Bumblebean Picks: Let’s Get Personal

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Remember I told you that I am a new “expert curator” at the online kids’ boutique Bumblebean?  Bumblebean features a hand-picked selection of the best indie and eco-friendly clothes, décor, toys, and books for your kiddos.  ”Expert curators” like yours truly create shopping collections by theme to make shopping easy for you.  And there’s free shipping to boot.

One of my favorite collections I’ve curated recently is “Let’s Get Personal, which includes these gifts:

Classic Baby Block ($35, arrives in gift box)

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Baby Jax Personalized Stroller Blanket ($58, also available in blue)

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Name Puzzle Stool in Primary Colors ($74, includes free gift wrapping)

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My Very Happy Birthday Personalized Book ($32.95, girls’ version available, too)

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Shop from this and my other collections at Bumblebean.

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Flashback Friday: PB Teen Store Opening in NYC

Editor’s Note:  This post was first published in March 2009.

I had the pleasure of previewing the new 1600 sq ft PB Teen store at 1451 Second Avenue (76th St.) in New York yesterday. I even got to bring R. along who was quite taken with the “teen” looks considering she is only five (her favorite item: this “Furlicious” Beanbag). The new store looks terrific and is ready for its celebratory opening at 10am sharp on Saturday, March 21st. The first 100 people to walk in will receive a cool backpack as a gift, and will have the chance to win a $1,000 room makeover. Don’t miss it!

Here are some of shots from inside the store:

Girls’ Blue Bubble Bedding, Girls’ Soccer Decal, and Beadboard Collection Super Bed Set. The Bubble bedding set is one of their top-sellers, and the modular bed/shelving “superset” is a very smart space-saver (lots more storage under and around the bed, too):

Boys’ Henley Stripe Quilt & Sham, Ultimate Dresser Storage Bed Set, and Rush the Field wall mural. This bed/shelving unit is another smart choice for smaller spaces:

Tropical totes. Aren’t these pretty? Pop a changing pad inside and you can use it as a diaper bag:

Skateboard Shelves. I love these shelves for a boys’ room:

Bubble Dot Mirror Set and Bubble Dot Decals. I featured these mirrors here at the blog once before; I really like them paired with the removable decals, too. Also check out the “Crinkle Puff” monogram pillow- another favorite.

Lots of the above items happen to be on sale right now; check out the Spring Sweet Steals (including affordable gifts for ‘tweens and teens) at PB Teen.

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Stationery Spotlight: Ecka & Pecka

My favorite trade show of the year, the National Stationery Show is about 7 weeks away and I am so excited.  And I realize I never even finished showing you all of my finds from last year’s show (though if you want a recap of what I’ve already shared, check out 2013′s top debut exhibitors, kids’ stationery products, and trends).

Another card designer I wanted to show you is Ecka & Pecka, which makes very funny, tongue-in-cheek cards that especially appear to Gen X-ers like me:

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You can find a nice selection of Ecka & Pecka cards at Cardstore.com.

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Duchesses…They’re Just Like Us

prince-george-baby-gapDid you hear that the Duchess of Cambridge was spotted earlier this week ducking into a London branch of Baby Gap to buy Prince George some outfits for their upcoming Australian tour? According to the UK’s Daily Mail, she bought him this Contrast-Trim Stripe Footed One Piece ($24.95) and some other items, all in a quick 20 minute trip (including standing in line with everyone else to pay by credit card).  If you want to read what else she bought for little George (and herself!), click here.

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Bargain Alert: Dressy Clothing at Gymboree

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Gymboree is having great deals on dressy clothing right now–up to 60% off some outfits (even new arrivals).  I am eyeing this Shiny Bow Dress (with coordinating Shrug Sweater) for R. since she loved Gymboree’s similar silver taffeta dress so much last Fall. The pink dress shown above is on sale now for just $28.98 (regularly $56.95); browse this and other lovely fancy Spring clothing for boys and girls at Gymboree.

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10 Favorite Things about Beaches Turks & Caicos

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As promised, here’s a report about our four-day vacation two weeks ago to Beaches Turks & Caicos.  Here is a list of our 10 of our favorite things about this trip, in no particular order (and if there is something I don’t cover that you have questions about–if you are thinking of traveling there–please just leave them in the comments!):

1) The Lazy River.  Most people floated down the glorious Lazy River in inner tubes (so did we eventually) but, as you can see below, R. and S. also liked to swim/float down the river themselves.  It was soooo relaxing…I even got to go on the lazy river twice by myself, no kids–score!

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2) Crystal clear turquoise water.  I don’t travel much these days, but I have been to a few other Caribbean islands when I was younger, and nothing compared to this gorgeous ocean.  So clear, so turquoise, so calm.  Absolute perfection.

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3) Kayaking.  OK, so I’m not the most outdoorsy person, but kayaking in that calm beautiful water seemed too tempting, and, what do you know,  I ended up enjoying it so much (even if my kayaking partner R. let me do almost all of the work).

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4) Swim Up Pool Bar.  I always wanted to try one of these.  This one was in one of the many kid-friendly pools, so the drinks were strictly non-alcoholic, but still delicious.  R. and I both enjoyed something called the “Icey Lemon.”

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5) The Pools.  Beaches Turks & Caicos is made up of different “villages” (we stayed in the Caribbean Village, one of the quieter and less expensive areas), and each has its own pools.  The pool just below is in the flashy and busy Italian Village.  A bit too Vegas-y for my taste, but the kids absolutely loved it.

