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Holiday Gift Guide for Kids

We like to be selective about what toys we bring into our home. And I’m not saying everything is beautiful, wooden, or antique (I gave up on that five years ago when I realized our 6 month old didn’t have all the same values I did. Total shocker.) But when we get a toy for our kids, we want it to be something that  1- occupies them in a safe manner 2-fosters creativity and/or independence. I’ve put together a roundup of some of my favorite gift ideas for kids this holiday season. Some we have, some we’ve played with at other people’s houses, but they are all things we would bring into our home.

Holiday Gift Guide for Kids 2015

1- Wooden blocks  Not to be completely obvious but these are classic for a reason. My five and three year old build together nicely for hours every weekend before they realize that they forgot to fight.
 Lincoln logs  Another classic, it’s also another way to think about building and putting things together and these things last for decades.

2- Marble mania  I can see my son going absolutely crazy for this. Although I asked him if he wanted to be a toy engineer and he tiredly replied “but then I’d have to save the world every day…AND build things… AND figure everything out.”

3- Kid-Sized table  I really love kid-sized things because it really empowers them. The kids know where the art supplies are and can just grab them and sit down at the table. And they do. Which means I get to collapse for a few minutes before the nighttime circus routine begins.

4- Play tent  I love tents for kids! It’s this small enclosed, private space just for them and it’s so magical. Yes, we build blanket forts on the regular but those have to come down at some point. Plus think of all the toys you could toss in there to hide when guests come over.

5- Play kitchen This is the play kitchen we got for Mia last year and not only I am completely jealous because obviously I want a pink kitchen of my own, but the girl has not stopped playing with it. It’s also fabulous as storage. Always a bonus because in our house, toys are like glitter. Or bunnies. Whatever, they’re everywhere unless they have a specific place to go.

6- Dress up  I firmly believe that every kid can benefit from dress up. They’re at a stage when they are unselfconscious and can let their imaginations run wild, nothing as ridiculous as responsibility or real life to get in their way. I save old scarves and jewelry for such things, but sometimes you really need the fake beard.

7- Rocking horse  Someone gifted this to Mia when she was born and at three years old she’s still completely enchanted with it. Extra points for durability, but may I suggest removing the batteries before you hand this over to your little one? You’ll understand within minutes.

8- Dollhouse  Don’t tell Mia, but she’s getting a dollhouse this year! She’s hinted enough, dropping like a hot potato the second she sees one and screaming bloody murder when she has to stop.

9- Globe To this day I am so ashamed at how little geography I know and I’m determined my kids never know that shame. It is shameful. AVOID THE SHAME!

10- Workshop We finally have a garage where my husband can go and build me ALL THE THINGS (right, babe?) and I think it would be the ultimate adorable bonding experience to have the kids work by his side (while I stare lovingly and supportively from the warm house)

You can see more gifts for kids at hayneedle.com

What are your favorite kid’s holiday gifts? Anything you got as a kid you really want your kids to have also? Or you’re determined they should never get because you know all the trouble you created with yours?


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This post was sponsored by hayneedle.com All ideas and opinions are mine. Especially that shameful geography one.

Mia’s Toddler Room

My tool-toting tutu-wearing toddler has become a kitty, princess, and mermaid obsessed little girl. All of a sudden she loves everything pink and whimsical…where does she get that from? It’s a mystery we may never solve.

Up until now she was sharing a room with her big brother so working with the Land of Nod to make her new toddler room is a total dream come true and allowing some input from Mia (she is 2 after all and has the attention span of a gnat) this is what we came up with:

Mia's pink blue and yellow/gold toddler room

The Land of Nod Laura Blythman Mountains Poster Decal, Studio Mucci fringe tassel garland, The Land of Nod campaign nightstand, IKEA bed, Hello Tosha print, The Land of Nod Ashley Goldberg bedding, The Land of Nod clip lamp, Britt Castellano pillow, Overstock plastic molded rocker, Anthropologie letter (similar), One Eyed Dog ombre arrow hook (no longer sold) Wayfair pink leather ottoman.

We’ll probably also use some of what we had on the wall in our old apartment. We’re definitely getting there and I can’t wait to finish and share the reveal!

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Big Girl Room Roundup

You guys clearly love the room roundups and I love giving the people what they want (plus I love dreaming about decorating Mia’s future room), so here’s a roundup of more big girl rooms!

