A Lesson in Back-to-School Must-Haves at #MomtrendsSchool

Okay, guys. Imma get real and raw here for a minute (wouldn’t the first time… probably won’t the be the last). Truth is: I’m having a really hard time swallowing the fact that my first baby, my big boy, the little dude that made me a mama is going to be in Kindergarten come September.

Wasn’t it just yesterday that I dropped him off in his two-and-a-half hour Pre-K program for that much-anticipated first day? Now, in just a little over a month, I’m going to send him to elementary school until almost 3 PM every day, Monday through Friday. I could cry just thinking about it. But I know he’s going to be great and do great and enjoy every educational moment… And I might get more consecutive hours of work done than I have in years – ha!

Still, I have a lot to learn about sending a big kid off to Kindergarten, and that’s why I was so excited to go back to #MomtrendsSchool earlier this week.

Momtrends invited a few of our favorite brands and some VIP NYC bloggers and influencers to be schooled in the latest and greatest must-haves for the back-to-school season.

Better yet, we’re going to send YOU to virtual Momtrends School and give you a freebie lesson, via this blog post, in everything you and your kiddos will want and need to go to the head of the class. So without further adieu…

Ozery Bakery: My early-morning weekday breakfast woes have been solved, thanks to Ozery Bakery’s “Morning Rounds.” These delicious, wholesome breakfast breads are baked with hearty whole grains, fruits, and seeds for a satisfying, flavorful start to the day. Their “One Buns” are pre-sliced for your lunch-packing convenience, and, better yet, chock-full of fiber and protein. The “Snack Rounds” and “Brioche Bites” are the perfect after school snacks for hungry kiddos and moms alike.


Luv 2 Nosh: So you know those cracker-cookies you give your baby? This is that, but better–because they’re organic and available in so many unique and delicious flavors. Nosh has munchables, melties, and individual serving puff packets. My babe loves all of their “goodies” and even my soon-to-be Kindergartener asks for a “Nosh” cookie. Since there’s practically nothing in them, it’s a “treat” we can both feel good about.


Kite Hill: I have to admit, as a regular milk and cheese eater, I was skeptical of trying a dairy-alternative product. But Kite Hill’s artisanal delicacies are made with the simplest ingredients, and their best selling nut milk yogurts, and awarding winning cream cheese style spreads are actually insanely good. I’m sold, and I’ll definitely be packing these delights in my big boy’s lunchbox.


Name Bubbles: I would lose my head if it wasn’t attached to my body… and I’m starting to recognize that my son may have inherited my knack for, well, misplacing personal items. We have already had to buy multiple thermoses and backpacks and sneaker sets. Ugh. Well, Name Bubbles to the rescue. Their goal is to keep your kids’ items OUT of the lost & found with customizable, colorful, and cute name labels that withstand the test of time.

We had our own version of a Lost & Found box at our own Momtrends School event, where bloggers had to find and fish their own “name bubbled” item. It took me back to my childhood. Except this time, there was no question which item was mine!


Raisels: My guy loves sour candy. But I don’t particularly like how it’s loaded with all sorts of mystery ingredients and food dyes. But Raisels are a great alternative I can feel good about. Their golden raisins are sprinkled with sour fruity flavoring so they taste like candy, but they’re really just fruit! I can’t wait to break these out for our next movie night.

Hasbro: We love to play board games in our home. Pizza, some games, and quality time together is how I plan to spend our first Friday night of the school year! These Hasbro games (which we all went home with!) are going to be such a bit, and I’m looking forward to surprising my little guy and rewarding him for a successful first week of school.

Staples: Staples is our one-stop-shop for all the functional and fashionable school supplies a budding scholar could ever ask for. With emoji-inspired essentials, fun flamingo backpacks, and even donut and macaron mini erasers, Staples once again brings the cool back to school… as always!

Twelve Little: I’ve been a fan of Twelve Little’s incredibly chic and practical diaper bags for some time now; and I couldn’t be more excited about their totally awesome backpacks and lunch bags. The comfortable and clean designs look good and the functionality can’t be beat. Of course, it wouldn’t be a Momtrends event without a fun activation; so we customized lunch bags with iron-on patches and then challenged our bloggers to pack them with all the good foods they collected throughout the night.

