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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.

Flamingo Party Hats with Sprout by HP

Moving is so so very hard (to be clear, I’m totally whining). And at least I get why we’re moving and got to actually make that decision. As far as the kids go, we’ve lived in this apartment since Aiden was 3 months old and Mia’s been here her whole life so it’s a HUGE adjustment. But I am determined to make it as fun and exciting as I can because I have this vision of me being a fun mom who makes life magical and sometimes I like to deliver on that. So I did the only natural thing and made “moving party” hats (in a flamingo pattern, obviously) using my HP Sprout.

Sprout by HP

I had scanned two flamingo candles using the HP Sprout Workspace earlier, so I put one flamingo right side up and the other upside down and then copied and pasted it into a pattern. Then I saved it in Photoshop as a pattern and used it to fill the party hat template  from Oh Happy Day.flamingo pattern wallpaper 600

flamingo party hat templatesHere’s the template with the flamingo pattern filled in.

I’ve packed most of my supplies already so instead of elastic I had to pin it to their hair but Mia was literally shouting “FLAMIIIINGOS!” I’ve trained her so well.  Aiden was like “um, I wanted dragons mom, why did you have to make flamingos?” but then he followed it up with, “I’ll just do it myself” (P.S. he totally can, the Sprout is super intuitive for kids and he thinks everything is a touch screen anyway)

DIY printable flamingo party hatsYou know what’s super awesome? My confetti and flamingo candles were already packed but I had the images saved from scanning them earlier so I was able to make a graphic just like I would if I was photographing them. Win.

What would you create with the Sprout by HP? I’ve been randomly scanning in cool fabrics as I notice them and the cloud storage is amazing so I’m not worried about not having enough “space” which is actually a huge deal for me as a serial photographer and screenshot-er

Gilit Cooper New Signature

* This post was sponsored by HP. All opinions expressed are entirely my own. This is legit awesome #SproutbyHP #CIY *

How to Keep Moving with the Jawbone UP MOVE

Fitting in exercise can be so hard. Even half an hour a day. Do you wake up early and do it then? I’m so tired in the morning and once I’m up, there’s so much work to do. What about at night? Bwahahaha by the time the kids are in bed, the last thing I want to do is exercise. Plus if I’m being honest, I do a lot of computer work at night.

Back to honesty, I used to wake up early and go for a run around my neighborhood and I hardcore miss it. It was hard to wake up early at first, but then I started to look forward to it and my whole day was better. I do amazing thinking while I run. I love how it feels to push my body like that. Unfortunately for the past few years (by which I mean almost a decade now), any sort of running and it’s a guaranteed migraine. So I’ve felt stuck.

How to keep moving while you work with the  Jawbone UP MOVE

The week after I published my post about the Jawbone UP MOVE I got quite a few texts and messages “Does it really work? Do you really like it? Is it worth it?” Here’s my answer: For me, it’s a resounding yes.

I haven’t figured out how to exercise without getting sick. With the UP MOVE I’m so easily motivated to walk thousands of steps a day, move more, drink more water etc. Small enough that I don’t get a migraine, big enough that I am feeling better.

How to keep moving while you work with the  Jawbone UP MOVE

It’s that it’s being counted. When I didn’t know how many steps I was taking, I felt like I wasn’t doing anything and when I did anything I would get sick so I just sort of gave up. But it COUNTS. That’s a big deal. Walking to the post office, doing some errands, and walking back home can be a thousand steps. My eventual goal is ten thousand steps a day. Right now I’m at 6,000 and I’m reaching it. That’s so satisfying and these little wins help me move toward larger wins, which is ultimately a healthier lifestyle.

How to keep moving while you work with the  Jawbone UP MOVE

 

All I have to do is wear the wristband (which obviously I chose in a bright yellow) and sync it to the app on my phone. I lost the UP MOVE last week before Alt Summit and I was devastated. Would I still move around? Would it count? So here’s the thing: I was still so much more aware of movement. And being aware of it made me want to do more, even a little, whenever I could. So that’s great but I was really missing the counting. I also really like that it counts my sleep and motivates me to go to bed earlier because I love winning (aka achieving goals) and I set my sleep goal for 8 hours a night.

