Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Pooka's Christmas List # 6: bObbles Elephant Tumbling Animal

Last week Pooka and I had the good fortune of attending Unplugged on a Rug's Great Green Playdate at Kidville. We had an amazing time and fell in love with the bObles that were scattered about the room. Natalie Cronin of Unplugged (and also our Wee Wiggle Giggle instructor at Kidville) showed us how beneficial they can be even for baby's who aren't crawling yet. Using the Crocodile bOble she showed us how Pooka can strengthen her core and work on stability by sitting at an angle, or laying on a downward slope on her belly. But our favorite bOble by far is the Elephant Tumbling Animal. Shaped like a half circle your little one can climb up its trunk and sit atop, or flip it over and use it like a rocking horse or chair. I love that bObles promote imaginative play and can grow with your child. When they are older they can stand on the elephant to practice their balance. I get tired of buying so many toys that are outgrown in 5 months! Order yours from Oompa Toys, or you can find them at Mini Jake in Brooklyn or in Manhattan at Babesta or the MoMA Design Store (that's right folks, a toy that's considered high design!)

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Finn's Finds NYC Sample Sale December 18-19th

Our friends at Finn's Finds are having a sample sale this Friday, December 18th and Saturday, December 19th just in time for you to stash some fab clothing under the tree for your dearest ones. Finn's Finds focuses on unique clothing lines from all over the world, and seeks clothing lines manufactured by environmentally and ethically responsible partners. You may remember Finn's Finds from a Fab Find post I did last month. Their site features adorable clothes for your wee ones, and lots of organic choices. I'm hoping to pick up the Double Face Knit Pique Romper, the Rouched Button Hoodie, and the Touch of Stripes and Ruffle Long Sleeve Onesie. See below for more information. Maybe we'll see you there!

Finns Finds Holiday Sample Sale:
Up to 50% off current merchandise

Friday December 18th 10am-7pm
Saturday December 19th 12pm-6pm
@ Archetype Showroom
676 Broadway, 2 fl
New York, NY 10012
(btwn Bond & Great Jones)

Pooka's First Christmas Dress

Being Pooka's first holiday I wanted to choose a special outfit for her to wear on Christmas day and memorialize in photos. There are tons of options out there in many different price ranges. Several dresses made our short list. On the less traditional side we considered the plaid taffeta dress from Baby Gap's Copper Mountain Collection (may still be in stores, but no longer online), Baby CZs Audrey Dress, and Marie Chantal's Dotted Silk Dress (the last two are both on sale at Saks right now). For a more traditional style we looked at Isabel Garreton's Smocked Silk Bishop Dress (also on sale at Saks), Olive Juice Kids Trapeze Dress in Regent Red, and Rachel Riley's Tartan Print Dress in red or green. In the end, we went with the very traditional velvet Douane Dress in Ruby Red from Jacadi (available in-store only). We will be pairing it with Hanna Anderson's Snowflake Tights, and Pooka's silver Naomi Pedipeds. We are searching for a sweater to put over her dress, so let us know if you have any ideas!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Pooka's Christmas List # 5: Melissa & Doug First Bead Maze

Often relegated to the waiting rooms of doctor's offices or play corners in stores and restaurants, the bead maze is an underrated developmental toy. As Pooka approaches 8 months it is important for her to begin working on her fine motor skills. What are fine motor skills? They are usually defined as her ability to use her pincer grasp (her thumb and forefinger) to pick up something as small as a raisin. I don't know about you, but I will not be handing my child a handful of raisins to practice with because they also present a choking hazard. That's why a bead maze is on Pooka's Christmas list. I particularly like the My First Bead Maze from Melissa and Doug. It has a wooden base with suction cups so you can attach it to the floor, a table, or high chair. It has two "maze" tracks and several wooden beads in different colors. One track has larger beads that are easier to grasp, while the other has smaller beads with a second layer of beads that require highly tuned skills to slide them over the first. What's great about this bead maze is that it will grow with baby as their skills develop!

Friday, December 4, 2009

Pooka's Christmas List # 4: Haba Cordoba Building Blocks

My favorite toys for Pooka are generally colorful, made of wood, and encourage creative play. Haba toys tend to do all of those things and are designed and made in Germany so you don't have to worry about the "China factor." They make several amazing baby block sets, so it's hard to chose a favorite. Better yet, buy a few sets and create a serious collection or leave a set at Grandmas house. My favorite are the Cordoba Building Blocks because they are a little bit feminine, but not enough to disqualify them from unisex status. Looking for a more boyish set? Try the Fantasy Building Blocks. Something a little girlier? Check out the Sevilla Building Blocks. All three of these sets are more than just the run of the mill wooden blocks, featuring turrets, archways, and even onion domes. Certain blocks incorporate bells, rattles, and kaleidoscopes. We also love the Eeeny, Meeny, Miny, Zoo Wooden Blocks for a different flair. This set includes cute animal blocks that turn the collection into a puzzle set as well. These building blocks are rated for one year olds and up, but with Pooka being 8 months on Christmas Day I figure she's ready for them even if they only go straight into her mouth. Is your little one not ready for blocks yet? Then don't miss the Haba clutching toys like the Klapperworm, or the Flower Fairy Stroller Toy. Check out all the great Haba toys on Oompa, my favorite site for toys!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Mommy's Little Helper: Mama's favorite iPhone Apps

Many years ago, in a time when pregnant women still drank and smoked with abandon, "Mommy's little helper" referred to a chemical form of stress relief to help mom's get through the day. Today we know that all those things are not healthy for us, and we are forced to rely on helpers of a different nature to get us through the day. My latest addiction is my brand spanking new iPhone and all the fabulous applications that make my day easier, happier, and shinier (much like the "Mommy's Little Helper" of old)! If you have an iPhone you know that there are something like 75,000 different applications available to download, it's an absolutely dizzying array to choose from. But in just a few short weeks I have found some indispensable apps that I would love to share with you.

First, all NYC mommies (or visitors to NYC) must download iKidNY. Created by a brilliant NY mommy (and UWSider to boot), this is the app I dreamed about when Pooka was first born. How many times have you found yourself outside your hood and wondering where you're going to find the closet changing table after your dear one has just blow out their nappie? Trust me, it happens, usually when you have forgotten to bring along a clean set of clothes. The first time I was confronted with this dilemma I rushed home and searched the web, assuming someone must have created a website to address just this issue. And yet, unbelievably, no such site existed. How about a stroller friendly restaurant, or the closest park for the wee ones to burn some energy? And the real piece de resistance, the closest subways with elevators so you and your stroller (avec bebe) can ride the subway with wild abandon! Salvation has arrived in the form of iKidNY. Using the GPS in your phone, this app will locate the nearest indoor and outdoor activities, restaurants, changing tables, and subway elevators. Now, if only this app could also tell us where the cutest baby boutiques are! A girl can dream...maybe in a future update.