Big Girl Room Roundup

Top Row: In the Fun Lane, Wren’s Room, Young House Love, Clara’s Room, Design Sponge, Marlowe’s Bedroom


Second Row: Me Oh My Blog, Presley’s Big Girl Room, The Handmade Home, Fall Decor

_MG_9588 day_bed_handmade

Third Row: Charlotte Love, Goodhomes Magazine July 2013, Design Stiles, Leighton’s Big Girl Room, Sarah Stacey Design, Spanish Oaks

GOODHOMES JULY2013 L_bedroomSarah-Stacey-Interior-Design-Interior-Designers-Austin-Bohemian-Bedroom-and-Playroom

Bottom Row: Pillow Thought, Lexi’s Room, The Short and the Sweet of it, Mila’s Room

pillow thought-lexi's room Mila's Room Daybed


Man do I love these rooms, they’re all multi-dimensional and can easily transition from toddler to teen. Honestly, I could be so happy living in some of these rooms. Which one’s your fave? 


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IKEA Soft Toys for Education Campaign

My four year old son is extremely smart (I know that’s a thing that people say so let me just reassure you that I speak the truth), but with that has come a lot of struggles.

It had gotten to the point where I was breaking down in public because I did not feel that I could handle it anymore, this constant onslaught of screaming and crying and never knowing what would trigger it. We were walking around incredibly tense, constantly stressed and found ourselves holding our breath all the time. People often didn’t understand because hearing about it and seeing it are completely different things (as is seeing it and living with it) and I think as most parents know, being invalidated about how you see your kid is one of the most frustrating experiences.

This year he started pre-K and his teacher has changed our world. Our entire family has felt the shift that we feel is at least in part due to her extraordinary influence and understanding. She is so warm, so loving, and most importantly, she really sees him. She respects him as a person, as an individual and it shows in how she treats him and his very lucky classmates.

He’s like a different kid now with all the good stuff (funny, smart, thoughtful, goofy, cuddly) and a lot less of the hard stuff. I used to be nervous to go anywhere with him and now I love going places with him! Our Friday errand trips together are possibly my favorite time of week when we get to spend one-on-one time and where it used to be depleting it is now such a joy. He’s still a typical four year old, fighting for independence and pushing boundaries and only wearing clothes he chooses, but I can handle that :)

So in a very personal way as a mom (AND an avid IKEA shopper), I very much believe in the IKEA Soft Toys for Education Campaign.

Soft Toy Image (Why) 2015_2

Education transforms lives in ways much more dramatic and impactful than it’s been for us (and that is not in any way to downplay how important is has been for our family). The benefits and history of the IKEA Soft Toys for Education Campaign are really mind-blowing.

For instance, in Mozambique, thanks to the IKEA Foundation’s contribution of Soft Toys for Education campaign funds, 55,000 children in 88 schools were reached with the five components of the Child-Friendly Schools approach: education; protection; water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH), health and social mobilization. Children in these schools also received physical education and were trained in important life skills (HIV awareness, awareness on gender issues, and preventing violence and sexual abuse).

Soft Toy Image (Why) 2015_1

Education is the most impactful way to help children escape poverty. It has a direct impact on well-being, from better health to increased opportunities. It gives children knowledge skills and confidence they need to shape a better future for themselves.

For every soft toy and children’s book sold between November 9, 2014 and January 3, 2015, the IKEA Foundation will donate $1.00 to children’s education through UNICEF and Save the Children.

Soft Toy Image (Why) 2015_3

How has education impacted your life? Do you have a teacher that holds a special place in your heart? I’d love to hear your stories in the comments.


I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

Holiday Gift Guide for Kids

Though I have been collecting images and links for two months I have completely dropped the ball on getting it together for a post! HOWEVER, I was so honored to have the Bannerie be a part of several gift guides this year! I will share them as they come out :)

This E-Magazine Gift Guide is such a cool one. Basically, the Gift Guide is formatted so you can hover over the page or product and a link button will appear which will take you to the individual shops! Easy as pie… ba dum bum!

The Gift Guide features all small businesses with tons of great gifts for kids so get clicking! (And if you’re feeling lucky, there will be an amazing giveaway on Instagram this Friday)

Holiday Gift Guide for Kids

Have a great weekend!

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Ivy’s Gold Pink and Mint Toddler Room

I came across Bryana on Instagram and was struck by the gorgeous photos of her family, home, and everyday life. She is an incredibly talented photographer and should probably start taking on design clients because her home is beeyoootiful! There is more of her home to come, but here are photos of her daughter Ivy’s room:

Ivy's Pink, Gold, and Mint Room

“I was so excited when I found out I was having a girl. Her older brother is so much fun and because his personality is strong and bold I decorated his room to match that persona. (Stay tuned for that blog post soon!). But when it came to my sweet baby Ivy, I wanted her room to reflect her soft and sweet personality.”