Orchestra: We had a few of our bloggers’ kids on hand to model some of the super-charming styles from Orchestra, a European brand making its way to the United States. With wardrobe staples for kids from ages newborn to 14, it’s got a classic vibe with a bit of edge.

American Girl: Growing up isn’t easy. Kids and tweens these days have a lot to deal with on a daily basis. And they don’t always want to listen to mom and dad’s words of wisdom. That’s why we adore the advice series from American Girl. These books offer practical, useful, and digestible nugget for girls about everything from bullying to digital overload. (I think I might even need that one.)

Bath and Body Works: These luxurious lotions, potions, creams, and soaps from Bath  and Body Works are amazing for the home, for dorm rooms, guest bathrooms, and everything in between. And that hooray candle is necessary – along with a bubble bath and a glass of vino – after  a long hard work and school week. (Fri-Yay!)

 

JC’s Pie Bites: We love treating the kids (and ourselves) after a long hard day hitting the books–and JC’s Pie Bites are creamy and lush on the inside with a punch of crunch on the outside. Perfect for an end of day goodie.

As always, our #MomtrendsSchool students left with some hefty homework… in the form of three amazing gift bags, including an adorable backpack courtesy of Staples and lots of swag! School isn’t easy, but it sure is rewarding.

This is a sponsored post. All opinions are our own.

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Great Outfit for Travel in NYC

great outfit for travel NYC

Want a great travel outfit for NYC? Look no further than a few local NYC designers that happen to be moms. First, there’s my friend Carly from 30 Something Fashion—she made the perfect t-shirt. Then there’s Nicole from Colovos who made the perfect travel pant. Put them together and you’ve got a great outfit for NYC travel.

Great Outfit for Travel NYC

A few weeks ago my friend Suzanne from Gotham Love met me in DUMBO by Atrium restaurant to shoot this outfit. The breezy full-leg pant has been on MANY trips this summer.

How to dress in NYC

I took them to Whistler, Canada and they made the trip stylish! The wide leg and breathable fabric are up for any trip you want to take. Carly designed the t-shirt to be your everyday workhorse. It’s the type of tee you’ll want in multiples.

I bought both the grey and the white and I pack both of them on most trips. Wear them alone of layer—either way they look great. I love the length—long enough to tuck in or drape over your favorite slim jeans.

zara sandals

I paired it with some fun bejeweled zara flats that are much more about form than function (meaning they aren’t that comfy, but they sure look cute!).

Charming Charlie Necklace

The sandals didn’t cost a bundle, so it’s OK if I can only go a few blocks without blisters. The necklace on the other hand, was $13 from Charming Charlie and can go for miles and miles. They sent the necklace to me a few months ago and it’s become a travel favorite.

Rebecca Minkoff bag

Oh, and I forgot, Rebecca Minkoff, another NYC mom, designed this bag! I got it last summer and it’s still on trend. A little pink is perfect for summer.

Lots of lady designers, lots of summer ease. These pieces are ready to be popped into your suitcase and brought all over the streets of NYC or any city you plan to travel to this summer.

A Great Outfit for Travel NYC

This is not a sponsored post.

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New Feed Flagship Store in Brooklyn

Strolling in DUMBO Brooklyn

I’m excited to share some pictures of the new FEED flagship store in Brooklyn. It’s bound to be a community hub and it’s already become my go-to spot for something cool and refreshing this summer. Lauren Bush has thrown her heart and soul into this new spot that is both boutique and café and I’m giving it rave reviews.

tour the feed store in DUMBO

It’s a big deal, this is part of a big rehabilitation of the Empire Stores in my neighborhood. When I moved in 11 years ago, this building was derelict. Now, it’s thriving. And FEED fits right in. Grab your favorite caffeine and pop open your laptop or meet a girlfriend to catch up and do a little shopping. This is a spot where you can linger.

A few days ago I stopped in to take some pictures with Suzanne Cohen. I wanted to share how cool this space is—it’s got all the FEED bags I love as well as freshly brewed iced tea (get the jasmine flavor) and java that will appeal to even the biggest coffee snobs.

The FEED blend is roasted in partnership with La Colombe. There’s also a yummy mix of pastries and sweets there from a local NYC bakery.

I wanted you to get a sense of the space…it’s amazing how my neighborhood has changed in a decade. I’m so excited to see small, powerful, female-owned brands as part of the future.