How about making mommy errands easier? I have been reveling in Grocery IQ, especially when gearing up to make baby food. Enter your list item by item (the app has an awesome autofill that even lists brands), make separate lists by store (for instance Whole Foods, Target, Babies R' Us), and never forget your list at home because it is always in your phone. Want Dada to grab a few things on the way home? Email him the list from your phone. I like to add items to the list as they run out, then head to the store once a week with my completed list. No more mommy brain leaving me stranded in the paper goods aisle trying to remember how many rolls of toilet paper we have left. I mean, when do I ever have a free hand or pen and paper handy to make grocery lists the old fashioned way?

My husband has been after me to work out a budget (can't imagine why?). Thanks to iXpenseIt keeping track of spending is almost fun until I see the bottom line and gasp a bit (How much did I spend on Pooka's clothes last month?). You can itemize spending, keep track of the form of payment, and even add the vendor or notes to a purchase. Then you can create reports to view accumulated spending by category, like groceries, baby supplies, baby clothes, or shoes for mama. View your spending in a bar graph or pie chart to better understand your habits. Well to be honest, I already know my habits, but viewing the bottom line on a regular basis is very sobering.

How about keeping track of dirty diapers, feedings, and baby milestones with Total Baby. With Pooka over 7 months now I don't need to keep track of diapers and feedings, but I would have loved this when Pooka was a newborn. I use it now to keep track of her doctor's appointments, vaccination record, and developmental milestones. Only want to keep track of nursing or diapers? There are also separate applications for those individual needs if you aren't interested in the whole sha-bang.

What about keeping your dear one entertained? For the youngest babies try iBabySee. This app flashes simple, beautiful black and white images perfect for captivating your newborn. It likes having flash cards in your purse at all times. For older babies check out the Peekaboo Barn and Peekaboo Wild apps. The Peekaboo Barn app hides a farmyard animal making noises behind barn doors. Once the doors are tapped, they open to reveal the animal with the name spelled out and an adorable child's voice repeating the animal's name. Peekaboo Wild does the same except with safari animals hiding behind tall grasses. I've found this app popular with babies all the way up to kindergarten aged children. I also love Baby Piano, which turns your screen into a simple piano keyboard where you can create songs of your own or follow the lead to play familiar songs like Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star. Play it for your infant, or let your toddler or preschooler play the piano themselves. While I do not endorse these apps as educational or strengthening development in the infant stage, they certainly have their time and place. These apps have really come in handy at restaurants, on the train, or in the car when your dear one becomes a fussy nightmare.

All of these apps are avaialable in the Apple iPhone App Store, and some of them, such as Peekaboo Barn and Baby Piano offer "Lite" versions that you can download for free and test drive. You're a mommy now, so go ahead and toss out that Blackberry you had from work and grab an iPhone. I did, and I'm never looking back!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

When good ideas go right: Big City Moms and Collective-E's Meet the Mompreneur's Event

Last Thursday night I had the good fortune to attend the Meet the Mompreneurs panel hosted by Big City Moms and Collective-E, a membership-based organization that supports and promotes women entrepreneurs. The panel included local mompreneurs Carley Roney of The Knot, Bump and Nest empire, Katie Danzinger of Nomie Baby, and Marni Konner of Little Maestros. I expected to hear interesting stories of the trials and tribulations of launching a new service or product, but I didn't expect to be so inspired! Did I mention that these women started their businesses while simultaneously raising 2-3 children each? Lately I've barely been finding the time and energy to post regularly, but somehow these women have been able to launch multimedia powerhouses, create soft waterproof fabrics, and train musicians for a new branch in Dubai, amongst other things!

Carley Roney got into the wedding business at the right time when she and her partners embraced the nascent media of the internet to launch The Knot and reach a new generation of brides-to-be. Now considered one of the foremost wedding resources, the brand grew organically when brides moved into their first homes, began having children and needed new types of information and message boards. The Nest and The Bump were created to meet these needs. I can't deny that I have used all three of these resources as my life has moved through these stages! The Knot is now a publicly traded company with over 500 employees. And did I mention that one or Carley's partners is her husband? This women seriously know's how to make things work!

Katie Danzinger and Marni Konner did what most moms fantasize about. They saw a gap in the mommyhood world that needed to be filled and took it upon themselves to make it happen. Katie Danzinger, creator of Nomie Baby, got frustrated trying to remove the cover on her car seat after her daughter soiled it. She cut holes in a changing table cover to fit on her car seat and before long her friends wanted her to make them covers too. Viola, Nomie Baby was born! By no means an easy road, Katie has finally gotten her award winning car seat covers to market and they have quickly become a media darling. Marni Konner, founder of Little Maestros worked in the music industry, and after the birth of her first child in 2002 sought a quality music program to sign up for. Feeling that the offerings for music programs at the time were lacking, Marni got a group of friends together and hired a guitarist to play by the hour for their children in the basement of the church across the street from her apartment. From these humble beginnings Little Maestro's has grown into a multi-city program licensed through Kidville, employing numerous musicians and dominating the children's music class scene in New York City.

Besides sharing their awe-inspiring mompreneurs stories, these ladies shared some wonderful wisdom. While most of these thoughts are directed at entrepreneurs, they can be easily substituted as advice for new moms! Here are some of my favorite thoughts from the evening (and I hope I don't misquote anyone):

Carley Roney:
Starting a business
- You can convince yourself not to do anything
- Don't be afraid to look stupid or ask for help
Selling your product
- Persistence is key, you have to ignore the humiliation of rejection
- Be willing to do anything for your business
- Be passionate about your product, nonchalant doesn't work
Being a working mom
- Work when you are working and be home when you are home (compartmentalize)

Katie Danzinger:
Starting a business
- You need to ask yourself what you can do, what you can't do, and find someone to help you do what you can't do?
- You may have a huge list of things to do, but none of them have to be done at the same time
Being a working mom
- Don't draft an email while doing a puzzle or playing with blocks

But my favorite quote of the night came from Marni Konner when she said "I haven't had a manicure since my Bat Mitzvah! " Unlike the other two mompreneurs, she brings her toddler to work with her. I think it sums up being a mompreneur perfectly! As for me, I've only had two pedicures in the 7 months since Pooka's birth and I'm not trying to launch or run a business.

