Friday Find: kidrobot BFF’s Blind Box

gold frame

Just as I was about to press the button to order Journey’s last few Christmas gifts, she walked in the room.  As I fumbled to switch screens on my laptop, she mentioned that she wanted to add bff’s to her list.  Naturally, I didn’t know what the hell she was talking about.  Is it a bff necklace, a doll, a game—I had no clue.  She tried to explain something about an egg and a frying pan, but I wasn’t getting it.  So I googled it to find out and here they are: Continue reading

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Friday Find: Personalized Stationery+More At Minted.com

gold frame

When Journey gave me her christmas list and I saw she wanted a personalized journal (a sure sign that she’s growing up!), I knew exactly where I was going to get it from.  I went straight to my fav stationery site, Minted.com.  One of the things that I love most about Minted is that they feature the fabulous work of independent artists across the globe.  I am always guaranteed to find a unique design that is just my style. Continue reading

Girlfriend Gift Guide: Makeup + More

girlfriend gift guide-makeup+more

Last week I featured 10 fab accessories under $100.  This week it’s makeup, beauty products and more!

Continue reading

Girlfriend Gift Guide: Accessories

girlfriend gift guide-accessories

Every Christmas, I have to listen to my family friends go on and on about how hard I am to shop for and how they never know what to get me because I have everything.  While I certainly don’t have everything and I don’t really need anything, there are always a few cute little things that I wouldn’t mind receiving.  In case you are in the same boat, I put together this list of fab accessories and trinkets to serve as gift ideas for girlfriends, sisters, moms—and me!  And they are all under $100! Continue reading

DIY: Create A Bento Box Of Fun

bento box with ribbon

This week I’ve been preparing for the 7 hour drive ahead of us to get home for Thanksgiving.  Each time we take this trip, I pack an arsenal of stuff to keep the kid occupied during the ride.  But no matter what she has going on in the back seat, she still manages to ask me the dreaded question, “Are we there yet?” at least once an hour.  Then she spends the next 5 minutes whining about how it is “going to take forever!” and blah, blah, blah.  By the time we get to our destination, I’m ready to barricade myself in a room with a bottle of wine! Continue reading

Family Gift Guide: 8 Great Gifts To Bring Your Family Closer Together

As you finish up your holiday shopping, consider giving a gift that the family can enjoy.  Any gift that gives you the opportunity to connect with your loved ones in a meaningful way and create lasting memories is priceless.

responsibility

1. Kids Responsibility Board  $48

This is a great way to practice responsibility and money management.  This inventive responsibility station provides a practical way to establish positive life habits in your children.

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2. Mommy and Me Apron Set $49

If you spend a lot of time cooking with your little girl like my daughter and I do, these adorable mother and daughter apron sets are sure to inspire your next culinary creation.

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3. Headbanz Game $12.99

My daughter got this game as a birthday gift and it has become a family game night favorite.  It’s a fun, fast-paced, and simple question game that everyone aged 6 and up can enjoy.

you got your driver's license kit

4. You Got Your Driver’s License Kit $25

Show support for the new driver in your family!  This kit includes a tire gauge, an emergency flashlight, a cloth cell phone pouch to prevent texting while driving, and a colorful fuzzy dice keychain.  Use the time in the car to really talk to your kid about what’s going on in their lives, their friends and their fears.

book

5. Publish a Book

Put your child’s imagination on paper!  The next time your child starts to tell you an amazing story, write it down.  Have them draw pictures to illustrate the story.  Choose an online publishing site like lulu.com to print the book.  Then invite your friends and family over for a book signing party.  You could also sell the books and donate the money to a charity of your child’s choice.

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6. Start a Journal

It’s never too late or to early to start a journal for your child to capture all the priceless moments you experience as a parent.  I started journaling to my daughter when I was pregnant as a way to document the experience and never stopped.  I write about her development as a person, our ups and downs as a family and her personal milestones.  I just hope she can read my handwriting!

awkward-family-photo-game

7. Awkward Family Photos Game $24.99

Based on the ultra-popular website AwkwardFamilyPhotos.com, this board game features hilarious photos of other families sure to bring you closer to your own.  Learn more about the people closest to you as they interpret the awkward moments of others!

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 8. Create Your Family Tree

What better way to bond as a family than by learning more about your ancestry! Involve the whole family in this project by assigning each family member a relative a to interview (give younger children questions to guide them).  Once you have gathered your family history and lots of pictures, go to familyecho.com to create a free family tree online.  Be sure to update your tree as you continue your research and discover more about your history and heritage.   This family project is sure to be both a revealing and rewarding experience.

Happy Holidays!

 

Tips on How to Blend Family Holiday Traditions

menorah and xmas tree

Growing up Baptist in Newark, NJ, I didn’t know much about Judaism.  But after 16 years as a part of my husband’s family (he’s Jewish and African-American), I’ve learned that cheese kugel tastes very much like baked mac and cheese, how to sit shiva and that my mother-in-law is the queen of kvetching (love you, mean it:)).

With the number of interracial marriages at an all time high, diverse families are faced with deciding how to define family tradition, customs and holiday celebrations.  While weaving family traditions together can be challenging, it can also be enriching and rewarding.  Learning about other cultural traditions can open up a world of new experiences.

Below, I’ve listed  a few ideas on how you can blend holiday traditions:

Decide which holidays are most important to each of you

Have an open conversation about which holidays and traditions you want to embrace and plan to pass down to your children.  It will eliminate assumptions about where and how you spend your holidays.  My husband and I started dating around the holidays, so we established this early on.  Luckily, our traditions didn’t conflict.  But in the case that they do, be prepared to compromise.

