Friday, April 16, 2010

Fab Find: Shinzi Katoh Bento Boxes

Okay, so I just realized I was majorly scooped on these Shinzi Katoh Bento Boxes when I googled them and found they were one of Cool Mom Picks Picks of the Year for 2009. But then I realized there are probably lots of moms who haven't seen them yet so they were worth sharing again. Plus Shinzi Katoh makes tons of cute things besides bento boxes that you might want to check out too. I first spotted him at Flora and Henri on the UES. They carry his adorable kid sized aluminum drinking bottles. When I got home I checked him out online and discovered his sweetly illustrated bento boxes. But then, lo and behold, I spotted more Shinzi Katoh in the form of darling zipper tote bags at one of my favorite haunts, Olive and Bette's (fab clothing boutique chain for stylish mamas in NYC). Turns out Shinzi Katoh is taking NYC by storm right now, and with good reason. Embracing a Japanese philosophy known as Zakka, Katoh's designs are meant to spruce up the common things in everyday life. Using his skills as a children's book illustrator and artist Katoh has certainly done just that. The boxes come in single or double decker, or with a domed lid referred to as Onigiri, or Rice Ball Box. They are perfectly sized for stashing some snacks or a small lunch for your wee one in your diaper bag. And when they start school you can pack these reusable containers in their lunch box. I'm a big fan of the fairy tale characters, and love the Alice in Wonderland and Snow White bentos. Or how about the apple and pear on the Red and Blue or the Lazzy Farm bento boxes. There are several online shops where you can find Katoh's bentos and other cute patootie objects like lunch bags and children's cutlery. My favorites are Queen Baby Bean, Ollie Bollen, and
Little Bean Shop.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Pimp My Ride: Our New Orbit G2 Toddler Seat

So it has been nearly a month since the big box housing our new Orbit Baby G2 Toddler Seat arrived, and our love for it has grown everyday. See, the nice thing about the Orbit Baby system is that it grows with your child, from the infant car seat to the toddler car seat and separate toddler stroller seat. And the even greater thing is that even when they come out with a whole new system, they design it to integrate with your current setup so you won't have wicked stroller envy. So what, you may be wondering, do I adore about our new toddler seat? The hard question is where do I start? The new seat still has the same patented spin technology that allows you to move it 365 degrees, but now the seat also reclines so your wee one can get sleepy and nap completely horizontally. Pooka has already tested this feature many times. It fact, she seems to fall asleep much more easily then any other stroller she's been in. My next favorite element of the new seat is the amazing sun canopy. It has three positions, and when fully extended it blocks any rays from hitting your wee one. The seat also has a great bumper bar that has an attachable bento box that holds snacks and a sippy cup. We haven't used it too many times yet because Pooka has a tendency to grab entire fistfuls and shove them all in her mouth at the same time. Then she realizes she can't eat so many at one time and spits them all out. So until she has a better mastery of her snack situation I just gaze at the bento box and dream of its usefulness to come. Oh, I also really love the soft fleece snuggler and matching shoulder pads that come with the seat. It's removable when your child grows, but it's still working great for Pooka at 17 lbs. There is also an extendable footrest that grows with your child. And did I mention that all the fabric on the new G2 is Orbit Green Certified, which means all fabric that comes in contact with your child is Oeko-Tex 100 certified to be free of 100 harmful and toxic substances. It's an industry first for strollers and car seats! You can even feel good about the rain cover because it is PVC-free. Another industry first! Finally, the seat now has awesome ventilation thanks to a panel that zips open to reveal mesh that makes the seat nice and breezy. There is nothing worse than peeling your sweaty child out of their seat on a hot summer day! And I nearly forgot, but there is a new color on offer besdies black or absolutely gorgeous Ruby Red (my favorite color)! I went for the Ruby Red seat, which works smashingly with a black cargo pod on the older models. It is a really snazzy set up!

Of course we are using the new G2 seat on our old stroller base, for for those of you who are going to buy the whole system there is a newly designed stroller base. It is a fab powder-coated white so it will be sure to stand out in the stroller world. It also incorporates new foam filled tires (no more pumping them up or changing flat tubes) and a QuadShock system to give your wee one a cloud-like ride. The double cup holder has changed to a single cup holder designed to accommodate more drink sizes and also gives a place for keys, lip gloss or even your phone. The cargo pod is also more user-friendly with inside pockets and a better shoulder strap. And as with the older version, the fold is beyond amazing, and the stroller takes up much less room in your car than pretty much all of its competitors.