Thank you Carley, Katie, and Marni for sharing your stories and advice! And thanks to Big City Moms and Collective-E for organizing this fabulous event!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Pooka's Chirstmas List # 3: Bla Bla Boogaloos

As an avid knitter I know that knitting stuffed animals and dolls can be a big pain in the butt, so I can appreciate when others do the work for me. Such is the case with the marvelous Boogaloo dolls by Bla Bla. Inspired by a French cartoon with blob like charaters, Boogaloos have a pear-like shape on the bottom and different crazy characters on top. It's hard to pick a favorite because there are too many cute ones, but if I had to make a list I would highlight Yoko with her pink hair and striped shirt and Johnny with his blue mohawk. Feeling nautical? Grab a Marlin Booglaoo. Love Sherlock Holmes? Then check out the Watson doll. Celebrate the advent of the snowy season with an Anouk doll. Or play cowboys and indians with Shane and Kaya dolls. They come in two sizes, the regular Boogaloos are 10" and the Minis are 6", perfect for the littlest elfs in your houses. They also do wonderful line of classic dolls that you can purchase with a permanent knit-on outfit or that you can add clothes to, and animal dolls (think extra-hip sock monkey). Like the Boogaloos, these dolls come in small (12") and large (18-22") sizes. Some of my favorites include Prudence and Wink Owl, Gigi the Giraffe, Squirrel "McNuttie" and the Billy Goat Doll.

Don't miss the other great Bla Bla items while shopping their site. Check out their rattles, finger puppets, and mobiles for which they are well known. They also do fun knit clothing, blankets and accessories. Keep your wee one warm with an animal hat and bootie set like the Monkey Hat and Booties. Whatever items you choose will give you that snuggly hand-knit feeling without having to spend hours (or days, or weeks, or months) making these items yourself!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Pooka's Christmas List # 2: Baby Xylophone

For Christmas I am very excited to get Pooka started on a musical journey. Aside from playing the clarinet in middle school (poorly I might add) I am not musically inclined and neither is my husband. I would like Pooka to have a solid basis in the world of music and have been searching for the perfect musical toys to start her off right. They will also be a nice accompaniment to the music class we plan on starting after the holidays, giving her the chance to do her first homework (and by that I mean bang and shake things at home just like she will in class). I have seen lots of xylophone's out there but most are geared for the toddler set. I imagine this is because they are usually metal and could have sharp edges. Then I found this cutie on Giggle that is all rounded and safe for babies as young as 12 months. Baby still too young for this xylophone? How about the amazing Mini Orchestra set or Mini Rainboshaker for 6 months and up. Better yet, these musical toys are phthalate-free, BPA-free, and lead-free plastic so its perfectly safe if Pooka wants to suck on them more than she wants to play them right now. All of these are currently available at Giggle, so get them now before they sell out!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Luxe Life: Flora and Henri

Despite the French sounding name Flora and Henri is a homegrown enterprise. With stores in NYC and Seattle their beautiful collection offers european inspired clothing for the dear wee ones in your life. What most inspires me from their collection are the shoes and knits. How can you resist the incomparable cuteness of the Baby Ballet in soft lavender? Skip the Uggs and grab a pair of Wooly Baby Boots to keep those precious tootsies warm this winter! Or get ready for next summer and pick up a pair of bright blue Maryjane Scallop Shoes on sale. And don't miss their gorgeous sweaters in chunky cashmere. What I like about them is that you feel like your little one could still run outside and play in these, rather than just pose for a portrait or wear for the holidays. Have a look at the Luxurious sweater, Ideal sweater, or Lovely sweater. Their price points put them into the luxe category, but being a knitter I can attest that the yarn alone would cost a small fortune if you wanted to reproduce these sweaters. Be sure to check out the extra small sizes in some of the knitted and layette pieces, like the 100% organic Nona sweater. Flora and Henri is one of the only luxury baby brands I have seen that offers newborn size clothing (although some of the knits are small enough to fit a preemie too) in beautiful knits. And don't miss the super sweet Wool Laurel Leaf Bonnet! I love that Flora and Henri's clothes are timeless. They would be a fantastic choice for a cozy holiday portrait session!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Fab Find: Momma Couture Diaper Bags

Being a mom is a pretty busy job, especially when you have more than one wee one under your roof. There's play dates, music classes, doctor's appointments, grocery shopping...you get the idea. Now imagine you are doing all of this with two kids and then decide to launch a brand new company. That is exactly what Rashmi Budhram of Momma Couture did! She's a Brooklyn mom of two who couldn't find a diaper bag that fit all her needs as an urban mom and still looked chic and un-diaper bagish. Rashmi has definitely accomplished those goals with her Momma Couture line of diaper bags. One of my favorite features is that all of her bags are insulated, and I don't mean just a bottle pocket, the entire lining of the bag is insulated. You might think this would make the bags bulky, but they are surprising thin and light. So go ahead and toss your bottle, sippy cup or snacks right into the main compartment of any of these bags and don't worry about them getting too warm! But that's not the only great thing about these bags. They are streamlined and purposeful, and not to mention they are really great looking. For quick dashes out and about, to throw in a non-diaper bag, or to hang from your stroller choose the Stash & Go which holds a sippy cup or bottle, a diaper and wipes. Or check out my favorite, the hilarious Stinky Bum bag (I mean you might as well call a spade a spade) that holds a diaper, wipes, a changing mat and all your essentials for running out (lip balm, cell phone, credit cards).

For longer jaunts try my favorite, the City Bag. It holds everything you need for a day at a compact 12" x 4" x 9.5" and is described as messenger style, but you won't find a front flap here. The City Bag is all business and has an adjustable strap so you can wear it cross body and be hands free or hang it from your stroller. This one is on my list for when Pooka is in the front carrier and one of our larger bags is too difficult to carry. Rounding out the collection are the spacious (and aptly named) Playdate and Satchel bags that are perfect for long days or even the weekend. And if you have older ones, check out the Momma's Helper that can be used to hold diaper gear on one side and drinks and snacks on the other side.The range currently comes in a lovely linen in Navy or Khaki, and will be available in a wipeable nylon in mid-March.

Life With Pooka readers can get a %15 discount at checkout by typing in coupon code: pooka15

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Watch those fingers! Maclaren Stroller Recall and Alternatives to their Strollers

By now you have probably seen the recall alert on all Maclaren Strollers made since 1999. It turns out the hinges are quite sharp and have amputated the fingers of 12 wee ones (yes, total shock an horror is an appropriate reaction!). Maclaren is offering a repair kit for all owners to fix the hinge problem. We have a Triumph that we love for its quality, durability and ease of use and will continue to use it once we receive the kit. For those of you yet to buy a light weight stroller or want to replace your Maclaren there are some great options out there. Just walk into any Babies R' Us and the selection will astound you, but here are a few of my current favorites.

First on that list are the offerings from Cybex, recently arrived from Germany. I had the chance to check these strollers out at Big City Mom's Biggest Baby Shower. I was impressed with their quality and design, and they are comparable to the Maclaren line in price and weight . Actually they are nearly a model to model match with their Ruby, Onyx, Topaz and Callisto strollers lining up with the Maclaren Volo, Triumph, Quest, and Techno strollers. They have some features that many might find superior to Maclaren strollers such as a one-hand adjustable harness, an insanely full recline, a groovy two position foot rest and car seat compatibility (with Cybex's Atom car seat) on all except the Ruby stroller. Cybex also has great color schemes that will set you apart from the typical light weight stroller, and I dig the white chassis (rather than the typical chrome finish). I'm sure it won't be long before these babies flood NYC sidewalks, especially after Sarah Jessica Parker was spotted with one a few weeks ago.