How to keep moving while you work with the  Jawbone UP MOVE

 

So I ordered myself a new one. And I’m so happy I did. You can set up “teammates” on the app and choose what updates they see and you can cheer each other on and as a social person, someone who needs accountability, and someone who loves helping others, it’s really kind of perfect. I like my UP MOVE smiley faces when I achieve my goals :)

Would  that make a difference to you? Having all of your exercise counted somehow?

XO,

Gilit Cooper New Signature

* This post was sponsored by Jawbone. All opinions expressed are entirely my own. This is legit helping me move and changing my mindframe. I bought my own replacement Jawbone UP MOVE because I love it that much*

Bringing Color into the Office

I’ve mentioned working from home several times on the blog and that’s because it can feel so all-encompassing. Especially because my workspace is in our bedroom. There’s the delicate balance between my desire to make my office full of color and keep our bedroom calm. Pink Moroccan Ottoman for the office (Pop of Color with Wayfair)

This gorgeous soft papaya colored Moroccan Ottoman from Wayfair strikes that balance. It brings color in (and the most comfortable place to lean my feet while I work on the computer) but it plays well with our wood floor and jute rug. These textures play so well together, I can just stare at the combo.

Pink Moroccan Ottoman for the office (Pop of Color with Wayfair)

I love a piece that’s functional and pretty. And if it can also be pink, well then I’ve won.

Pink Moroccan Ottoman for the office (Pop of Color with Wayfair)How do you feel about color in your office? What about your bedroom? Are you more of a neutral bedroom kind of gal or do you love color?

XO,

Gilit Cooper New Signature

*This post was sponsored by Wayfair. I love my ottoman hardcore (aka all opinions expressed are entirely my own)*

 

One Step at a Time with Jawbone

Nervous, vulnerable, and worried are all the things I’m feeling when I open my Jawbone UP MOVE box. Fitness and weight are very sensitive topics for me. I was really underweight as a kid, evened out as a teenager (also, hi boobs!) and then in the past seven years my weight has ballooned. It’s an awful feeling. And I have such a complicated relationship with food, that to diet or “deprive” myself of it on purpose just makes me full on panic. Seriously, I cry. I’m scared of being hungry.

Let’s say we change the word diet from meaning to deprive oneself to a lifestyle change. I like eating well, I feel lighter, better and refreshed. But I hate prepping my own food. Taking the time out of my very busy day to make myself food? There is little I want to do less. I don’t like thinking about it, I don’t like prepping it, and I don’t like making it.

There’s exercise. I’m actually like exercising. I love how it feels to move and push my body. I was really active as a kid and teenager, being on the sports teams, running in the morning, dancing all the time in my room. Now, if I push myself at all (which I always do because I am always in competition with myself) I get a migraine. And then I get really discouraged because if I’m only exercising a little, what does that do? It’s better than nothing I know, but I’m not a “better than nothing” person. And again, I have to stop and make time for it among the billions of other things I have to stop and make time for. With the husband, two kids, family, friends, The Bannerie, and the blog. That’s HARD! It sounds like a lot of excuses, but yhat is my personal very hard thing to do.

Jawbone Up Move

Back to now. I opened the box, set up the Jawbone UP MOVE with the app you can download on your phone and it was almost ridiculous. Instead of walking back from the kitchen, where I opened the box, to my bedroom/office, I ran. And instead of standing still while cleaning things up, I jogged in place. Nothing too intense, nothing that would give me a migraine. And these are just tiny moments of barely exercising but because the Jawbone counts every step, I felt like I had done something. And that immediate gratification inspired me to do more.

I took a few minutes and ate a better lunch. First of all, stopping to eat lunch is something I struggle with because I always know there’s more to do with the business/blog/family. But because I had taken care of myself in such a small way, it was just an easier decision.

I wear my UP MOVE on the wristband (I chose bright yellow) and if you press it, it lights up as far as you’ve gone towards your daily goal (I’m starting with 6,000 daily steps) and if you want more detail about your steps or sleep, just check your phone. The Jawbone makes it easy and that is exactly what I need.

jawbone_up_move_phone_watch

I’m excited for what this can mean. Maybe not a whole lot of weight loss, but taking care of myself. And I’m nervous. What if I don’t follow through? What if it turns into nothing and I don’t even feel a difference? I’m not a quitter except for when it comes to taking care of myself so blogging about this keeps me accountable and I am grateful for that. I like parameters, deadlines, and sharing.

