as they can pick up germs at daycare. But growing up in Montana, foreign language programs were not easily accessible, and great tools like Julia Pimsleur-Levine’s “Little Pim” series weren’t yet available.

In my (humble) opinion, nothing teaches you more about your own language, culture and biases than speaking another language, full of its own culture and biases. So I think my follow-up question for Julia would be, “When are you going to make an easy solution for the adult mom still trying to learn a second language?”

Ali Wing: What’s your motto?

Julia Pimsleur-Levine: Every parent can be his or her child’s first language tutor.

AW: What inspires you?

JPL: French lullabies, like Alouette, Frère Jacques and Fais Dodo, Colas mon Petit Frère. I love singing them to my boys at bedtime. They know all the words now and we sing them together. Singing these songs together reminds me why I love sharing the French language and culture with them, and making it possible for other parents to share a second language and culture with their children.

The Little Pim staff, celebrating at their annual holiday party.

AW: Who is your hero?

JPL: Amelia Earhart, first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean, for her persistence, mastery of her craft and ability to dream big.

AW: What are you currently reading?

JPL: Integrity by Henry Cloud. I’m also reading A to Z Mysteries with my older son, Emmett, and almost

everything by P.D. Eastman with my younger son, Adrian (Are You My Mother? is a current favorite).

AW: What’s your favorite city/location/destination?

JPL: Antibes, France. I spent summers there as a child and adore that it’s barely changed since then. My family goes there every summer for simple French-style living, beach fun, delicious food and dazzling sunsets.

AW: Who is your favorite composer, or what is your favorite music genre?

JPL: I love pop music. My boys and I like to make up dances to Lady Gaga songs. We also listen to a lot of French music and music from around the world.

AW: What is the favorite baby gift you received?

JPL: Zip on and off crib sheets. They saved me on so many nights when I could change the sheets and get back to bed within 15 minutes!

AW: What is the one baby product you can’t/couldn’t live without?

JPL: My Stokke high chair. Both boys used it from infancy right through toddlerhood. I loved having a functional yet attractive high chair that blended with my dining room and that they loved to climb into. It was like a member of our family — I had hard time giving it up when they outgrew it!

Julia's sons, Adrian and Emmett -- ready to set sail!

AW: Please complete the following:

…make(s) me laugh.

JPL: Chasing my three year-old into his room after his bath while saying, “I’m going to get you!” and hearing his delighted peals of laughter …that’s about the best sound I can think of.

My proudest parenting moment was…

JPL: …when my son, Emmett, helped a little girl who was crying on the playground (at age four ). He had never seen her before, but when he heard her crying because she hurt her leg, he stopped playing, went over to her and offered her a Band Aid and a hug. I was so proud of his big heart.

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Music Crush: James Blunt http://ali.blogs.giggle.com/2011/06/13/music-crush-james-blunt/ http://ali.blogs.giggle.com/2011/06/13/music-crush-james-blunt/#comments Mon, 13 Jun 2011 16:00:21 +0000 Ali Wing http://ali.blogs.giggle.com/?p=1266 James Blunt - Some Kind of Trouble

For me, one of the best things about the weather getting warmer is being able to get outdoors and exercise. Almost every year, I end up falling in love with a new band or album that I listen to while I run, and it ends up becoming my spring theme. This year is no exception, and this spring will go down in my personal history as The Spring of James Blunt.

“Slide over here let your hand feel the way…” If you haven’t checked him out, give him a try. We may pass each other on the Battery Park running trail humming the same tune!

What songs or bands have you been crushing on lately? Share below!

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An A-List Interview: Kevin Brodwick http://ali.blogs.giggle.com/2011/06/02/an-a-list-interview-kevin-brodwick/ http://ali.blogs.giggle.com/2011/06/02/an-a-list-interview-kevin-brodwick/#comments Thu, 02 Jun 2011 20:30:38 +0000 Ali Wing http://ali.blogs.giggle.com/?p=1244 Kevin Brodwick's son, Hudson

Kevin's son, Hudson. Age 1.