For Uppa Baby lovers there is the G-Light and G-Luxe lightweight umbrella strollers. Both strollers stand up when folded, and require only hands to fold (no foot action needed). The G-Lite is similar to the no-frills Maclaren Volo in that it is super light-weight at 8.3 lbs but offers no recline option. Their new G-Luxe, which Uppa claims is the lightest full-size reclining umbrella stroller on the market, weighs in at 11 lbs, offers a full recline and even comes with a cupholder. It is a Babble Best for 2009. I also appreciate that Uppa Baby is committed to being eco-friendly by recycling strollers, donating strollers to charity, and making efforts to reduce their carbon footprint. A sign of this commitment is the organic lining that comes standard on their full size Vista Stroller model. Yeah for organic as a standard rather than a costly add on!

Quinny offers the Zapp, by far the coolest looking light weight stroller out there. With an incredibly compact fold (Quinny claims its the smallest in the world), a weight of 13 lbs, and car seat compatible (with Maxi Cosi car seats) the Zapp is the perfect travel system for quick getaways at a fraction of the cost of many luxury travel systems. It has the added bonus of including the travel bag as standard. If I lived outside the city I might consider this for my full time stroller. The only drawback is that there is no recline feature for napping babies!

So while I hate to throw Maclaren under the bus, this is an alarming recall and it's good to know there are other choices for high quality light weight strollers. I like Pooka's delicious little fingers right where they are! We plan to get the repair kit for our Triumph and keep rolling but I can't say some of these other strollers aren't very tempting!

Monday, November 9, 2009

Pooka's Christmas List # 1: Olive Juice Kids Clothing

I've decided to create a new "seasonal" category highlighting the items Pooka would like for Christmas. Well, let's be honest. Pooka is 6 months old and can't make a Christmas list for herself, so it's really the things mama wants for Pooka for Christmas. Her list already has quite a few items on it which I will share with you over the coming weeks. First up on the list is clothing from Olive Juice Kids. I love them because their clothing is very classic, but also has an Anthropolgie vibe about it, particularly for older kids. First up on Pooka's list are the timeless Andrea Coveralls in Ruby, although I love the Champagne Polka Dot as well. The ruffles on the butt are just too cute and these are sure to be handed down to future kiddos or even generations! I'm also sweet on the Regent Coveralls in Rose cotton velveteen, which are also offered in a unisex corduroy. Both of these coveralls would look great with the Bailey Top or Piper Bodysuit underneath. Rounding out Pooka's list from Olive Juice Kids is the Duffy Topper, which we love in every color. Try it in champagne and silver for a unisex look. If you've got older children be sure to check out the new Holiday collection too. I can't wait until Pooka can wear styles like the Eloise Holiday Dress, Beatrice Dress, and Camilla Dress!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Fab Find: Oeuf Alpaca Bead Necklace

If your baby is anything like Pooka then they are constantly grabbing at any accessory you wear and trying to put them in their mouth. Actually that goes for my hair too, as if I hadn't already lost enough of it! Dangly earrings are out for now. Just ask my mom who keeps insisting on wearing her big hoops (despite my warnings) only to have them torn out over and over again! And these days my necklaces are selected very carefully to ensure whatever ends up in Pooka's mouth won't injure her, and that the chain won't cut into my neck when Pooka yanks it. Enter the deliciously soft Alpaca Bead Necklace from Oeuf, who are well known for their beautiful furniture. Handknit by indigenous women in Bolivia, Oeuf's knitted accessories are Fair Trade and provide a sustainable income for the artisans who can now afford to send their children to school. If the beaded necklace isn't your thing, take a look at the Alpaca Flower Melange Necklace. When I first viewed these necklaces online I thought they would be a bit juvenile, but once I saw them in person at Big City Moms Biggest Baby Shower I was completely in love! The colors are understated and elegant (yes, I called a knitted necklace elegant), and if your wee one wants to chew on your necklace you won't have to worry about their safety or yours! And don't miss some of the other great knitted accessories at Oeuf like the Peasant Hat for baby or you, the hilarious Bat Girl Hat, darling Alpaca Angel Slippers and Sweater, and the snuggly Neckies.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Germaphobia: Keeping your house and hands germ free

Any which way you turn you are bound to run into something about H1N1, which may have you running scared. I know it has certainly been rattling our cage, and considering that Pooka has her third cold of the season I think it is time to redouble our germ fighting efforts. Luckily for us there are plenty of great products out there that fight germs without exposing Pooka to a slew of nasty chemicals.

The first line of defense in germ fighting is hand washing. You could purchase an antibacterial hand soap, but a regular soap can do the job just as well without using synthetic detergents or chemicals, or drying out your skin. Triclosan, the antibacterial agent found in many soaps and hand sanitizers, may contain dioxin and PCBs that I'd rather not expose Pooka to. My current favorite is California Baby's Moisturizing Handwash which uses ravensura, lemon, tea tree and coconut oil to be naturally antibacterial. It comes in a large 19 oz. bottle and will last for months. It's certainly not the cheapest out there, but it's packed with yummy smelling essential oils and like all California Baby products avoids synthetic detergents, fragrances and other baddies. Use warm water and scrub for at least 20 seconds (I like to go for 30 seconds, and sing the ABC's to be sure I scrub for long enough) to eradicate germs.

Another favorite of ours is the CleanWell family of products. CleanWell claims to kill 99.9% of germs without using Triclosan, toxic chemicals, artificial colors or parabens. At home we use both the All-Natural Antibacterial Hand Soap in zesty Spearmint Lime, and on the go we love the All-Natural Hand Sanitizer. The sanitizer comes in a large size, which we leave next to the changing table, and a travel size that we put in the diaper, stroller, and car. It smells 100 times better than Purell and doesn't contain alcohol. EO brand also makes a great hand sanitizer with organic essential oils and 62% organic alcohol. They have a variety of sanitizers in Lavender, Peppermint or Eculyptus scent, in spray, gel or wipe form, and in a variety of sizes. They even have a canister with 210 wipes that you can use to fill your spare wipes case and keep in your diaper bag.