Update: I’ve had the UP MOVE for a few weeks now and I’m still keeping at it! Because every step is counted and logged, it makes every bit feel like something. And when I’ve achieved something it makes it easier to reach for more. And the Smart Coach always recognizes when you’ve reached goals or had little victories and it’s like having a personal cheerleader with no judgment, just encouragement and tips. I like where this is going.

What about you? Do you have a fitness story? What have your experiences been like? Is there something that helps you move? I’d love to hear about it!

Gilit Cooper New Signature

* This post was sponsored by Jawbone. All opinions expressed are entirely my own. This is legit helping me move and changing my mindframe*

Unicorn Typography Download with Sprout by HP

As a small business owner, I am constantly trying to streamline and make things more efficient. The most time consuming thing (other than actually putting banners together by hand) is taking all the photos and moving props around, trying to get the lighting right at the right time of day etc. It can be a nightmare if it’s a week of bad lighting.

Game changer? The HP Sprout. It’s insanely cool.

Sprout by HP- The Bannerie Workspace

I consider myself a really tactile person, but I’m on the computer a lot for the blog and business so the HP Sprout really lets you bring the technological and tactile world together in a way that’s conducive for creativity.

One of my favorite features is the Sprout Workspace. I cannot stop scanning things, seriously anytime something catches my eye I’m like “I must scan this now so I can play with it on the Sprout!” and fall over myself going back to the computer because I’m so excited. And it’s so hi-res which is of course, a MUST for bloggers and business owners.
hp_sprout_confetti_workspace

It saves me a ridiculous amount of time because it automatically clips the image without a background and makes putting images together in different ways really easy (my four year old LOVES it and got the hang of it in under a minute: drag and drop)

sprout_hp_resizing

I played around with some of my favorite confetti from The Confetti Bar (soon to be available at the Bannerie!), scanning it in, resizing and moving the letters around and made a free download for you.
be a unicorn

Exercising your creativity is being a unicorn, so I thought it was the perfect download for the Sprout. For full size image click here

 

Enjoy!

Gilit Cooper New Signature

 

* This post was sponsored by HP. All opinions expressed are entirely my own. This is legit awesome #SproutbyHP #CIY *

Art Prints for the Office

Working from home has a lot of advantages and disadvantages. One of the disadvantages of working from home in a two bedroom apartment is that I’m really limited in space. I’ve set up my office in our bedroom which means that anything I put up isn’t just in my office, it’s in our bedroom. My husband is ridiculously tolerant of all the pink and confetti, but I try to tone it down a little bit while still keeping it my happy place.

The Bannerie workspace

There’s this one wall between the windows and the doors to our porch that isn’t large enough to use as storage but is riiiiight there when I work. I NEED my work place to be pretty and inspiring or I will go completely stir-crazy at home. I’ve been looking for that perfect art print that strikes the balance between girly and fab but still bedroom-that-I-share-with-my-husband appropriate.

And the thing is that I love art. I LOVE ART. And we have a ridiculous amount of art prints, because I hate limiting myself to just a few pieces. So I need your help. Because even just narrowing it down for this roundup was painful- I WANT ALL THE ART!

Art for the Office // the Bannerie

 Ha-Ha-Ha-Ha by Kate Roebuck // Flowers by Alexandra Dzh // Pink India Swim by Lady Noble // Do What You Love by Kelly Nasuta // Lookin’ Good by Amy Schwager // Pining for Pineapple by Joni Tyrrell 

I am especially torn for this space because I love color and am invigorated when surrounded by it, but sometimes when I work I need designated white space and/or simplicity to let my mind (and eyes) rest. What do you guys think? You can see the vast and really well curated Minted art collection here.

Vote for your favorite in the comments!

XO,

Gilit Cooper New Signature

*This post is sponsored by Minted, but all opinions are my own and I genuinely love and want all the art I posted. ALL OF IT.*

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