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This quieter pool, in the French Village, includes the swim-up pool bar, a bridge, two slides, and a casual overlooking restaurant that served 50s style diner food:

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Going on the slides was a huge milestone for S., who hadn’t done that before.  He loved it and got so confident that he went on them over and over.  Hooray!

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6)  The Resort and Its Views.  Considering this was a resort mostly geared towards families, I wasn’t expecting such spectacular and picturesque views.  I was in heaven taking photos.

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7)  Complimentary photo session:  When you stay at Beaches, you get a “free” family photo session–well, the session is free but the photos aren’t.  I’m only sharing a “behind-the-scenes” one here since there were some other great photos that I might be saving for my holiday card this winter.IMG_3403

8)  Evening Entertainment…with and without Sesame Street.  I wasn’t sure if my kids would enjoy the Sesame Street entertainment which pervades the night-time activites at Beaches, since they are now 7 and 10 years old, but they were pretty riveted (especially 7-year-old S.).  And I even spotted some grown-ups singing along to “Sing a Song” (OK, so did I).

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The evening entertainment also included non-Sesame activities like a beach BBQ night which included this limbo contest (S. loves limbo):

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He also got bitten by the dance bug.  There were lots of opportunities for kids of all ages to get up on stage and dance (see below)….plus another night there was a talent show put on by the Kids Camp campers (unfortunately my kids do not like to go to kids camps on vacation, but the kids who did go to camp looked like they were having a blast).

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Incidentally, Sesame characters make lots of appearances around the resort all day.  Here we spotted Elmo from the patio outside our room (which had been upgraded by Beaches…Thank You!)

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9) Food & Drink.  Beaches resorts are all-inclusive, so it is really nice not taking out your wallet each time you want to eat or drink something.  Also, the fact that most (not all) of the restaurants were buffet-style made things easier for my kids who don’t sit long for meals.  My favorite meal was probably breakfast where they had the most delicious fresh fruit that has been scarce up north this winter:

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The kids, on the other hand, lived for the 11am opening of the ice cream parlor every day. Ice cream before lunch, yep.  What can I say? We were on vacation, so I let it happen.

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10)  The Smiles.  It’s been a long cold winter for everyone, and not such an easy one for my kids.  It was a dream come true to enjoy this gorgeous setting, warm weather, and fun activities with them. I think their smiles just about sum it up:

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Note: This is not a sponsored post, and aside from a complimentary room upgrade (thank you, Beaches Turks & Caicos!) we paid all expenses ourselves.  All opinions are entirely my own.   

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Where You Can Get a Sweater Like Prince George’s

Cambridge_WEB.jpgAs a Royal Family fan, I am of course fawning over the wonderful new photo of Kate, William, and 8-month-old Prince George. There is a lot of talk about the charming personalized pale blue sweater that George is wearing. Apparently it was a handmade gift sent to them personally, so can’t purchased online.  But I think I may have discovered a possible source for who gave them this gift….

Last Fall, the famous Missoni family (yes, the Missoni fashion family) announced the arrival of a new baby boy with a picture of this sweater for him:

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Isn’t it awfully similar to George’s sweater?  The neckline, the font, and the color (though the lighting makes George’s sweater appear paler blue).  Perhaps the Missoni’s sent Prince George a sweater just like Otto’s as a baby gift?

Want a sweater like George’s for your own baby boy?  So does everyone else right now!  I think we can expect copy-cats very soon, but in the meantime here are some similar choices:

Personalized Name Sweater ($88, available in light blue) at The Pink Monogram:

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Personalized Knit Stars Sweater ($80) at Baby Box:
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Personalized Baby Boy Sweater ($51.11) at Etsy:

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Flashback Friday: A Visit to Carlo’s Bakery in Hoboken

Editor’s Note:  This post was originally published on March 28, 2011:

Updated: Buddy from Cake Boss mentioned us on Twitter! R. is going to be so excited when she sees this.


Have I mentioned that my 7 1/2-year-old daughter is obsessed with TLC’s Cake Boss? She knows every episode by heart. I’m not kidding. So during our “mommy/daughter” weekend this past weekend (S. went to the ‘burbs with Grandma and Grandpa), I knew that a perfect field trip would be an outing to the famous Carlo’s Bakery in Hoboken, New Jersey.

I did my research and learned that to avoid the longest lines, you have to arrive at Carlo’s verrrry early, i.e. as close to the 7am opening as possible. We got there at 8am on Saturday morning, and there were already about 20 people ahead of us in line outside (plus the bakery was already filled with customers inside).

R. posed for a picture outside and got some ideas about future celebrations of her own…

We had to wait outside for about half an hour, but it was totally worth it when we were called inside the warm bakery and got to view (and sniff) all the delicious goodies:




Most of the customers were fans of the show like us, and/or tourists. But some people were actually there to pick up cake orders, mostly for birthdays:



We eventually chose two cupcakes, plus 1 “lobster tail” (a flaky croissant-like pastry filled with vanilla custard), and some coffee cake. These were the cupcakes which we gobbled on the way home:

Of course, there are souvenirs to buy, too. R. conned me into buying her a talking Buddy bobblehead for a whopping $27.

The customers of course are all on the lookout for Cake Boss “Buddy.” He wasn’t there (he was touring in Ohio), but R. immediately recognized these supporting cast members:

Mauro, Buddy’s right-hand-man and brother-in-law:

Grace, Buddy’s eldest sister:

And Buddy’s mother Mary, who is absolutely hysterical. She had the crowd in stitches. R. took a little video of her which you can watch here.

It was definitely worth the trip for us. If you have a Cake Boss fan in your family, I highly recommend a visit to Carlo’s!

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