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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?

xo,

Gilit Cooper New Signature

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

Back to School Party Ideas

back to school partayIt’s time for the little ones to go back to school and I assume some parents are jumping for joy. (Editor’s note: that is very much correct.) Getting back into a routine can be a daunting task, especially for kids, so let’s start it off with a party! There are so many great ideas out there to make it extra special and extra handmade. Here are my favorite party ideas!

B A L L O O N S !
These are like a necessity! No kid will be sad with balloons and they add so much color when thrown around. I love this apple balloon diy! There are also some cute photos you can take to capture moments like this.

P A R T Y  F A V O R S
Yes, please! Send the kids home with some treats and an adorable gift jar full of school supplies! This DIY offers free printables too!

B A C K D R O P S
Every party needs a backdrop or a banner to spruce up the walls. I love this one because it’s simple and totally a congrats moment when you head back to school. It means you graduated Summer, right?

P I N A T A S
I love how pinatas are such a thing now. They are fun to make and you can stuff it with candy,  school supplies, and CONFETTI! These pencil pinatas will do quite nicely.

E D I B L E  P L A C E  C A R D S
They make your guests feel welcomed with a personal touch. Now, edible place cards are on a whole new level of cool.

M I N I  D E S S E R T S
Anything mini is my jam! You can create a dessert for each guest and let them have at it. I saw this mini bundt cake shaped like an apple and i just about squealed.

I wish all those parents (and kids) out there the best of luck!

For more creations, head on over to my blog and check out my instagram!

Alyson

 

What I Keep in My Instagram Prop Box

In case you weren’t aware, Gilit has been sharing some pretty amazing and super helpful Instagram tips, so if you’re not following her Instagram  account (@thebannerie), you need to! Like, right now. (Editor’s note: you see why I love Bethany, right? I don’t force her to shamelessly promote me but she does it anyway.)

Speaking of Instagram, one of my favorite “tools” for when I’m taking flatlays is painter’s tape. So much so, that I keep a roll in my Instagram prop box.

Yes, I keep a box of props for photos that has everything from mini disco balls to washi tape!

Instagram Props

Here are some ideas of things you can keep in yours:

Mini Honeycomb Balls

Mini Honeycomb BallsI like them because they are inexpensive, cute and tiny! You can get a pack of 10 for only $7 from the Oh Happy Day Shop!

Confetti!Confetti

My personal favorite confetti comes from The Confetti Bar. It’s even customizable!

Fun Shaped Candles
Fun Shaped Candles

Chances are you’ve already met Lola the flamingo, but did you know that Lola is a candle?! The Bannerie has them for $10 less than the ones at Nordstrom!

Boss Banners
Boss Banner

You can use The Bannerie’s banners to share phrases like Gilit does. Thanks to her I’m obsessed with punching today in the face.

Personal Items
Personal Items

While I wouldn’t recommend keeping your phone in your prop box (you might need it for Instagram photos and the occasional phone call), I encourage you to think outside of the box! You can always use what you have on hand!

Do you have an Insta prop box? What do you keep in it?

xx,

Bethany

What's in my Instagram prop box

Fruit You Can Wear

While it’s summer, I love to acknowledge it in every way possible and one of my favorite ways is by wearing lots of fruity things! Whether you want to cover yourself in head to toe fruit or just accessorize, this list has you covered:

Fruit you can wear

clockwise: Watermelon Nail Stickers // Pineapple scarf // Watermelon shirt  // Lemon studs // Pineapple shoes // Strawberry shirt // Bananas sequin sweatshirt // Fruit pants // Strawberry clutch // Citrus clutch // Banana skirt // Lemon laptop sleeve // Lemon dress // Pineapple skirt // Fruit shirt

Have you found anything fabulous and fruity lately? Are you as concerned with making summer last as long as possible as I am?

Gilit Cooper New Signature

5 Ways to Hack a Store Bought Cake

I’m no Martha so when I need a cake, I run to the nearest grocery store. It saves me the effort of making a cake myself and costs a heck of a lot less than a gourmet bakery cake, but store bought cakes look kind of …boring. Luckily, there are a bunch of easy ways you can upgrade a basic store bought cake. Here are five of our faves.