Around the house there are tons of chemical free choices these days, but I definitely have my favorites. We adore the Dapple line of natural-based products, especially the Toy Cleaner Wipes. They smell great and are moist enough to tackle several toys with just one wipe, or you try the spray cleaner. Don't forget to bring the wipes with you to play group! They also have a great natural Dish Liquid and Dishwashing Powder that really helps get rid of milk residue and doesn't make me panic about how well I have rinse after washing because there are no nasties in the ingredients list. Dapple products are biodegradable, and free of parabens, SLES, phthalates, synthetic dyes and fragrances. You can also keep your toys germ free with Fields Organics. Their non-toxic organic cleaners were designed specifically for homes with children. Their Toy Cleaner is perfect for any surface your wee one has contact with including car seats, strollers, and countertops. Other products for the house include a great Stain Odor Remover that we use to pre-treat clothes and clean breastmilk and spit up from the couch and rugs. We also use their Laundry Detergent for all of our clothes, and they have additional products as well so be sure to browse their site. All their products use organic essential oils for their antibacterial properties and refreshing scent and a portion of the profits from Field's Organics products goes to support the Children's Health Environmental Network.

So arm yourself with these products to keep your dear ones healthy and free of nasty germs chemicals. Now I have to make the time to keep all Pooka's toys and gear squeaky clean!

Monday, November 2, 2009

Fab Find: Pure Baby Organic Denim Pinafore

I am in love with this delightful denim dress by Pure Baby. It can be worn in nearly every season. In warm weather wear it as is, or add a long sleeve onesie and tights to wear during the colder seasons. What I really appreciate about this dress is it's manufacture. Pure Baby is an Australian company that uses %100 organic cotton and is the first Australian company to have joined the Made By initiative. The Made By initiative requires manufacturers to prove that all stages of production use eco-friendly materials, and are produced in optimum working conditions. Pure Baby also strives to be %100 accountable and transparent in all of its production practices. Other favorites from Pure Baby include the Striped Ruffle Shirt, and Alphabet Shirt and onesie. The best part is that Pure Baby is very well priced for such cute organic clothing. Find Pure Baby styles at Finn's Finds, a great site based in NYC featuring clothes manufactured by environmentally and ethically responsible partners.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Alex and Sam Holiday Trunk Show November 18th

Our friends at Alex and Sam are holding a Holiday Trunk Show to help with your gift giving needs. Items will be offered at a great discount and it's the perfect opportunity to get your wee one some personalized gear or wonderful toys from Melissa and Doug. And lest you forget, a portion of each sale goes to a great charity of your choice like Baby Buggy, Robin Hood Foundation, St Jude's Children's Research Hospital, Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, Fund for Public Schools (Shop for Public Schools), Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation, New Alternatives for Children, WomenWork!, Friends of Yemin Orde (a youth village in israel), and more. So spread the wealth this holiday and help those in need when you purchase your gifts for the ones you love!

Please join us for an Alex&Sam Trunk Show and Sample Sale!
Get an early start for your holiday shopping and save

Please be our guest... with the holidays around the corner, we wanted to invite our special customers to a Private Trunk Show and Sample Sale.

Save up to 70% off on jewelry, up to 40% off of toys, clothing, gifts and much more!

See our latest collection of unique Personalized gifts, Stationary,
Tabletop, and Judaica.

Shop for gifts for mom, child, baby and more! This is a once a year sale you don't want to miss! Hope you can join us!

250 West 90th Street,
Event Room
Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Fab Find: Amenity Home Eco-Wooden Bowl and Spoon set

If you read my post yesterday you know that Pooka recently started eating solids and with that comes a whole new set of gear to acquire. It should be simple to find safe and healthy products for feeding your baby but you'd be surprised. After a quick trip to Babies R' Us I realized there were still a lot of products on the market with BPA and finding bowls and spoons without PVC and phalates was nearly impossible despite a wall full of feeding gear. The only brands I found without those ingredients were Boon Inc. (which I love and own) and The First Years Meal Mates and Take and Toss sets. As the name implies, the Take and Toss are not exactly eco-friendly despite their safer ingredient list because they are marketed to be tossed although they are reusable.

Then I remembered Amenity Home's gorgeous Eco-Wooden Bowl and Spoon set they introduced this summer. The bowl and spoon are carved from non-toxic cherry wood and finished with beeswax and oil. You can use the bowl and spoon like a mortar and pestle and mash bananas, avocados,or steamed veggies right in the bowl. This bowl and spoon set will last through more than one child and will likely become a beautiful family heirloom (this ain't no take and toss). An added benefit is that the bowls are made by a co-op in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Purchase the Baby's First Meal gift set and get four organic wash clothes with your bowl and spoon, you're going to need them! And while your there pick up some of their organic bedding and bath gear (read more about Amenity in this post).

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

NHTSA gives Orbit Baby all clear on safety!

Many of you may have followed this debate between Orbit Baby and the negative review of their infant carseat by Consumer Report. I posted each new communication as the event unfolded starting in late August (post on 8/31, and 9/2). We are loyal Orbit Baby parents and were very disturbed by this turn of events, but wholly confident in their product. Below is the conclusion of this debate. The NHTSA has cleared Orbit Baby carseats of any safety concerns, and once again Consumer Report is looking less than credible in their evaluation of the safety of a baby product. I think many Orbit Baby parents had already come to this conclusion based on our personal experiences, so this won't be a shock to them!

Dear Orbit Baby parent,
Update October 26th, 2009: We had promised that we would update you on the situation with Consumer Reports’ testing of the Orbit Baby Infant Car Seat. We are pleased to let you know that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has sent Consumers Union (the publisher of Consumer Reports) a letter officially stating that no further inquiry is necessary because our product meets all federal safety standards.

NHTSA reviewed their comprehensive database of the safety history of the Orbit Baby Infant Car Seat on the road, and did not find any reports of injuries, seat separations, or other safety risks.
NHTSA conducted its own tests on the Infant Car Seat. All tests passed, and no separations occurred in both sets of tests:
Crash testing according to the official Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS)
Research crash tests to match the non-compliant procedures that Consumer Reports’ magazine used in August
You can read NHTSA’s official letter to Consumers Union about Orbit Baby here. We have also provided more information below in an effort to further clarify the situation.

Though Consumer Reports has repeatedly tried to raise what they felt were safety concerns with our Infant Car Seat, their concerns have been refuted by every subsequent test and piece of research conducted by regulatory agencies and independent labs. (You can read more about our past statements, and learn more about how Consumers Union improperly conducted its simulated compliance testing, here.)