What I’m Wearing

sleeveless colovos stripes

Let’s talk about what I’m wearing. The warmer weather is here, and this outfit is perfect. This stripe sleeveless shirt is from Colovos. It has a drawstring ruched detail on the neck, and is so breezy. This top is playful. You can use the tie in the front or back. I’ll be experimenting with the length throughout the summer and this will be paired with shorts as well as pants.

colovos collection

I’ve talked about Colovos before, the duo behind the brand are parents at my girl’s school. Not only are they likely the coolest parents at the school, they are amazingly talented. Nicole and Michael Colovos won the CFDA’s first emerging designer prize for their line Habitual. In 2015 they launched Colovos, and I’m hooked. You can get some of the line at Nordstrom or you can visit the duo’s website.

I paired the top with a black jogger from Splendid—these are great travel pants and slouchy and comfy. I’ve had these for years and they are on heavy rotation.

Poma sandals from Robert ClergerieBy now you know I love shoes, I also have to walk a lot. When I find a pair that’s trendy and comfortable—I’m in. I found this pair of blue leather and suede Poma sandals from Robert Clergerie at a local Brooklyn Boutique. Aren’t they chic!

And, of course, we have to talk about the bags. That’s how it all started. Lauren started FEED bags to help families in dire situations. She used her fashion connections to come up with a practical bag that is perfect for any mom on the go.

FEED bags

This is the original Feed Bag. When you purchase it, you will provide 185 school meals for children around the world. It’s ideal for any busy New Yorker or multi-tasking mama.

New Feed Flagship Store in Brooklyn

There it is…grab a bag, sip your FEED Heritage coffee blend and enjoy my neighborhood!

New Feed Flagship Store in Brooklyn Tour

Plan your visit:
FEED Shop & Cafe
55 WATER ST, BROOKLYN, NY
929-397-2716

This is not a sponsored post.

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First Trip to Evereve

First Trip to Evereve

I made my first trip to Evereve last week when I was in Minneapolis. It wasn’t until this year that I ever even had the brand on my radar. Started by a savvy mom boss, they have a lofty goal: to become the “most beloved national retail brand for moms.”

Who they serve

The company was founded by Megan Tamte (a Minnesota Mom) who thinks fashion can empower us (and I can’t disagree with her point). Megan opened her first store in Edina, Minnesota—and this is the store I paid a visit. The store opened in 2004 under a different name and re-branded as Evereve in 2014.

Since I only share things I experience, it was up to me to do some shopping. I can’t report on things I don’t try on for size. Let’s head to the dressing rooms..

Evereve Flagship Edina

The flagship store is a mom’s dream. It’s open and airy and has well-lit dressing rooms and aisles that accommodate strollers (and has loads of goldfish crackers to dole out to the kiddos).

I found the staff incredibly friendly and solicitous (but I do wish they would take a break from pushing ruffles). They had ALL the trends there—from the bell sleeve to damaged denim to the graphic tee. Everything was nicely displayed and easy to touch and try on. This is the flagship store, and I was very pleased to see an excellent stock of sizes and a well-organized floor plan (pop in to 50th & France and if you are hungry just head down to D’Amico & Sons along the way). Check out what I picked up:

Mom Hustle T-shirt

From what I gather, the stores were designed with mom in mind—there are plenty of spots to hang out with toddlers or to breastfeed and you can arrange a private shopping night after hours for you and your BFFs.

What I got

Evereve doesn’t design clothes—they curate. I saw many brands I know such as Three Dots t-shirts and Joie denim. They put together looks in store so moms can feel confident wearing the trends. The clothes are casual to date-night dressy—most pieces were in the $150 and under price point and well-made. I ended up spending about $200 and got two tees, a pair of shorts and a bralette (my salesperson’s idea and I love it!)

mom boss - super mom great business woman

Since there isn’t a shop in Brooklyn (yet) I’ll have to pop in when I travel OR I can opt into trendsend.com—a styling service where moms can get personally styled fashions shipped to them. Keep what you love (like Stitchfix) and send the rest back.

If your wardrobe needs a boost and you DON’T want a 20-something to tell you that you “look hot” in everything, plan a trip. You’re worth it.

Evereve Quote from Megan Tamte

Oh, about that name, it’s meant to combine Eve (the first mom) with the word “ever” to mean “a mother who inspires her family and community.” I like that a lot. As for me, I’m going to be wearing my mom tees I found at Evereve with pride.

