12.20.2012

write a letter to newtown

What is there to say, really?

What happened at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, CT last Friday was utterly devastating -- and I have been struggling ever since with whether to post about it. I simply can't let go of their faces, their names, their ages, the stories... And I definitely don't feel ready to write about light and fluffy topics again, either. I know I will eventually -- we must all move on from this tragedy in a positive way, and Christmas is around the corner, of course. But I feel a little like I did in the weeks after 9/11... when I honestly wondered when I'd be able to get the images and sadness out of my head.

Time heals all wounds, and I hope and pray that THIS TIME... THIS TIME the passing of 20 innocent children and 6 dedicated adults will not go in vain. There is a national epidemic happening here, and real, positive change in terms of gun control and mental health awareness must occur.

It has to.

Want to do a little something to lift someone's spirits? Check out the Facebook page, "Letters of Love to Newtown" (thanks to Kim from Design + Life + Kids for letting me know about it!) and write a note to Newtown here --

Sandy Hook Fire Department
19-20 Riverside Road
PO Box 783
Sandy Hook, CT 06482

Saint Rosa Lima Church
40 Church Hill Road
Newtown, CT 06482

Send a little cheer to the First Responders here:

Monroe Police Department
7 Fan Hill Road
Monroe, CT 06468

Looking for a craft project? When school resumes at Sandy Hook, it will be in a new building. Parent volunteers are working to ensure that students are welcomed back to a winter wonderland with the entire school decorated with as many unique snowflakes as possible. 

You can send your snowflakes (by Jan. 12, 2013) to:

Connecticut PTSA
60 Connolly Parkway
Building 12, Suite 103
Hamden, CT 06514

Peace be with you this holiday season.
xx

12.14.2012

dressing up with target (sponsored)



A few weeks ago, Millie and I had a very fun morning dressing up and being girly, thanks to Target and Tend by Glam. I love that this child can pretend to be a dinosaur, growl like a tiger, scale a jungle gym... and dress up like a princess. That's my girl! When I told her that playing dress up would be the focus of the day, she was so excited. Oh, and being driven to the photo shoot was an added bonus (pretty awesome for a city kid whose usual mode of transportation is her own two feet and the MTA).

I've LONG been a fan of Target, so when we were asked to help showcase their new holiday collection for kids, I jumped at the chance (not hyperbole -- I'm pretty sure I actually jumped). Target is known for quality, affordable clothing and products, and their partnerships with various designers has taken this mecca for savings and style to a whole new level (Neiman Marcus, anyone?)

I've purchased quite a few "play clothes" for the girls at Target, but wasn't familiar with their dressier line for children. When we got to the photo shoot, a back room was set up with racks of clothes to choose from -- so fun! A stylist was on hand to help pick outfits, though Millie immediately zeroed in on a little white and silver polka dot number when she entered the room. The material was silky and smooth and she was immediately in love with her "princess dress." Combined with a cool headband, matching shoes and tights and she was ready to go.

Cuteness Exhibit A:


With our second outfit choice, Millie went totally glam. We're talking awesome tutu skirt with leggings (you can see more of it here, including the VERY affordable price tag!), faux fur jacket and adorable shirt with embellished bow. I loved the accessory offerings, too... Millie picked out some bracelets and the flower bow in her hair. With an outfit like this, we could have hit the playground then jumped across town for tea at The Plaza. That's one of the most pleasant surprises of this collection -- you're dressed up but totally comfortable at the same time. We all know kids will LET YOU KNOW if they're not happy with what they're wearing, and I'm happy to report that was not the case here (though a special shout out must be given to Mr. Bear below -- he really knew how to keep the little miss smiling for the camera).

Cuteness Exhibit B:


And a behind-the-scenes shot, because I can't resist (notice child hamming it up for camera and mama resisting raising the roof even though that is her favorite dance move... sad but true):


I'm not gonna lie. I had just as much fun as Millie at the shoot (maybe even more...ssshhh...) At 3 years old, Millie is just starting to exert her opinion when it comes to clothing. It can be a fun AND frustrating experience getting her dressed in the morning, but I am trying my hardest to let her start making these decisions on her own. Being confident and self-assured starts on the inside -- and looking good on the outside comes with a little extra help from Target. 


Brand Statement: A big thanks to Target for sponsoring this campaign. Click here to see more of the discussion.

Disclosure: Compensation was provided by Target via Glam Media. The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and are not indicative of the opinions or positions of Target.

12.07.2012

a few of my favorite things... foodie edition

What can I say, I like to eat. So, it's only fitting that Round 2 of my unofficial holiday gift guide would involve a few culinary-themed items I've come across in the last few months. From the future in grocery shopping to cooking for picky toddlers to getting back to the heart of it all (whole grains, organic, family-owned farming) -- I love the spirit behind each of these endeavors.

                                          The Stuff I Like List (Foodie Edition):

I have to admit that despite my food-loving claims, I kind of hate going to the grocery store. After a long day at work, the last thing I want to do is buy groceries on the way home. I love Fairway as much as any other New Yorker, but it's a headache-inducing madhouse on the weekends. Enter Hello Fresh to the rescue! Here's how it works: Hello Fresh sends you ingredients for 3 delicious meals a week -- this includes portions based on how many people you're cooking for and recipe cards with step-by-step instructions. I love that Hello Fresh takes the guesswork out of WHAT to make. From $69/week, this is an affordable option for our family meals... and you know the best part? Everything we tried (a spicy shrimp pasta, pork skewers and chicken paillard dish) were delicious! What a great gift for the person who enjoys cooking but simply doesn't have the TIME to do anything about it. You'll be on the top of their thank you list.