Incorporate the meaning of the holiday into the celebration

It’s funny how many times we celebrate holidays without discussing their true meaning.  Take time to explain the significance of the holiday to your spouse or partner.  This will help them understand the heritage, history and why it is important to you.

Create your own traditions

One of the best things about being a couple is creating new traditions and memories together.   After a couple of years of trying to visit family in two states on Thanksgiving day, we decided to start hosting the holiday at our home.  It became the one time of year that our entire family got together.  Whatever you decide, let your relationship and things that you enjoy doing together inspire you to start your own traditions.

In the end, any holiday that brings your family and friends together is worth celebrating.

Happy Holidays!

 

Girlfriend Gift Guide: 10 Fab Gifts For Your Best Friend

I’ve been told I’m hard to shop for because I seem to have everything–which of course is totally NOT true!  So I’ve compiled a list of ten simple but fab gifts that I would be happy to receive and I’m sure any of your girlfriends would too.

pop phone

1. Rebecca Minkoff Pop Phone for iPhone $48

Classic meets current with this oh so cute handheld receiver for your iPhone.  Comes in several different styles and colors.

kate spade iphone case

2. Kate Spade New York iPhone 4 Case $40.00

I love this iPhone case because it makes me think of candy.  Pair it with your bestie’s favorite sweet treat for a gift that she is sure to love!

kim seybert

3. Kim Seybert Best in Show Cocktail Napkin $47.00

Colorful pups are illustrated on these beautiful linen napkins.  A must have for the dog lover in your life.

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4. “Mine” Luggage Tag & Passport Set $70.00

For the friend that stays on the go, these sturdy leather accessories will make sure she and her luggage get there in style.

oxo salad chopper

5. OXO Salad Chopper with Bowl $24.99

Save time by slicing and dicing the ingredients for a salad in this salad chopper and bowl.  The chopper has double stainless steel blades to efficiently slice greens, veggies and more!

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6. Vogue Covers Coffee Table Book $91.00

Your fashionista friend will go gaga over this coffee table book featuring nearly a century’s worth of covers from the holy grail of fashion.  Both illustrated and photographic, this stunning book celebrates the long, rich history of still cutting-edge Vogue magazine.

kate spade taxi gloves

7. Kate Spade New York Taxi Mittens $68.00

Best friend in a big city?  These super cute Taxi mittens may be just what she needs to hail a cab in cold.

mini emergency kit

8. Ms. & Mrs. ‘Good Luck’ Mini Emergency Kit $15

This is a MUST have item for every woman!  This cute compact case has everything, I mean EVERYTHING you need to take care of any possible emergency including a mending kit, earring backs, double-sided tape, hair spray and even a stain-removing towelette.  It’s all neatly stored in a cute patent case small enough to fit in your purse!

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9. MAC Holiday Collection: Primped Out Lip Look Bag in Luxurious Pink $39.50

For your friend that likes to stand out in a crowd, this hot lip color  from MAC’s holiday collection is sure to garner some attention!  This style-packed, leopard print M∙A∙C Holiday bag includes Lipstick in Lickable, Cremesheen Glass in Call Me Gorgeous and Lip Pencil in Great Catch.

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10. Time

Spending quality time with your friends is priceless.  Sign up to take a fun class together like belly dancing, pottery or wine tasting.  Arrange to spend some girl time together to go catch a movie, have dinner or enjoy a spa day.  If your friends live out of town, plan a girls getaway for some much needed relaxation on a beach or wild weekend in Vegas.  Your weekend, your choice:)

Happy Holidays!!

 

4 Things That I’m Thankful For

As the holiday season begins, I wanted to share a few things that I am thankful for:

1. The 2012 election cycle is over

As a resident of Ohio, I was bombarded with political ads for almost a year.  By the time it was all said and done, my daughter could tell you all of the names of the candidates and why to vote for or against them.  According to her, word was even out on the playground about whose parents were voting for who.  Funny and sad at the same time.  On another note, I’m also thankful that I won custody of my uterus.

2. I’m not putting up a Christmas tree

Living green things and me just don’t get along.  I have never been able to keep a plant alive for longer than 10 days, much less a tree!  The thought of having to provide water, food and shelter for one more is overwhelming.   But since we moved to Ohio, I have not even put up the artificial one—and I don’t miss it.  Hey, don’t judge!  We don’t spend Christmas there anyway and I make sure Journey gets to help decorate a tree—somewhere.

3. My child has outgrown Nick Jr.

I have mixed feelings about my baby growing up so fast, but at the same time, I am glad that some milestones are behind us.  Although I will miss some of my favorites like Mrs. Spider’s Sunny Patch Kids, Jack’s Big Music Show and Wow Wow Wubbzy—I don’t care if I see the irritating Wonder Pets or the oh so annoying Fresh Beat Band ever again!  And what’s the deal with Max and Ruby?  Clearly, the grandmother or Ruby’s Bunny Scout Leader should have called child protective services on the parents of this nortoriously unsupervised duo by now. But anyway….

4. I will have an extremely well-behaved child for the next 30 days

I love having an arsenal of threats to use this close to Christmas!  Even the mere thought of Santa not stopping by still carries a lot of weight around my house.  And I plan to take full advantage.  Last year, I added an Elf on the Shelf to the mix, which made it even better.  Each night after she goes to bed, the elf “reports” the day’s behavior to Santa.  Between the Elf on the Shelf, Santa and Santa’s elves, Journey thinks she’s under surveillance 24/7 from now until Christmas Day.  Then her payback begins.
On a serious note, I am so thankful to be spending another holiday with my friends and family with “no link broken in the chain” as my grandmother always says when she blesses our meals.  In case you don’t know, it means that we all lived to see another year and are able to gather in good health and good spirits.  My daughter also recorded a video to share what she is thankful for.

Happy Turkey Day!