1. Wallpaper it: This is so genius and the outcome is so gorgeous, I’m having a hard time containing myself. You can buy a plain white frosted cake and do THIS tutorial via Alana Jones-Mann, a freaking cake genius.

Wallpaper Tropical Print Cake

2. A Cake Topper: Cake toppers are an easy way to really step up your cake game and you can buy it or DIY it. We love this cool looking cake topper from The Roc Shop. (Psst she just came out with the cutest new line full of tropical vibes!)

RAD_cake_topper_the_roc_shop

This is such a good example of how a DIY cake topper can bring your store bought cake to a whole other level. These Mini Mylar Letter Balloons from A Joyful Riot are hands down more effort than buying a topper, but SO very amazing.

yay_mylar_balloon_cake_topper_diy

3. Write your own message: Coco Cake Land shows you how to make simple writing look pretty, even if your handwriting sucks.

your_ad_here_cake

4. Flowers: Sometimes the simplest ideas are really the most genius, replace the frosting flowers with real ones. A Practical Wedding knows the deal.

APW store bought wedding cake hack

5. Cand-ify it: Use gumballs or lollipops to decorate your basic cake in cool patterns. Check out the how-to and other easy store bought cake upgrades on the Minted blog

store bought cake lollipop upgrade

Do you have ideas on how to decorate a plain sheet cake and make it look fabulous? We really like it when you share!

xx,
Bethany

Psst. remember these alternative cake toppers?

DIY Photo Backdrops Perfect for Spring

Aside from the occasional snow flurry here or there, spring is in the air. Spring means more sunlight and that we’ll be seeing tons of flowers and pastel everything, how great is that?!

Why not use all of those things to your advantage? Need a photo booth for your next spring event? (Mother’s Day is just around the corner…) Try one of these spring inspired photo backdrops, because they are perfection!

Spring Backdrops Collage

The obsession with finding creative ways to use fresh flowers is beyond real. So, almost needless to say Green Wedding Shoes nailed it! This flower wall is simple, easy and unbelievably pretty.

DIY_Fresh_Flower_wall_final

If you loved Gilit’s DIY Drop Cloth Rug, then brace yourself. The No-Sew Wedding Backdrop Michelle Edgemont did for A Practical Wedding is great for not only weddings, but so much more!

APWDROPCLOTH-71-780x1172

Fringe is in, and not just when it comes to clothes. The colors, the creativity, Oh Happy Day knows what’s up.

big-fringe-7

I’ve decided that Lovely Indeed has the cutest collection of photo backdrops, this Ombre Tissue Paper one is simply the bee’s knees.

backdrop7

You can use leftover supplies to recreate this Kathryn Godwin for Ruffled Blog Paper Punch Backdrop. How much do you want to just hang it up and leave it there forever? Light and airy, it really sums up the feeling of spring.

paperpunch-backdrop-06XX,

Bethany

Putting Together a Mid-Century Modern Office

If all goes well, we’ll be moving soon (which makes me so sad and excited all at the same time). One of the things I’m most excited about is having my own office! I dream about my ideal workspace pretty often and what I’ve noticed is that there’s often an element of Mid Century Modern in my fave spaces.

Chairish challenged a group of bloggers to create a styleboard displaying a room of our choice, mixing different styles with Mid-Century Modern furniture. Um, yes please! I will of course, be creating an office style board!
MID CENTURY MODERN STYLE MIX with Chairish Co

The clean lines, vivid colors, and teak wood make Mid-Century Modern a particularly good style to mix up and the emphasis on excellent quality means it’s a reliable secondhand purchase, especially if it’s authentic vintage.

I chose the teak desk and Eero Saarinen for Knoll chair because they’re both classic and easy to accessorize. I love the Turkish rug to add interest and some color and added the desk organizer in bright yellow to pick up some of that color. The cheeky Ha Ha print provides a sophisticated dose of humor, the Southwestern basket goes so nicely with the rug, and the pineapple, well pineapples go with everything.

Do you love that Mid-Century Modern has made such a comeback? Do you have any pieces in your home? I love the whole philosophy behind the design (FIT grad here)

XO,

Gilit Cooper New Signature

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