Momtrends was not paid for this post.

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Love This Sweater

Love this sweater. For Valentine's Day or every day, this sweet heart sweater is perfect for your wardrobe.

I love this sweater. And I love this month. Because we are doing something different. You heard me talk about a shift from buying to doing… and that’s where we are going this month. Yep, I’ll be talking about cute outfits, but I’ll also be talking about my favorite places in NYC.

Not fancy—just fabulous. Both the clothes and the spots. I’m sharing the real spots where I spend my time, meet girlfriends and just soak in the vibe of the city.

For today’s adventure, I head to TriBeCa (it stands for triangle below Canal, if you’ve ever wondered) to pop in to see a friend’s restaurant. I’m wearing what I wear to work about 75% of the time—jeans and a colorful top with comfy shoes.

Since Valentine’s Day is around the corner, it’s fitting that I have this Talbots heart sweater. I love this sweater for the playful heart and the easy fit. Plus, yay for stripes. It has a playful heart intarsia placed at the center front panel, and it’s finished with contrast red stripes along the crewneck and sleeve hem.

Love this Sweater

I’m wearing it with my trusty cabi denim jeans, zebra belt and my tieks foldable flats. It’s easy to put together, easy to wear and everything can go into the washing machine. This is how I roll!

Love this Sweater

Accessories—a good book! I’ve been toting this book around town and I’m almost done. Chasing Slow by Erin Loechner is very moving and inspiring. I might have to do a full write-up soon. I’ve been wearing bracelets a lot. I’m still recovering from too many statement necklaces, so I’m wearing bracelets. And I added my red monogrammed clutch (also from Talbots, but about two years ago) for another pop of red. I usually pop this in a larger tote and have it hold my essentials.

Chasing Slow

Now let’s talk about the setting. For February, I’m talking about the places I LOVE to eat or grab a cup in NYC. It’s meant to tell you more about real city life and maybe inspire you if you are planning a visit.

If you are coming to NYC or already live here, be sure to visit Two Hands Restaurant & Bar. In NYC, brunch is an art form, and the duo that started Two Hands know this well, their bunch game is strong. I met one of the owners years ago in New Zealand. He started the first Two Hands (a café over on Mott) to share his love of great coffee and nutritious comforting food.

Love this Sweater

The owners are both from Australia and you’ll get a beachy relaxed vibe at both locations. and you’ll likely hear a lot of Aussie accents. Definitely let the barista make you a coffee or a matcha. You won’t be disappointed.

The brunch menu is veggie heavy—like the Brassicas Bowl: loaded with broccolini, brussel sprouts, kale, hummus, avocado and a soft boiled egg. It’s the spot to linger over a second cup and clear you plate while enjoying the company of friends or a good book.

Brunch at Two Hands

What to order: Beet Cured Salmon Bowl—which does have fish, but it’s really about the bed of goodness underneath. Don’t miss an order of the banana bread with espresso mascarpone, toasted buckwheat and honey (and bonus, it’s gluten free).

Plan your visit to Two Hands NYC
251 Church St, New York, NY 10013
http://www.twohandsnyc.com/

Photos by Laura Cardona, check her out on instagram here @cardonastudioo

This is not a sponsored post. There are affiliate links in this post. We hope you shop and support Momtrends.

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Join the #SNSweepstakes Twitter Party

WHEN: Saturday, Jan. 7 @ 1pm PT/ 4 PM ET
CO-HOST: @Momtrends
HASHTAG: #SNSweepstakes
PRIZE: Queen p5 bed with SleepIQ technology

RSVP: http://bit.ly/2hQa8vg

Well, we’re five days into 2017, which begs the question: How are YOU doing with your resolutions thus far?
My goal to catch more zzz’s hasn’t been quite as successful as anticipated with a crying baby in the room to my left and a yelling toddler in the room my right (hashtag: blessed). At least I’m sticking to a few new ground rules: I go to bed at the same time every night. I begrudgingly put away my cell phone. And I turn off the TV before the lights go out. I’m all about making the most of the (very limited!) few hours I do get in my bed—you know, between the alternating screams for “mommy!”

If you, too, have prioritized sleep in the New Year, then I have some super-exciting news for you! We’ve teamed up with Sleep Number to help you get more sleep and better sleep in 2017 and beyond—and maybe even win a p5 bed with SleepIQ technology in the process! (Isn’t she pretty?!)