Based on a comprehensive inquiry, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has now issued an official statement that it "believes that no further action is currently warranted" in researching the safety of Orbit Baby’s Infant Car Seat.
In its inquiry, NHTSA reviewed their database of over three years of comprehensive real-world reports from consumers, safety personnel, and NHTSA's Early Warning Reporting system with NO reports of deaths, injuries, car seat separations, or complaints. NHTSA does not solely rely on lab tests, like those conducted by Consumer Reports, when evaluating the performance of a safety product. At Orbit Baby, we have always emphasized the real-world safety that families face out on the roads, and we are proud of the fact that our track record of safety is a key factor in NHTSA’s conclusion.
NHTSA conducted the official Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) No. 213 tests that are required of all US car seats, and as expected, our Infant Car Seat passed this testing, and no separations occurred. In addition, NHTSA further conducted research tests to simulate the non-compliant test conditions that Consumers Union conducted. These tests were all done at the same lab that Consumers Union originally used, and were attended by three Consumers Union representatives. NHTSA also reported no issues or car seat separations on these tests.
In NHTSA’s recent letter to Consumers Union, it confirmed that the magazine’s original tests of the Infant Car Seat deviated from their official government test procedures and were NOT configured correctly according to FMVSS No. 213. We believe the improper test set-up Consumer Reports’ used likely contributed to their inconsistent results, and you can read our original response to their mis-testing of our product here.
We have always tried to put the concerns and safety of our consumers first, and have tried to do our utmost to research this issue independently as well as cooperate with NHTSA at every turn. Even though NHTSA has directly told Consumers Union that the inquiry into Orbit Baby’s Infant Car Seat safety is concluded, Consumer Reports maintains its assessment that this seat poses a safety risk. We believe that Consumer Reports’ decision unnecessarily confuses parents, and believe that they should reconsider their recommendations.

As an Orbit Baby parent, please continue to take advantage of these helpful resources on our website to ensure that you, as well as the caregivers of your children, are educated on proper car seat usage.

View Car Seat installation videos
Download Orbit Baby product manuals
Visit the FAQ's section
Read Orbit Baby's position on car seat safety
Email us anytime with any further questions at support@orbitbaby.com
Thank you once again for your support of Orbit Baby.


Joseph, Bryan, and The Orbit Team

Photo of Pooka by Hannah Hardaway Photography

Monday, October 26, 2009

Time for solids: The skinny on healthy feeding

My extreme dislike of peas is a family legend. At the tender age of four I went toe to toe with my dad at the dinner table, sitting for hours refusing to eat my peas and finally being sent to bed. I think I won that round, as dad never tried that tactic again. So when it came time to feed Pooka her first meal I put a considerable amount of thought into what that first meal would be. It became clear last week that she needed more than mommies milk to get through a night (she woke up ravenous at 3 AM three nights in a row, which is very unusual). I was very happy that we made it just shy of 6 months of exclusive breast feeding.

The first issue was what to feed Pooka for her first meal. I was armed with several books to help me make this decision. First, I had decided to make homemade baby food as often as possible. I have two books on home made baby food, the Organic Baby and Toddler Food Cookbook, by Lizzie Vann and Cooking for Baby by Lisa Barnes and have found them both very useful. To be honest though, at the outset you are steaming a single vegetable and pureeing it in your blender or food processor, so the cookbooks are a little irrelevant at this point. Many of my mom friends are also big fans of the Beaba BabyCook, which steams food and then purees it all in one bowl. It is BPA free but unclear whether it contains PVC or phalates, so make sure you do your research if you plan on using it daily. Personally, we live in a studio so adding another appliance to our counter didn't seem like a good idea. I actually use a hand or stick blender (sometimes called an emulsifier) which is great because I can use it right in the pot or a bowl, takes up little space, is portable for trips away, and makes a fab smoothie right in the glass you drink it from. I parcel out enough puree for a few days in the fridge, then freeze the rest in trays. Right now I am using the Beaba Multiportion Trays which are silicon and BPA, PVC, and phalate free. The silicon makes it easy to pop out a single portion when you need it, but I have found that I only need to fill them halfway to make a Pooka size portion at this stage. I also have the Kid Co BabySteps Freezer Trays that are designed more like an ice tray with a lid. They are BPA and phalate free and like an ice cube tray, you need to smack it on the counter a few times to loosen up a baby food cube. Kid Co also makes a manual or electric food mill as an alternative method of pureeing foods for baby (the battery operated food mill is great when you are on the go and want to feed baby from the table).

So now the question was what that food should actually be. I was inspired by two books, Feeding Baby Green by Dr. Alan Greene and Hungry Monkey by Matthew Amster-Burton. Feeding Baby Green is a fantastic book describing how babies start experiencing tastes while still in the womb and continue exploring new tastes through the first 2 years. He discusses windows of opportunity to expand your child's palate and hopefully encourage them to eat a wider variety during the picky toddler years when children experience Neophobia (otherwise known as "I will only eat french fries and chicken nuggets, and don't even think about bringing that green thing near me!"). He suggests trying as many as 10-15 times before your child excepts a particular food, and making sure to feed your child produce from all 21 categories he lists in his book. He also dispels many myths about food allergies and outdated modes of thinking when it comes to feeding babies and toddlers. We're on board with his program, I only wish it had been out when I was pregnant! Hungry Monkey is more of a foodlogue about a gourmet dad's effort to expose his daughter to a variety of foods, particularly those that people say kids shouldn't eat. It's humorous and encourages parents to think a little outside the rice-cereal box!

So Pooka ate her first solids a little over a week ago. We decided to bypass the rice-cereal for now. Her first meal was peas and she can't get enough. Seriously! By the end of her first meal she was literally opening her mouth, leaning forward, grabbing my hands and pushing the spoon into her mouth. Thinking my luck would hold I introduced Pooka to one of my favorite veggies a few days later, green beans. On her first bite she made a lip quivering frown and spit them out. Hmmmm, certainly not what I had expected, but perhaps apropos since I loathed peas as a child and she adores them. Since then she has enjoyed roasted acorn squash and had a mixed review of raw avocados. Per Dr. Green's method we tried the green beans again last night which garnered a slightly less strident rejection, but I think we still have a ways to go!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Luxe Life: Baby CZ by Carolina Zapf

Madison Avenue certainly has its share of high end retail for babies, but head into Baby CZ by Carolina Zapf and you will not be disappointed. The first thing you will notice is the abundance of soft luscious cashmere for your dear one (and the accompanying price tags). Cashmere is Zapf's specialty and she does it well. She's known for her Ruffle Cardigan, but I'm a fan of the Tipped Reversible Hooded Sailor Cardigan. Pair the sweaters with a Chunky Cable Pom-Pom Hat or the delicious Cashmere Flower Hat. Cashmere is not all Zapf does well though. Her dresses are downright charming, particularly the Chloe Dress and Audrey Dress (love it in purple check). And make sure not to miss the Velvet Quilted Jacket with Hood. I realize this review has leaned heavily on the girlie side, but don't worry, their is plenty on offer for the boys too. So next time your on Madison Avenue or in need of that perfect dress for a portrait session or the holidays head to Baby CZ and bring a credit card with a low balance!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Sail Away in Petit Bateau Maternity

I am a huge fan of Petit Bateau for Pooka and myself. Their onesies and t-shirts are extra soft and wear very well. Their clothing line for babies is darling, and she wears her cargo pants at least three times a week. And now, miracle of miracles, Petit Bateau has its own maternity line! It almost makes me wish I was pregnant again (soon enough, soon enough!). I will definitely be heading here to stock up on maternity clothes when it's time to make Pooka a sibling. My favorites are the Light Cotton Maternity Undershirt with Gathers (why don't they just call it a turtleneck???) and the Maternity Dress with Gathers. It's a small collection, but full of staples. Grab a few pieces in a couple of colors and you're done! And while you're there don't forget to grab some onesies and footies for your upcoming arrival.