I also added the Panniers to my Orbit Baby and wish I had them from day 1! Now I can do a full trip to Whole Foods and between the Panniers and Cargo Pod I don't even have to hang a bag from the handles. They are brilliant! Oh, and people ask me about those all the time too. And while I don't have it yet, I plan to order the Green Edition Foot Muff for next winter. I was so jealous this winter when all the other strollers had their made to fit foot muffs and I was struggling with a bulky 7 Am Enfant Evolution. To read more about the Orbit Baby system see this previous post. For us it's been a love affair from the start, and the romance keeps get better and better!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Luxe Life: Rebecca Minkoff's Zipper Baby Bag

Some of you may be familiar with Rebecca Minkoff's ubiquitous Morning After Bag (MAB). It's her best selling style and is designed to go to work, then play, and then get you back to work the next morning even if you never made it home. For most of us those days are over and our bag needs have shifted dramatically, although we are probably still suffering from the same lack of sleep. The next logical step in the Rebecca Minkoff line is a diaper bag version of the the MAB aptly named the Knocked Up. With the similar stylings to the MAB, the Knocked Up comes with a wipeable canvas coated lining, stroller straps, a changing pad, and plenty of pockets. I picked one up in Salmon last fall at a sample sale and it never fails to elicit envy amongst moms an non-moms alike. It is released each season in a different palate of colors. They seem to be sold out for this season, but you can still find them at various online boutiques, and they will likely be offered again in the fall. Also new for this season is the Zipper Baby Bag, which is definitely the punk-rock little sister of the grown-up Knocked Up. Like the Knocked Up, the Zipper Baby Bag is not obviously a diaper bag. With its bright red leopard coated canvas, turquoise leather trim, and zig-zagging zippers its flirty and fun for summer. Packed with the same features as the Knocked Up you will not be wanting in function or organization, but I can guarantee that you'll have the most interesting diaper bag in your play group! And while you're visiting the Rebecca Minkoff website you might want to grab a bag for date night or afternoon sangria's with the girls on those days when you have a sitter. Check out the cross body stylings of the Beloved Mini in Moss or the Mini Rikki in Turquoise for the spring season. Heck, considering they are meant to be worn cross body you could wear them while pushing the stroller and leave your diaper bag hanging from the handles. Need something with a bit more space? Then grab a Neon Nikki with it's vibrant neon pink trim. Its frisky, fun, and easy to wear! So wether you are worried about being organized for the kids or looking chic when you head out on the town Rebecca's got you covered!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Fab Find: Sarah + Abraham

So as you probably read in my previous post there are tons of options for choosing a birthday invitation. It was really hard to pick the perfect one for Pooka's first birthday. I didn't want anything too girlie, and anything cartoon or super hero related was totally out for me. So what did I choose? You might be surprised to hear it wasn't one of the many that I highlighted. I ended up choosing a simple but lovely silhouette style invitation from Sarah + Abraham. I first found them on Etsy when I was looking for mommy/business cards for the Life With Pooka. Sarah + Abraham designs custom stationary with a vintage feel and modern lines. You can choose from dozens of silhouettes to represent your family, a vibrant pallet of colors, and several fonts so your stationary, invitations, birth announcements or business cards represent your personal style. They did a fabulous job on my business cards and thank you notes for Life With Pooka, and I love our Birthday Invitations. We went with a Scallop Bordered Silhouette Invitation using the "Ella with Balloon" silhouette with a yellow border and lake blue background. The colors are a bit on the boyish side, but the darling little girl silhouette balances it out. Other favorite invitation choices include the Kids at Play and Garden Party invites. For older children I love the Olliegraphic invitations, where you can choose the hair style, hair color, eye color, and skin tone. I particularly like the Kid in Space and Circus invitations.

While visiting Sarah + Abraham's website, be sure not to miss the Personalized Art Prints that would be sure to give classic style to any nursery it adorns. They also do stickers for everything from address labels to favor tags and fab notepads that are perfect for stashing notes in your little ones lunch box or leaving instructions for the sitter. I'm a huge fan of the whimsical new Spring Notepads! Finally, Sarah + Abraham does adorable personalized water bottles with Olliegraphic designs (just be aware that the bottles are aluminum rather than stainless steel). I can't wait until I have another occasion that will call for a an order to Sarah + Abraham.