New to market and all the hype at the annual CES conference, the Sleep Number 360 bed uses Sleep IQ technology and intelligent biometrics to give you your best sleep ever! So what does that mean exactly? Well, this smart bed can actually sense your movements and automatically adjust to meet your ideal firmness, comfort, and support. What’s more, the Sleep Number 360 smart bed can sense snoring before it begins and gently raise the culprit’s side of the bed. (So, yeah, no more kicking your husband to quiet him at 3 AM… Or is that just me?!?) As a bonus, you can pre-warm the bottom of the bed so your feet feel instantly cozy and cuddly to help you nod off faster. Of course, you can also track your sleeping patterns with a sync-able app.

As a mom, I clearly don’t get a lot of sleep, but I do want to maximize the snooze time I  do get. The new Sleep Number 360 can help make my lofty goal much more attainable… and measurable to boot!

Want to learn more—and maybe even win a Queen p5 bed with Sleep IQ technology? Join our twitter party Saturday, Jan. 7 at 1 PM PT/ 4 PM ET. Use the hashtag #SNSweeptakes and RSVP HERE.

This is a sponsored post. All opinions are our own.

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New Year’s Resolution Inspiration From the Momtrends Team

I’m not a big believer in traditional New Year’s resolutions. More often than not, in years past, I’ve set myself up for failure with unrealistic, unfocused, and grandiose goals. Lose weight, eat better, exercise more, indulge in “me time,” be more present with my children. Um, yeah, sure. Easier said than done, Lauren… And while you’re channeling Super Woman, why don’t you also achieve that elusive balance in career, family, and personal life everyone’s always talking about?

Seriously, without an actual plan of action (or attack!), these lofty ambitions often go unmet, underachieved, or unfulfilled. At least for me. (Can you relate?)

And, even though, after an indulgent and totally insane few weeks, I may need to lose a few lbs. and carve out an hour or two for R&R, I’ve learned that I have to make lifestyle changes in my own time, on my own terms, and with my own well-being (and my loved ones) in mind—rather than, because—oh no!—we’ve hit that designated date when everything has to change or you automatically fail. (I mean, who hasn’t forgotten and eating on cookie on Jan. 2?)

That’s why, in lieu of grand plans and massive New Year’s resolutions, I’m making a list of smaller, measurable “action items”—things I can do right away to slowly but surely improve my body, mind, and soul. For me, the start of a new year is not the launching point for a race, it’s a check-in point on my personal journey.

But that’s just me on my soapbox. It’s what work for me. (Giant non-facetious high-five if your annual resolutions actually come to fruition!) Here are just four small measurable actions I’m taking in the New Year:

1. Put my cell phone down at 7 PM and keep it away until after the kids are in bed.
2. Make dinner in the slower cook twice a week. (Because, otherwise I will continue to rely on a steady rotation of spaghetti, take out, and Trader Joe’s frozen meals.)
3. Only order in dinner twice a week. (See above.)
4. Frame at least one photo a month. (I have a million digital pictures of my children, but barely any out and on display in my home.)

So there you have it, my personal objectives to kick off a fresh month and year. They might seem small, but I think I’ll feel a huge difference. What are your personal resolutions? Do you go big or keep ’em small? Need some inspiration? I asked the whole Momtrends team to share their respective versions of a resolution—be it a goal, a quote to live by, or a word to channel. As a whole, we’ve had a busy and successful 2016 (I mean, Mom Boss book alone made it a huge year!), so it was interesting to see how everyone at MT HQ plans to channel their energy in 2017.

Nicole Feliciano, Founder & CEO
“Seven hours of sleep a night. Write down focus of the next day in a journal the before I go to bed (and get that 7 hours).”

Brooke Stewart, Sales Director & CEO, Power Moms Media
1. “Try something new. I’m thinking yoga and/or meditation.”
2, “Work smarter. I truly believe one can work less but accomplish more with the right focus and strategy. My goal is to find out how in 2017.”
3. “Along those lines, I want to walk away from my devices 1/day per week. We will see.”

Sherri Schubert, Events Director
1. “Spend more time with my husband.”
2. “Let go of the need to please everyone.”
3. “Experience more and buy less.”

