It’s Holiday Card time! I usually try to make my own but this year with the move I realized if I don’t get these out early they just weren’t going to happen. Pear Tree Greetings approached me and asked if I was interested in using their site to design our holiday cards. I love that the Pear Tree Greetings site has so many Holiday Card options – it was difficult to choose just one! In the end, I picked a simple but fun design that would highlight one of my favorite family photos from this summer. The stripes on the back are awesome (although, I also loved the colors on this one and the gold foil on this one.) It only took 10 minutes to customize the cards and they came in the mail a few days later, I was thrilled with result! They look even more beautiful in person. Are you sending out holiday cards this year?
This post is sponsored by Pear Tree Greetings: Photo Cards, Announcements, Invitations and More!
I was excited to work with Zazzle because besides their holiday card selection they have a really cool selection of customizable gifts that are really affordable. I decided to get a head start on my holiday shopping and test out a few custom gift ideas I’ve had in mind. First, I designed a cute tote for my friend that’s perfect for trips to the farmer’s market. Then, I used a few of our favorite photos from our recent trip to Australia to create unique iPhone cases, luggage tags, and mugs for Paul. Designing my own gifts was addicting – it was fun seeing my ideas come to life! I like that I can put anything I want on the items, it would be a great gift for grandparents or kids. Last night I started a Pinterest board to help me keep track of great gift ideas. What’s your favorite thing to give during the holiday season?
Today, I’m really excited to announce my partnership with in Too Small To Fail – a joint initiative between The Clinton Foundation and Next Generation. Their goal is to improve the development of kids in America (you can read all about it here.) Research shows that over 80% of a child’s brain develops before they turn 3 – so it’s important for parents and communities to spend quality time interacting with kids in positive ways. I’ve caught myself sounding like a dork talking to my toddlers because it looks like I’m talking to myself “this is our favorite park and wow! look at that big tree.” But the research shows that talking with your kids and giving them that eye to eye contact is what really helps them develop. I have been wanting to create some habits to make sure I spend more time with my kiddos so I’m setting a few goals on Go Mighty over the next few months. I’ll be sharing my experiences there. I’d love to hear if you have any tips on what kind of activities have helped you spend quality time with the kids in your life. (ie: Volunteer at their preschool, go to the park everyday, read together everyday, play games together, etc) I’d love any ideas.
Photo via my Instagram
A few weeks ago we attended Crafting Community at the Ace Hotel in Palm Springs. It is hard for me to explain how special this event was. After two days of crafting, swimming, and playing, my kids were asking to never leave. The Ace Hotel is great for kids, but the Crafting Community team took it to a whole new level. Every detail of the weekend was executed beautifully, so that we didn’t have to worry about anything except for having more fun. From sunscreen and kids toiletries in our hotel rooms to healthy snacks for the kids nonstop throughout the day, these guys thought of everything. When we first arrived the boys discovered hundreds and hundreds of little Matchbox cars on the sidewalk. They had drawn a giant city out of chalk for the kids to race the cars on. It was little kid heaven! They also had hula hoops and colorful bouncy balls everywhere.
The crafting sessions were the focus of the event and they did not disappoint. The craft room was filled with so many beautiful, colorful supplies. So much thought and work went into each table, it was really impressive. Each project was led by awesome designers like Confetti System, Clare Vivier, and Kid Made Modern. At one point Moses was making a wallet out of duct tape and I realized the guy helping him was the designer Todd Oldham! After crafting we would head over to the pool for a bit and then eat before we would start all over again.
One special element of the event is that it really feels like a community. Each family’s photo is printed in the year book with their names and their family “theme song.” Since the event is over a few days we had a chance to have encounters with several new families and ended up making new friends. I can’t think of a vacation environment that fosters that kind of experience the same way. In the evenings there were lots of activities like Bingo, gourmet ice cream sandwiches, photobooths, button making, nightime movies in the pool, and a desert disco (a giant dance party!) The caliber of the activities and the quality and detail that went into everything was over the top. For example at the dance they played everyone’s family theme songs!
The icing on the cake was the canvas gift totes they gave us when we arrived. This bag didn’t have one thing that wasn’t beautiful or useful. Seriously, I am really picky about what I bring home since my apartment is so small and I brought back everything. Some of the items included: custom coloring and activity book, lots of art supplies from the Kid Made Modern line at Target, a pair of Converse (in each child’s size that they could custom color!), some Naef wooden blocks, a Target gift card, and snacks from Whole Foods.
The whole weekend I kept looking around and thinking, “Yes! Finally someone got it right!” Paul and I kept comparing the trip to a weekend at Disneyland and this was a million times better for parents and kids. We all made new friends, the kids were entertained, delighted and given a chance to do creative activities. The food was excellent, if anyone ever needed a nap we were 2 minutes from our hotel room. And on top of that we all had fun. I cannot vouch for this event enough. In fact I’m already planning on going back next year.
This post is sponsored by Crafting Community: creating immersive design experiences where families can play, grow and be together. But they didn’t ask me to vouch for it. Seriously, it was awesome.
Photos by Paul Ferney
Paul and I have been married for 8 years and with small children we just don’t get out much. I would say for us there are two major obstacles. The first is that childcare can be hard to find and expensive in San Francisco and the second is when we actually find ourselves with a free evening we end up going to the same few restaurants or seeing a movie. We both like going on dates, there is something special about a date where we talk and act differently. We just don’t make a lot of time to do it. So when HowAboutWe approached us about trying out their services for couples, I was very interested. If you haven’t heard of HowAboutWe, they started as an online dating site but have since expanded to include HowAboutWe for Couples – a membership service that gets couples out on tailored dates for 2, they plan the whole thing! It’s super fun to browse all the dates in our area and pick out the ones that sounded interesting. Paul and I love cooking together, so for our first date we thought it would be fun to try something new and take a pickling class (although, a tasting tour of the Ferry Building and trapeze lessons also caught our eye.) A HowAboutWe concierge helped to plan and schedule all the details of the date. The pickling class was really fun. It started at 8pm so we were able to grab dinner nearby beforehand. During the class we learned the basics of pickling and we each brought home two jars of our creations. I’m already looking forward to our next date (a yacht excursion!) If you’re interested in HowAboutWe for Couples, you can sign up for free to browse all of their dates. Plus if you’re a new member, you can get $50 off your first date by clicking here! (Expires 12/31/13.) Having someone take the planning element out of our date was huge and we loved getting out of our dating rut. Thanks HowAboutWe!
This post is sponsored by HowAboutWe for Couples: a service that gets people in relationships on wonderful dates, tailored for two.
Photos by Paul Ferney