Fab Find: Ugg's Honey B

I must be the only women in NYC that has never owned a pair of Ugg boots (although I have had a pair of their slippers). Pooka, on the other hand, has just acquired her first pair, but they are not the ubiquitous boots. I purchased a pair of Honey B's for her in black (they are also available in soft pink). The are a lovely soft leather with white contrast stitching and soft soles. The interior is lined with Ugg's signature sheepskin. They will be perfect everyday shoes with tights and pants on cool days, although I imagine a pair boots will still be necessary for the coldest days of the year.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Homemade Halloween costumes for the craft challenged: Etsy to the rescue!

I consider myself one of the lucky ones because my mom can sew and I have fond memories of trips to the fabric store to pick out material for my Halloween costumes (and later prom and holiday dresses). I vividly remember being Raggedy Ann, and a beautiful butterfly, and a rather creepy Harlequin clown. Luckily for me my mom will also make Pooka's costume this year. Don't have the sewing skills or crafty family member to make a costume for your little pumpkin? Don't let that keep you from having a unique handmade costume. If you are a regular reader you will now that I love finding great handmade baby gear on Etsy (see this post), and Halloween is no exception. Here is just a sampling of the items you can find and many are still available for delivery before October 31st.

Candy corn is an often neglected icon of Halloween, but these designers have featured it front and center. Got a seriously wee one who's not ready for a costume? Try this absolutely ridiculous (I mean that in a good way) Candy Corn Bunting by Dahlhart Lane. I love these candy corn onesies by Bambinamia and Little One Boutique. Speaking (or writing) of onesies, I'm also a big fan of the I Love My Mummy onesie from Baby Grin and the Woooo Halloween Ghost onesie by Chloe's Ruffle Butt.

Need a full costume for your little man? What could be easier than a onesie costume? Make him a superhero with the Boy Wonder Onsie with Detachable Cape from Trusty Sidekick.Not into tights? Try the masculine Brown Tool Belt Onesie or sedate Corduroy Vest and Tie Onesie from Rock n Rags. Does your baby have a little more edge to them? Look no further than the Tuxedo Long Sleeve Romper or Punk Rock 80's Romper (think CBGB) from Lowleepop. Girls can get in on the Lowleepop action too with the Punk Rock Dress.

There are plenty of options to choose from for your baby girls. You could go traditional with this gorgeous Little Red Riding Hood or Snow White costume from Lover Dovers Clothing. I really love this sweet Pirate Girl costume by Rae Gun, or the Bumble Bee dress by April Scott. And don't forget the tutus! There are literally dozens of vendors making tutus for all occasions on Etsy, but some of the best for Halloween are offered by Polka Dots and Paisley, The Magic Tutu Shoppe, and Lil Southern Girl (if you are thinking along the lines of fairy or ballerina).

Still haven't seen something you like? Try this less traditional Rainbow Sprinkle Costume from Not The Kitchen Sink, or the spectacular Round Little Pumpkin costume from Dahlart Lane. And some other options for the less mobile little ones are the Sweet Swaddle Blanket Pumpkin by Tisha Too Designs, or the innovative Flower Cart Stroller Cover by Kikis Thing's for your Maclaren! One of my favorites by far though is Pinkadellic Industries Make Your Own Gnome hat. Make sure you read the seller description when you check out the hat, it will crack you up!

Already have your dear one's costume? Click on these links anyways because pictures of babies in costumes are always good for a smile. Seriously, doesn't that baby in the gnome hat above make you crack up?

Monday, October 19, 2009

Fab Find: Feather Baby Organic Baby Clothes

Last week while visiting a friend in the West Village I found the most adorable outfit for Pooka made by Feather Baby. I hadn't seen their line before, but it was love at first sight. I purchased a soft faux-layered onesie/pant combo in grey with gorgeous purple flowers (I can't find a photo on the site to share!). We got lots of compliments on Pooka's stylish outfit when she debuted it yesterday. What I love even more is the obvious effort and care that goes into producing Feather Baby products. Founder Sude Peta, once a Sony music exec and NYC boutique owner, and her husband relocated to Lima, Peru with their triplets in order to better control the manufacturing process. These controls include using color-grown 100% organic Pima cotton, no-bleaching, and simple vegetable dyes for the Feather Forever collection. For silkscreened collections all inks are devoid of pvc and phalates and no solvents are used in the process. And to top it all off, this fab company supports fair trade practices meaning each farmer and worker is guaranteed good working conditions and a fair wage. Now, if only they were a little bit easier to find! We got ours at YoYa at 636 Hudson St.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Luxe Life: Anya Hindmarch Oakley Diaper Bag

Picking your diaper bag can be as difficult as picking a pair of jeans. Is your style utilitarian or whimsical? Would you rather your diaper bag scream mommy or hide your status? Should your bag be inexpensive or luxurious? So many questions, and so many bags! Updated for Fall 2009, Anya Hindmarch's Oakley Bag is a good choice if you want a subtle and chic diaper bag. Made of black nylon with patent leather trim it's perfect for winter's inclement weather and for wiping off drool or spit up. It comes with a nifty changing mat, a removable "nappy" bag, and smartly labeled pockets with terms like "bibs," "bobs," "books," and "bottles." So while the bag doesn't broadcast "mommy," at closer look it shows that you're proud to tote your little ones goods. New for fall are an interior key ring, cell phone pocket and cute striped shoulder strap that can also be used to hang the bag from your stroller. These are huge improvements on the previous canvas version from last spring, but with a new price tag of $695 you are paying for those upgrades!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Tis' the Season: Snowsuits & buntings for every style

Today it poured and the temperature dropped below 40 degrees during the day for the first time this fall. It was one of those days that you order takeout for lunch and contemplate staying inside all day. And yet Pooka and I couldn't bear to miss out on our play date downtown. The question was how to get there. Drive ourselves (then search for overpriced parking), take a cab (and pray the tires aren't bald on the wet roads), or hop the subway. We went with the last option today, but the big dilemma was how to keep Pooka warm in the front carrier. That's when we reached into the closet and grabbed our fuzzy new bunting and ear flap hat and headed out the door. So that got me to thinking about the options out there for gearing up baby. Trust me, there are plenty out there, but here are a few of our favorite buntings for outdoor wear.