Kristin Swenson, Outreach Manager & Editor
“Take time to stretch daily. I need my body to stand up to my busy mama life and a properly stretched bod is so much more productive!”

Michelle, Sale Coordinator
1. “Take quiet time out every day.”
2. “Say ‘yes’ more.”
3. “Be okay when ‘no’ should be the answer (like when I’m over extended).”

Mandy Fisher, Creative Director
“My word that I’m channeling is ‘change.’

Catherine Murton, Editor, The Shopping Mama
“Less clutter, physically and mentally.”

Kate Bayless, Contributing Editor
“One of my goals for 2017 is to get more vegetables into my breakfast. I feel like I eat pretty healthy but I have struggled to get more veggies into my a.m. routine. I’m hoping to find some creative and tasty solutions for 2017!”

Jennifer Vido, Contributing Editor
Read more books. Prepare healthier meals.”

There you have it. Our “resolutions,” big and small. We hope to make 2017 our best year yet at Momtrends, so let us know what you want to see on the site… and share your resolution in the comments, below.

This is not a sponsored post. All opinions are our own.

 

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All Things Merry and Bright at the #MTHoliday Event

nicole-feliciano

nambe-table

bl

nicole-and-sherri

blogger-gifting

I’m one of those “don’t-even-talk-to-me-about-the-December-holidays-until-we-get-through-Thanksgiving” people. I love me my presents and my eggnog and my stocking stuffers and my tree-trimming trinkets, but I don’t like skipping ahead and glossing over fall’s grand finale. So, at home and in my personal life, I abide by a strict rule: no Santa talk until the Friday after Turkey Day.

Of course, in my career-world things are a wee bit different. As an editor, it’s my job to be ahead of the curve and on top of the trends. So I start living and breathing Christmas, Hanukkah, and the holly-jolly holidays long before the bird is carved and the big balloons are inflated.

Naturally, our blogger friends are in the same boat. And that’s why we were so excited to invite them to our annual #MTHoliday event. We assembled some of our favorite brands for an immersive showcase and interactive party, celebrating the latest and greatest holiday must-haves. From stunning Nambé entertaining essentials to gorgeous Avon makeup, we shared a few simple solutions to make this season of giving and getting easy and effortless.

 

raffle

food

diaper-drive

We mixed, mingled, sipped, and shopped and made spirits bright by hosting a diaper drive to benefit the National Diaper Drive Network. We have a lot to be grateful for here at Momtrends this Thanksgiving and beyond—and, while I’m still personally wrapping my brain around how it’s possible that the merry month is almost here, I’m always eager to share tips, tricks, and finds to make the holidays happier and more successful.

blogger-photoboot

pearhead

Pearhead
Quirky, cute, silly, and sweet gifts from Pearhead, like ornaments and photo props, helped us start the season in a super fun and interactive way.

avery-printables

avery

Avery
With a plethora of labels, tags, and free printables, you can customize gifts in creative, fun, and festive ways this season.

american-girl-brand

American Girl
What little girl doesn’t dream of building her own American Girl collection? With an array of toys, books, accessories, and dolls, there’s something at every price point for every little lady on your list.

ivivva-models

ivivva

ivivva
Created by lululemon, ivivva has loads of fabulous styles and accessories for active girls from yoga tops and pants to pouches and accessories. Our mini models did a great job showing off all the versatile pieces. The brand new Moon Gem collection will be available online and in stores on Black Friday.

mabels-labels

ml-books

Mabel’s Labels
With great personalized gifts and adorable labels, Mabel’s Labels makes our “nice” list this season. We especially love the addition of personalized books for kids—such a great stocking stuffer or gift!

arizona

arizona-sampling

Arizona Tea
Made with hand-selected teas sourced from around the globe, these Good Brew batches from Arizona feature a fresh homemade taste. Plus, they’re all-natural and made with real sugar (no high fructose corn syrup). It’s a refreshing beverage you can feel good about giving your family.

avonpic

makeup-avon

Avon
Holding rank as the leading social-selling beauty company, Avon’s products are better than ever. We treated our bloggers to mini makeovers—and we all learned about living the “boss life.”

teleflora-arrangementTeleflora

Treat yourself or a loved one to a fresh, hand-delivered floral arrangement this season. Their new holiday bouquets are playful, pretty, and professionally arranged by local florists.

