Archives for category: Toys and Stuff

Yesterday I got caught head-banging to “Cruel Summer” at a red light by a Hollywood hipster – if there is such a thing. Bananarama was my first CD  so I was overly excited. My eldest daughter has been begging us for violin lessons while my wild middle child has been repeatedly asking for – yes – a drum set. At their cousin’s house today they discovered an “electric” guitar that prompted a six kid rock band performance. Music can really transform a group! Or a single person, as exhibited on Little Santa Monica. For now, my tiny Fresh Beats will have to settle on this Mexican-looking Vilac ukulele that they can learn how to play sans lessons. And no batteries required.

vilac guitar

Every now and then I find something that inspires me to get crafty. Not crafty in a Martha way but crafty in a well-within-my-own boundaries way. One of cool the things this Torafu make-your-own stamp set can create is a great-looking graphic wrapping paper. And I do love a DIY wrapping paper (see my post from last year on Ouef’s printable faces.) It’s gifting 2.0 and it’s just in time for those who are starting to think about the holidays.  I just make sure that whatever’s inside comes assembled.

torafu stamps

Last night I went to my friend Emily Liebert’s book signing for her new novel, You Knew Me When, and I couldn’t have felt prouder. It’s special to watch a friend of 25 years finally reach her career goal – especially while juggling two young kids. During her discussion, not only did she reveal that her second book is already written but that the main character is based on her “old friend Zoe, who is in the audience.” Pause for effect. Yup, it’s pretty much the most exciting thing that’s ever happened to me. I look forward to September 2014 when I can read about “Allison” who just might be a total byatch – I don’t know. But unlike Emily, I have zero imagination so these Djeco magic books – complete with single tricks tucked inside a Olympia Le Tan looking box – are more my jam. I’ll even sign one for you in my terrible handwriting.

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I’ve always considered myself a creative person: I write voraciously, love to experiment in the kitchen and create something visual nearly everyday. And doesn’t high school Advanced Placement Studio Art count for something? Okay fine. But hand me a needle and thread and I will ask for the nearest tailor. Give me a DIY project and I will pawn it off to the craftiest person around. In terms of my kids, I enjoy being a hypocrite in this department. I like to emphasize the importance of making something for a friend when it’s his or her birthday, whether it’s a simple picture or a more elaborate collage. My eldest daughter is just old enough to get into this Donna Wilson “Make Something” kit – and would most likely create something great looking enough to serve as the gift itself. And me? I will happily watch on the sidelines.
make something with me donna wilson

Every now and then you find a book that starts (what seems to be) an endless dialogue with your children. This clever, poignant story serves that purpose in our house. My eldest daughter was lucky enough to have Kathryn Otoshi visit her Kindergarten class and excitedly reported back that indeed, the author has “made the cover to her third book.”  We anxiously anticipate the topic that will be revealed in Two, as Zero and One speak about lessons every child should learn in his or her early years. Thank you, Kathryn, for this simple but extremely empowering message. To quote you: “All it takes is one.”One

It’s been a while – so hi. I’ve been working on a passion project of mine, a television pilot about – don’t be shocked: parenting. As you might have suspected, it wasn’t written for network, so there were plenty of f-bombs dropped. I still can’t seem to get it together in the lady-like department. These animal balloon kits represent how I currently feel after completing an exhaustive writing project: like there’s nothing fucking left upstairs. Surely now I’ll have time for more mindless activities – though I can’t imagine getting carried away for too long. air heads animal balloons a plus r

We took the girls down to Laguna Beach for a long weekend of surf and sand. And while we had a few middle-child meltdowns, the black-out shades that created sleep-induced comas, spontaneous “midnight swimming,” and unexpected princess pool toys made it a very fun get-away. But if you ask my eldest what her favorite moment was, she’ll vote for her first ever s’mores, courtesy of the hotel – which while lovely – was too resort-y for our taste. Next summer we will be having Brooklyn Slate Co’s “campier” and more gourmet version somewhere a little more quaint. Or maybe we’ll break it out for Labor Day and just find the nearest fire pit.

brooklyn-slate-campfire-kit-2_large

My friend Jewels said when her daughter turned 7 she officially left the “Disney” phase and entered the “ninja geisha” chapter. I was like, Bring It, and I’ll explain why: when I suggested powder blue Linus Junior bikes to my two eldest, they shut it down and went straight for the glitteriest pinkest shit in the store. I mean…there are bigger problems in life, I guess. But then I found these bike stickers from Scotch R’belle, one of my favorite kiddie brands. Slap that hand-drawn skull on the handle and all of a sudden you’ve got yourself one badass cruiser. And there’s even some glitter on it.
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My good friend Kasey just had twin boys. But that’s in addition to her other two boys. Boom! The question still stands: what do you get twins when the family (literally – and I mean literally,) has everything? Answer: I’m still not quite sure but I discovered these all-different baby sets from Estella in New York. They piece a few complimentary items together for one big, bad, beautiful baby gift. Since newbies are well before the age of fighting-over-whatever, it makes sense to get one lovely set for both. And then you can just give the Sophie Giraffe cousin-thing to the dog (oh whatever, you know she already has 7 of those.) Welcome little Lems!
star-onesie-heart-blanket estella

My husband loves to tell me how he used to ride a Vespa in college and I always have the same reaction: Great, you were living in Palo Alto – not University of A Sexy European City. It’s like, the hot factor doesn’t quite translate or something (possibly because half of the world’s nerdiest people are concentrated in Northern California.) But there is something about a mint green Vespa that looks legit – no matter where you’re riding it. Below, a find for the under four set, found at Shak-shuka, which, not to worry, is based in The Netherlands. vespa shak-shuka

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