I’ve mostly known Kevin Brodwick, founder of thinkbaby, as a guy with a deep commitment to doing the right thing for the environment and our children with smarter products — starting with his bottles.

What I didn’t know about Kevin before this interview was his deep-rooted science background or his clear love and respect for his father. Having lost my own father far too early (a man who was my hero, just as Kevin’s dad was his) I was touched by Kevin’s willingness to share such a personal insight with all of us.

Kevin and I seem to have been similarly affected by great men who helped shape our lives by living life with the greatest example of all – a passion for it.

(Speaking of dads — Father’s Day is just around the corner, and we at giggle would love to hear your stories about the dads in your lives. Enter our Share Your Story contest, share your favorite Father’s Day memory, and you could win an Oeuf Perch Bunk Bed!)

Ali Wing: What’s your motto?

Kevin Brodwick: I don’t know if it is so much a motto or more of a realization.  But my motivation can often be best summed up by Mr. Whitman.  (The bolded section in particular.)

O Me! O Life!

O ME! O life!… of the questions of these recurring;

Of the endless trains of the faithless—of cities fill’d with the foolish;

Of myself forever reproaching myself, (for who more foolish than I, and who more faithless?)

Of eyes that vainly crave the light—of the objects mean—of the struggle ever renew’d;

Of the poor results of all—of the plodding and sordid crowds I see around me;

Of the empty and useless years of the rest—with the rest me intertwined;

The question, O me! so sad, recurring—What good amid these, O me, O life?

Answer.

That you are here—that life exists, and identity;
That the powerful play goes on, and you will contribute a verse.

AW: What inspires you?

KB: Honestly, I’m inspired by the little hands that hold our products. I’ve always been motivated to fight for the underdog.  After working for a lab funded by the National Institutes of Health, I saw firsthand the amount of potentially harmful chemicals leaching from consumer products — no matter if it was made in China, US, Europe, or Canada.  I attempted to get the major bottle companies to change; their push back is what led me to create thinkbaby and thinksport.

Kevin Brodwick's dad

Kevin's dad, sitting in the famous rock garden, Ryoanjo.

KB:My dad.  He passed away March 16th of this year unexpectedly.  Besides being a top neuroscientist, he excelled at everything academic.  He gave lectures on everything from Japanese and Chinese art history to music history.  He even taught himself Japanese.  He was a published poet and accomplished pianist. His curiosity and passion have been a great gift passed onto me. I once had a Nobel prize winner tell me, “Your father forgets more in his sleep than I know.” I feel very fortunate to have grown up in the world that he created.  And I admire that he kept all paths open for our own exploration.  I miss him deeply.

AW: What are you currently reading?

KB:Let My People Surf, by the founder of Patagonia. It was handed to me by one of our employees, who resides in Southern California.  I assumed at first that it was his attempt at convincing me to stay for extended surf time… It has surprised me how close my feelings about corporations are aligned with the author’s.  And how strong the desire to do the right thing for the environment and consumers exists between our organizations.

AW: What’s your favorite city/location/destination?

KB: I spent a lot of time growing up in Woods Hole, MA in Cape Cod.  Growing up there provided me the opportunity to explore the infamous marine biological laboratories and even play tennis with Albert Szent Gyorgyi (Nobel Prize for discovery of Vitamin C).  I believe my strong sense of curiosity was largely born from the endless adventures there and being surrounded by scientists from around the world.

AW: Who is your favorite composer, or what is your favorite music genre?

KB: Since my family is related to Mendelssohn, I guess I probably should go with him.  Plus it was the scene in Breaking Away, where they played the famous Italian Symphony No. 4 that spawned my interest to take up bike racing.  My father gave me the choice of playing an instrument when I turned six. I chose drums; he said, “Choose again.” So I chose the cello.  So until I was about 14, I pretty much only listened to classical music.  I could walk into a restaurant and at least tell you the composer.  My musical taste now is very wide.  Living in Austin, it’s hard to escape the love for Stevie Ray Vaughn. There is pretty much an endless supply of new music rolling through between SXSW and Austin City Limits.  I’ve been learning how to play blues guitar and it’s safe to say that I should stick with cello…

AW: What is the favorite baby gift you received?