Laying out the ingredients for a Hello Fresh meal

Catherine McCord's popular blog, Weelicious, is now in cookbook form! With two small children at home, Weelicious has been a lifesaver, but the old-fashioned part of me loves having an actual cookbook to flip through. As mentioned above, I hardly have time to think about what the adults in the house will eat, and I often feel like I'm giving the girls the same thing over and over simply because I'm fresh out of ideas. Millie the Picky Toddler isn't helping matters, either. Catherine's cookbook offers recipes for babies to adults. I also love that the book discusses organic vs. non-organic foods, getting your children involved in the cooking process and fostering healthy eating habits. Catherine's recipes are easy to make and simply yummy. We're big fans of her Rice Cooker Mac & Cheese and Very Berry Muffins!



Fiddler's Green Farm is a family-owned business out of Maine that offers a bevy of organic foods, from pancake mixes and maple syrup to whole grain cereals and jams. Husband and I spent our first "Babymoon" in Maine and I have family who lives there -- I love the rustic beauty of this state and am happy to pass the word on about the natural goodness coming from up north. In particular, I love their gift baskets and Irish oats (I love oatmeal in the winter!)

Everything you could need for the perfect breakfast!

July 4th Blueberry Pancake Breakfast in Bar Harbor, Maine --
this pregnant lady was very happy!



Disclaimer: The products mentioned above were sent to me for review. Opinions expressed, as always, are my own.

12.04.2012

a few of my favorite things...

My unofficial holiday gift guide is here, and yes, I might be humming the "Sound of Music" tune as I write this... 'cause I'm cool like that. I wish this could be a little more like the fabulous Ms. Winfrey's "Favorite Things," where I send freebies out to all who are reading (You get a car! You get a car!), but alas, the items  below are simply recommendations of lovely little things that I've flagged throughout the year on Pinterest, seen on Instagram or filed away in the ol' noggin. The spirit of giving is the most wonderful feeling, isn't it? With that said, I present to you the Baby Meets City Holiday Gift Guide, or in layman's terms...

                                     The Stuff I Like List (Mom & Kiddie edition):

FOR THE LITTLES

I found Sophie & Lili via Instagram and it didn't take me any time to become a fan of this boutique line of dolls. Designed by artist Jennifer Vallez, you can choose from their in stock line, designed for girls AND boys, or have a custom doll created to look like your little one in their favorite outfit. Her offerings don't stop there: DIY doll kits, beautiful illustrations, cards and hair accessories are also available. The line is affordable and everything is made in the USA. Love!

"Joy" - isn't she a cutie?
Looking for a bit of culture in your gifts? I love the concept behind Culture Baby, "a global children's boutique," which features beautiful, handmade children's goods from all over the globe. Founded by 2 friends and fellow moms, Natalia and Monica, the mission behind Culture Baby is to offer products which celebrate cultural heritage and a love of global diversity. No plastic here, people. And when you have a moment, check out Monica's design blog, Hoolaboola -- it's one of my favorites!

Silk dresses from India

Language learning baby blocks

Hair accessories. Oh, I love them. Crawlings, an NYC-based company, has an adorable line of hair clips and headbands for girls, not to mention knee pads for your crawling baby (which officially falls into the "Why didn't I think of that?" category).


A pair of nesting dolls - does it get cuter?


Protect those little knees!

FOR MAMA


NYC-based Bluum is a monthly subscription service for moms and babies (with a Toddler Box line launching in January!) -- each box contains 4-5 carefully curated full-sized beauty & wellness items for mom and must-haves for your baby. Sign up for month to month, a 3-month or annual membership and keep the fun delivered right to your door. Now, while there are a LOT of "monthly" plans out there, here's what sets Bluum apart -- you pick a few of the items yourself, with one or two surprises thrown in for good measure. Love that! Lastly, with not a lot of spare time on my hands, I like the fact that Bluum does the shopping for you. Plans start as low as $11/month (hello, affordability). Learn a bit more from Nicole Gonzalez, Director of Brand Development (and new mama herself!) in this message.


I'll be sharing more about Hidden Baby in the new year, but here's an early introduction: created by sisters (of course I love that!) and partners, Kelsey and Courtney, this stylish line of bags, scarves, bracelets and shoes is a brand with a mission. Each Hidden Baby product has a baby hidden within the design, which represents those tiny ones who are born into unfortunate circumstances and often under-represented. A portion of Hidden Baby profits goes to organizations like Baby's Space, a non-profit child development program in Minnesota.




I have a major problem with C. Wonder. I walk into the store AND WANT EVERYTHING. This affordable mecca of fun, trendy items from clothes to housewares just makes me happy. It's as simple as that. I've got my eye on this adorable sweater which features heart elbow patches (hint, hint, Husband).





Stay tuned for the Foodie edition coming soon!



Disclaimer:
I attended a party for Bluum and was given a Bluum Toddler Box to review. All opinions expressed, as always, are my own.

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