Ivy's Pink, Gold, and Mint Room Ivy's Pink, Gold, and Mint Room Ivy's Pink, Gold, and Mint Room Ivy's Pink, Gold, and Mint RoomIvy's Pink, Gold, and Mint Room

“The colors I chose were this peachy pink, mint, white, and gold.  Her bedroom walls are painted with Muffin Mix by Behr or as I call it, “a breath of pink”. I love the idea of a simple and clean look but instead of just keeping white walls, this light color added a sweet, airy, and girly feel to the room.”

View More: http://bryanalikesphotography.pass.us/ivys-room Ivy's Pink, Gold, and Mint Room Ivy's Pink, Gold, and Mint Room Ivy's Pink, Gold, and Mint Room Ivy's Pink, Gold, and Mint Room

“Because my little girl is not even a year old, I am continually adding age appropriate things to her room and the newest addition was this chest that has been in my family for years. I think our next purchase will be a rocking horse or a new dolly. We’ll see :)”

Ivy's Pink, Gold, and Mint Room Ivy's Pink, Gold, and Mint Room Ivy's Pink, Gold, and Mint Room Ivy's Pink, Gold, and Mint Room

“Raising a little lady is so much fun! I love having this special space just for her.”

Ivy's Pink, Gold, and Mint Room Ivy's Pink, Gold, and Mint Room Ivy's Pink, Gold, and Mint Room


Look at that cutie!! Thank you so much for sharing Bryana! Don’t these photos make you want to book her ASAP? If she’s ever in New York, don’t bother trying to get her because I will be monopolizing her time… fine I’ll share but only because I’m feeling magnanimous.

Obviously, the first thing I love is those gold polka dots. I mean…right? And I love all the mint touches which really add another dimension. That garland is beautiful and I love the other handmade and vintage touches and how cute are the H&M cake stands she uses to store hair accessories? I have the same things holding my jewelry but kinda want to give them to Mia now…

If you want to see more of Bryana’s work check out her website.

What was your favorite part? If you have a beautiful room, party, or project to share please e-mail me at shoesoffpls@gmail.com. High-resolution photos only please! 


Room Tour: Black and White Shared Kids Room

Bri is the gorgeous, talented nursery designer and mom behind this shared room and the blog Emerson Grey Designs. I’m especially excited to have her on Shoes Off Please because I have gotten to know her a little bit through her blog and Instagram and am a really big fan. Here’s the chic shared room she put together for her son and daughter:

Emerson Grey Designs, Black and White Shared Boy and Girl Room


It all started with this mood board:

Emerson Grey Designs, Black and White Shared Boy and Girl Room Mood Board

“My style is very simple, I love black and white with pops of color, so this is what I created for my kids room.  They share a room so I tried to have some symmetry while also being sensitive to the fact that it is a boy and a girl in this room.”

Emerson Grey Designs, Black and White Shared Boy and Girl RoomEmerson Grey Designs, Black and White Shared Boy and Girl Room bunkbeds2 Emerson Grey Designs, Black and White Shared Boy and Girl Room Emerson Grey Designs, Black and White Shared Boy and Girl Room Emerson Grey Designs, Black and White Shared Boy and Girl Room “They play in this room, they sleep in this room and they get creative while drawing on the chalkboard wall.”

Emerson Grey Designs, Black and White Shared Boy and Girl Room Emerson Grey Designs, Black and White Shared Boy and Girl Room Emerson Grey Designs, Black and White Shared Boy and Girl Room Emerson Grey Designs, Black and White Shared Boy and Girl Room

“I feel that my kids have plenty of areas in this room to enjoy themselves, whether it is reading books in bed, playing with their Ikea kitchen or watching a movie together.”

Emerson Grey Designs, Black and White Shared Boy and Girl Room Emerson Grey Designs, Black and White Shared Boy and Girl RoomEmerson Grey Designs, Black and White Shared Boy and Girl Room Emerson Grey Designs, Black and White Shared Boy and Girl Room Emerson Grey Designs, Black and White Shared Boy and Girl Room Emerson Grey Designs, Black and White Shared Boy and Girl Room

“I hope you enjoy this room as much as my kids do.”

Thank you so much, Bri! Bri is actually in the process of changing the room around and I’ll share the results once she’s done. I’m completely excited because this room rocks my socks so I’m not sure what she’s gonna rock off next.

I absolutely love that it’s a very chic black and white, multi-functional, and that it’s shared by a boy and a girl. If you want to hire her (Bri has impeccable taste, just follow her on Pinterest and see for yourself) check out this page for deets.

What’s your favorite part of the room? And if you hire Bri, I want to hear about it!


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