KB: My grandfather had a hobby of carving sculptures out of wood.  He built me a big wagon with over-sized wooden block shapes.  Great source of creativity as a youngster.  Still have it…

Jackson Pollack Mural

One of the many Jackson Pollack paintings Kevin draws inspiration from.

AW: What is the baby product you can’t/couldn’t live without?

KB: Is it wrong to choose thinkbaby bottles?  I might be biased on this selection…

AW: Please complete the following:

…make(s) me laugh.

KB: It’s pretty much a guarantee that anything that comes out of Dane Cook, Bill Cosby, Dave Chappelle and Robin Williams is going to make me laugh. I wish Chris Farley was still around. He was brilliant.  Although it’s hard to beat when kids turn 2 ½ or so — the moment they make you laugh and realize it.  They will  proceed repeating it over and over again…sorta hard to beat that.

My proudest moment in parenting was…

KB: …actually seeing my parents interact with my little son, Hudson.

 

 

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Puppies and Babies: Meet Charlie Brown http://ali.blogs.giggle.com/2011/05/27/puppies-and-babies-meet-charlie-brown/ http://ali.blogs.giggle.com/2011/05/27/puppies-and-babies-meet-charlie-brown/#comments Fri, 27 May 2011 18:00:30 +0000 Ali Wing http://ali.blogs.giggle.com/?p=1133 Charlie BrownAfter much discussion about the value of getting a pet for our only child — and much hesitation, given our busy, urban lifestyle — our threesome is now a foursome.

Last week we took the plunge and added a new family member: a 3-month-old, 3 lb., 3 oz. Havanese we have affectionately named Charlie Brown after his chocolate brown spots.

Whew! It will come as no surprise to anyone who has one, but puppies are a lot of work. I’m reminded how important it is to evolution that puppies (like babies) are so cute! And, like babies, teething puppies need things to chew on.

 

We’ve had a lot of giggle customers over the years buy our cute, plush, chew-friendly toys and teethers for dogs. It’s not something I ever really got. But boy, do I now! Even though Charlie Brown’s a dog, I’d prefer to give him healthy and natural chew toys, and when they’re cute it helps reduce the feeling of added clutter.

So far, my favorite baby products turned chew toys are the 100% natural rubber Natrusutten Teether and the Whoozit, which Charlie loves as much as every child who’s made the friendly and colorful toy a best seller.

At giggle, we like to sell products that have been tested, and I’m happy to report that Charlie Brown has put both toys through rigorous wear-and-tear testing!

 

 

 

 

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An A-List Interview: Sophie Demenge & Michael Ryan http://ali.blogs.giggle.com/2011/05/18/an-a-list-interview-sophie-demenge-michael-ryan/ http://ali.blogs.giggle.com/2011/05/18/an-a-list-interview-sophie-demenge-michael-ryan/#comments Wed, 18 May 2011 21:00:51 +0000 Ali Wing http://ali.blogs.giggle.com/?p=1201

Michael & Sophie

Oeuf has long been one of our favorite collections at giggle, with designs that are simple, tasteful and functional. In fact, we’re debuting their Perch bunk bed as the Grand Prize in our first-ever Share Your Story Contest! And their all-white Robin Crib (a giggle exclusive!) is a perfect example of what we love about them. This week’s A-List interview takes you behind the scenes with Oeuf’s founders, Michael and Sophie. True to their designs, they have a “less is more” approach to life that is near and dear to my heart.

Ali Wing: What is your motto?

Sophie Demenge: Be true and in the moment.

Michael Ryan: Quality in everything you do.

AW: What are you currently reading?

SD: Alice Ferney’s Grace et Denuement, an inspiring and very moving true story of a young librarian who reads books to gypsy kids.

MR: Romain Gary’s The Life Before Us.

AW: What’s your favorite city/location/destination?