For the beefiest, burliest, most extreme baby outerwear check out Polarn O. Pyret's snowsuits. The company is Swedish so we shouldn't be surprised they have created bomber baby-wear for getting out in the elements. Their Performance Snowsuit is wind-resistant, waterproof, lined in fleece and has elastic stirrups on the feet to keep babies pants from riding up above their boots. Don't spend that much time outside? Maybe the Double Zip Snowsuit is a better choice for you. Featuring many of the same details as the performance suit, like the wind-resistant and waterproof outer shell and foot stirrups, but just a bit less extreme. Finally, if your baby will spend most of the time under a rain shield in their stroller or car seat during inclement weather look to the Wind Fleece Bunting. The bunting has roll over cuffs and feet so no extra boots or mittens are required, and I love the striped lining. I wish I had seen this one before purchasing ours!

Next on the list for technical baby outerwear is Patagonia. Most of Pooka's warm winter things are from Patagonia (as are Mama and Dada's) and we can attest to its design and quality. I love the Patagonia Reversible Puff-Ball Bunting because it is lightweight but extremely warm. It's also wind-resistant and water repellent, but coolest of all is that it is made of recycled materials and can itself be recycled when no longer needed (but realistically it will be passed onto many other children before that day comes). If you have a little girl you can't go wrong with the lovely Birds and Vines print! Accessorize the snowsuit with the matching Baby Shelled Hat or Baby Two-Way Blanket. Don't need that much protection? Try the Infant Synchilla Bunting in solid or printed, which has legs that can be zipped together to form a bunting bag when baby doesn't have to be strapped into the car seat or stroller. We chose the solid bunting in unisex Green Oasis so it could be passed down to other babies, and paired it with the Baby Shelled Hat in Birds and Vines which has a coordinating green in the pattern and lets everyone know Pooka is a girl. There is also the Infant High-Plush Bunting which is fuzzier on the outside, but is not made from recycled materials. We have found that the sizing runs pretty large, so if your baby is 6 months the 6 months size will fit an average size baby for quite a while. Pooka is almost 6 months and is still wearing her 3 month Baby Synchilla Cardigan, but she can also wear her 6 month bunting (though she does swim in it a bit, and it's going to fit for a long time).

Not decadent enough for your little one? Splurge on the fantastic Bon Point Blizzard Pilot Jacket with removable fur hood (real???) and boots or the courdoroy Neige Pilot jacket. Bon Point also offers the mid-weight December Pilot Jacket with removable booties and mittens. By the way, there must be something lost in translation because the "jackets" are actaully snowsuits.

How about something a bit dressier and less outdoorsy? Check out the snowsuits by Jacadi. Jacadi has the beautiful ruffled pink Degas Snowsuit, the boyish brown Doux Snowsuit with an embroidered carousel horse. My favorite is the Damisela Snowsuit for girls in brown with embroidered berries. All feature attached feet and removable mittens, and they also carry more tradtional light pink and light blue snowsuits.

Looking for something more economical? Try the trusted quality of Lands' End with their Baby Down Bunting with a cute fur trimmed hood and fold over hands and feet. Or how about the styling on Mini Boden's cute printed Snowsuit with stars for boys or bright dots for girls. I love the removable booties!

With so many options it's hard to choose just one. It's just so darn cute when our dear ones little faces' peek out from under the puffy hoods. Restraint girls, restraint! To soothe your angst get a variety of hats and mittens to keep things interesting!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Fab Find: Giddy Giddy Hair Clips

I have fallen in love with these adorable felt hair clips and pony-tail holders from Giddy Giddy. Alas, Pooka does not yet have the hair to wear them, but I keep telling her it won't last forever! In the meantime we will be ogling these lovely clips! How can you deny the superb wearability of this Owl Hair Clip? How about the Apple for all you city dwellers, or the Gingerbread Man for the holidays? And let's not forget the boys who can sport the utterly fantastic Robot Backpack! Moms and older siblings can get in on the action too with ponytail holders and big girl clips. I'm thinking Whale or Bird for myself. And these would definitely make great stocking stuffers for the little ones in your life. Here's to keeping my fingers crossed that my follicle-challenged baby will have some hair to clip back by then! Oh, and Giddy Giddy supports microlending through Kiva (a fabulous non-profit organization) that helps women around the world kick start their own businesses!

Postmarked with love: Holiday cards to highlight your little ones

It's that time of year again. The leaves are changing, the smell of wood smoke is in the air, and the holidays are right around the corner. Too early to order your holiday cards? Hmmmm, not in this household where it took me five months to get my birth announcements out (actually, I still have a few to put in the mail!). I figure if I can address a few a day I will get them all out before the New Year. Oh, and I will definitely be ordering return address labels to speed the process. I really regretted skipping those on the birth announcements in the name of cost-saving. At this point I value time-saving more readily than cost-saving!

The go-to place for stationary needs for us is Tiny Prints. Several of our friends sent us Holiday cards and birth announcements from Tiny Prints last year, which was how I found them. We ordered Pooka's birth announcements from here and were pleased with the design and quality, and received many compliments on them. They have one of the largest selections, are reasonably priced and are delivered quickly. We had to reorder more of Pooka's announcements and their customer service was great. One great feature for their birth announcements is that you can choose your design and pre-order the envelopes to fill out before your wee one arrives. Once you have the photo (or not if you are a traditionalist) you can order the cards and pop them into the ready-to-go envelopes. We ordered the envelopes, but I never got around to filling out the addresses in advance, so it was all for naught! I like the Fanciful Flurry card, the more traditional Warm Memories with multiple photos, the Holiday Blessings photo and story card, and the charming Snow Lamp for NYC families.

My new favorite stationary site is Minted. The designs are fresh and unique in part because Minted holds regular design contests for new cards for their collections. My favorite options on the Minted site are the Yearline Holiday Photo Cards and the new Minibook Holiday Cards. While they are not inexpensive they are wonderful for sharing your latest news with family and friends. For a cost-saving measure you could get 25 of these style cards for immediate friends and family, and order a more traditional card for the rest of your addressees. My absolute favorite card from Minted is the Gift Wrapped Holiday Card. For NYC families, try the City Snow Globe Holiday Photo Card or the Bright Lights Holiday Photo Card or let your photo steal the show with the Paris Holiday Photo Card or Vintage Holiday Photo Card.

In a Baby Carriage has similar cute holiday card designs, and they do a cool trifold card. Pear Tree also has great designs and some interesting card styles. Check out the Pocket Cards like the Snow Falling Photo Card and Self-Mailer Cards. I love that you don't need and envelope if you use the Self-Mailer Cards.

Still haven't found what you are looking for? Stacey Claire Boyd offers fantastic designs like the Festive Flamestich (think Missoni), Hip Holiday (think Hable Construction), the bright Be Merry, or retro Hope, Joy and Love cards. Order Stacey Claire Boyd through our friends at Alex and Sam and a percentage of your purchase will go to charity...tis' the season! When checking out of Alex and Sam get 30% off your stationary with coupon code: Pooka

I have the holiday season for many reasons, but one of my favorite parts is receiving adorable photo cards from friends and family and covering our fridge in them! Already got your cards? Let us know what design you picked in the comment section so we can check them out!