SD: We love living in Brooklyn. We walk to school, to work, to our friends’. It reminds me a bit of my own upbringing in Paris. It’s very neighborhoody. Paris of course has a special place in my heart, being my hometown, and obviously it’s beautiful. We also love spending time in our cabin in the woods in upstate N.Y.

MR: We have a good balance between living in N.Y., France and our cabin in the country. We also love to travel with the kids, as we did recently to Cambodia, and discover a new place through their eyes.

Sophie with her son, Marius.

SD: I grew up listening to jazz, so I also do that with my kids. The kids can sing Ella Fitzgerald tunes as well as Michael Jackson or Ayo. We also really like folky or classical music.

MR: I like folk, jazz and alternative rock.

AW: What color are you loving right now?

SD: I love all colors. What’s interesting to me is the marriage of colors, of unexpected combinations. I love surprises!

AW: Of the baby gifts you received, which was your most favorite?

SD: Michael made a bent plywood co-sleeper when Mae was born. That was the best gift ever. Beautiful and super functional. I love everything that Michael makes. It’s all really special to me. I’m a hoarder, though. We have saved every crib we made for our daughter Mae. I like objects with a story. A couple of years ago I gave Mae the dollhouse from when I was a little girl. All the furnishings are 70′s-style!

AW: What was the one baby product you couldn’t live without?

Sophie and Michael's daughter, Mae, under the Perch bunk bed.

SD: I would have to say the Baby Bjorn carrier. I loved having my babies on me all the time and everywhere.

MR: Diapers! Life would have been tough without them!

AW: Please complete the following:

…make(s) me laugh.

SD: My kids and my husband are very funny. I also manage to make myself laugh; making fun of myself keeps me grounded.

Oeuf Perch Bunk Bed

Enter our Share Your Story Contest and this Oeuf Perch bunk bed could be yours!

MR: When my wife and kids are jamming to Michael Jackson early in the morning before going to school — in their underwear! That makes me laugh.

My proudest moment in parenting was…

SD: Being a strong advocate for my daughter when she was bullied last year and bringing awareness to this very important and very real issue. There were radical changes in the school after that.

MR: Moments when I can diffuse an emotional crisis through good listening, empathy and love.

I’m most surprised by…

SD: How magical children are and how lucky we are to have those great people in our lives.

MR: The fact that my eight year old daughter still believes in Santa Claus (or Claws, as she writes it in her letter to him!).

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An A-List Interview: Jessica Iclisoy http://ali.blogs.giggle.com/2011/05/12/an-a-list-interview-california-baby/ http://ali.blogs.giggle.com/2011/05/12/an-a-list-interview-california-baby/#comments Thu, 12 May 2011 20:18:25 +0000 Ali Wing http://ali.blogs.giggle.com/?p=1089 Jessica Iclisoy of California BabyNatural California girl on one hand, worldly sophisticate on the other… Meet the woman (not just the mom) behind California Baby: Jessica Iclisoy. I actually had the pleasure of meeting Jessica and her husband earlier this year. And while I’ve been a big fan of the natural, balanced approach of Jessica’s California Baby line for a long time, what I was most impressed by after meeting her was her genuine commitment to making healthier parenting easier and more affordable — not to mention her down-to-earth accessibility, considering she’s accomplished so much.

Ali Wing: What’s  your motto?
Jessica Iclisoy: Safe, Natural, Fun!

AW: What inspires you?
JI: Wide-open spaces in nature inspire me, whether it’s the countryside, the ocean or the desert. The colors, topography and plant life get my imagination flowing.

AW: What are you currently reading?
JI: The Paris Review – Interviews, Vol.I. It’s a book of interviews with great writers that delves into their thinking process — the how’s and whys, the problems they encounter and how they overcome them.

AW: What is your favorite city/location/destination?
JI: I can’t get over Paris! The fashion, the food, the art… I love the French countryside too, so the combo of Paris and Provence is a perfect fit for me.

AW: Who is your favorite composer, or what is your favorite music genre?
JI:I really love Baroque music; it transports me to the era instantly. There is a beautifully shot movie called, Tous les matins du monde, and the music is Baroque. Check it out on Netflix. (Warning: It’s an art house film with subtitles!)

AW: What was your most favorite baby gift?
JI: I received a beautiful silver antique frame – a gift that just keeps getting better with age.

AW: What was the baby product you couldn’t live without?
JI: Shampoo and body wash! I rarely used diaper wipes and washed my sons’ bottoms with soap and water at each diaper change, so a non-stripping, non-drying wash was essential for me.

AW: What is your proudest parenting moment?
JI: When my boys were very young, I would melt when they gave me sweet poems on Mother’s Day. That they could express themselves so freely made me feel proud that they were open beings.

AW: What do you consider to be your greatest achievement?
JI: I think my greatest achievements are to come… But, my goal of changing the way parents bathe and care for baby has come to fruition, and I consider that pretty significant.

AW: And please complete the following: …make(s) me laugh.
JI: My dogs.

Jessica Iclisoy from California BabyJessica Iclisoy and sons

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Share Your Story: Here’s mine! http://ali.blogs.giggle.com/2011/05/06/share-your-story-here%e2%80%99s-mine/ http://ali.blogs.giggle.com/2011/05/06/share-your-story-here%e2%80%99s-mine/#comments Fri, 06 May 2011 15:34:54 +0000 Ali Wing http://ali.blogs.giggle.com/?p=1179 Happy Mother’s Day to all our giggle moms! Mother’s Day is a holiday that’s near and dear to our hearts. So in celebration of parents everywhere, we’re asking you to tell us your favorite Mother’s Day or Father’s Day memories as part of our Share Your Story Contest. To kick things off, I wanted to share my own favorite memory:

One of my favorite Mother’s Day memories was a “gift” to my mother-in-law. My husband and I had just found out we were pregnant so we framed our first sonogram photo and wrapped it up as part of a “stacked trio” of gifts. After opening the other two small items, my mother-in-law finally got to the “real” present. She unwrapped the frame and after a minute of confused contemplation, asked with a puzzled look, “why are you giving me a sonogram picture of Ali?” (the name on the sonogram is of the mother). My father-in-law had figured it out and with a few gentle nudges, my mother-in-law looked up at us as a gigantic smile crossed her face and tears in her eyes. And 9 years later, she hasn’t stopped smiling.

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Leveling The Playing Field: Taxes For All, Or Taxes For None http://ali.blogs.giggle.com/2011/05/03/leveling-the-playing-field-taxes-for-all-or-taxes-for-none/ http://ali.blogs.giggle.com/2011/05/03/leveling-the-playing-field-taxes-for-all-or-taxes-for-none/#comments Tue, 03 May 2011 21:41:44 +0000 Ali Wing http://ali.blogs.giggle.com/?p=1166 Business Tax

As an entrepreneur and businesswoman, I find myself in the unusual position of advocating for taxes. I’m thrilled over the past few weeks to have seen mainstream news finally talking about the inequity of our current sales tax structure on businesses that have brick-and-mortar stores in addition to e-stores.

Contrary to what feels like a “pro tax” position, and as I said in on Fox Business last week, I’m actually indifferent to whether we solve this tax inequity by adding taxes for online-only businesses, or taking them away from offline businesses — though I doubt, given our current economic climate, that the latter is likely. The bottom line is that I simply want an even playing field.

Today, a retailer can sell products in a state without charging taxes, as long as they don’t have “nexus” in that state. Nexus is typically established by a physical presence, the most common of which is a store or a warehouse. Therefore, retailers that have stores in states are forced to charge online customers in those states a sales tax on their purchases.

Not only does this create an unfair advantage of 8-10 percent for online-only businesses, it means consumers have to pay a premium to their local merchants. That also means customers could lose local businesses who can’t compete with the 10-percent price penalty.

We love our online business. But we also love investing in our local communities and offering in-person, neighborhood services like personal shoppers, car seat certifications, gift-wrapping and giggle story time. Our ability to continue to do both — like every other one of your favorite stores that also offers you a website — depends upon our ability to compete in a fair tax structure.

Taxes for all or none, I’ll vote either way. But closing this loophole is on my A-List, and should be on yours.

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