armigami-modelsarmigami

ARMigami
This convertible wrap can be styled in over 15 ways, making it a chic winter accessory and fashionably functional gift. It can be worn as a scarf, a top, a wrap, a skirt, or even as a beach coverup (in case you’re traveling somewhere exotic for the holidays).

bangle-stackers

bangle-stacker

Bangle Stacker
Bangles and bracelets are very hot this year. This adorable stacker helps you keep all your sparkly, shiny jewelry in one convenient place.

sparkling-water

LaCroix
In addition to wine and iced tea, bloggers sipped on deliciously fun La Croix sparkling waters. They’re 100% natural, with no added sodium, caffeine, calories or artificial sweeteners. (They’re also perfect for mixing up holiday mocktails and cocktails!)

table-setting

jewelry

Nambé
Nambé’s unique signature designs and modern aesthetic are easily recognizable and entirely desirable. Functional and stylish, these holiday pieces make a chic, but still approachable statement. We set our event table with some festive pieces from the collection, creating a comfortable and cozy, but still elegant ambiance.
Nambé has also launched a fabulous jewelry line, available at Macy’s.

wine

nobel-vines

Noble Vines
What’s a holiday party without holiday spirits? Noblel Vines wine comes from Manteca, CA—and it’s the perfect pour to kick off any celebratory soiree.

lss

LeSportSac
These bags hold everything and weighs nothing. (Santa ought to replace his sack with one of these versatile carryalls!)

santa-plate

Smash Mallow
Santa: This is a must have for all those stockings you have to stuff. These premium snackable marshmallows are great alone, in hot chocolate, or added to desserts.

slow-cooker

The Zen of Slow Cooking
Slow down this hectic season and save yourself some time and energy by cooking with a slow cooker and some incredible spices, ingredients, and recipes from Zen of Slow Cooking. These blends feature premium blends crafted exclusively for the slow cooker to bring a little zen (and lot of flavor!) into your kitchen.

gifting-table

Gift Giving
We highlighted some more of our favorite picks from these brands and others on our “gift-giving” table. (How sweet is this “cookies for Santa” set?!?) The Snowtime DVD is a great addition to a little kid’s stocking… and it’s even better for the first snow day of the season! That’s also just around the corner. Yep, the holidays must officially be here!

giftbag

Speaking of gifts, bloggers left with a bag full of goodies for themselves, their family, and friends. Check out this loot. It will definitely give you some ideas.

Sponsors:
American Girl
Arizona
ARMigami
Avery
Avon
Bangle Stacker
ivivva
LaCroix
LeSportSac
Mabel’s Labels
Nambé
Noble Vines
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Smashmallow
Teleflora
The Zen of Slow Cooking

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Digital Storage of Family Photos

epson-photos

Family memories are everything. It’s what we work so hard for to create a loving environment and figure out a way to bottle some of that goodness. In a way, our photos make time stand still. Photos bring us back in touch with those who are no longer with us.

For many families precious photos aren’t doing their work. They are sitting in boxes in dusty closets. They aren’t evoking memories and telling stories. Epson hopes to fix this with their latest high-speed scanner called FastFoto. It’s a way to preserve photos at a high speed with care and crispness.

I tested out the scanner and I absolutely loved it. I was able to work through dozens of photos in seconds (Epson says ” you can thousands of photos as fast as 1 photo per second* at 300 dpi”). The resolution is excellent as was the color quality.

Check out this video of my tech test:

 

Digital Storage of Family Photos

Here’s how it works. You know by now that I am not a huge techie, I need things to be fairly intuitive. But I am the family’s CTO (Chief Technology Officer). So while I don’t get things quickly, I do take on these projects to make life better. To get started you need a laptop or computer. First you download the software (that was pretty easy). There are mac and PC options. It takes a few minutes and clicks and you’re done.

Digital Storage of Family Photos

Then you need to sort you photos in piles. When  you upload you will want to sort and “bucket” by year or occasion. When you scan you will want a way to file the photos. This is the fun part, you’ll want to enlist your parents help here–they know best which photos go into which year.

Before you scan you enter some data about the year and location of the photos onto your computer. You’ll also pick the resolution.

epson-scanning-process

From there, it’s really easy. Load the photos into the scanner and hit scan. Boom! They slide through like shuffling cards. Bonus: The photos will be scanned on both the front and the back so all the precious hand-written notes will be preserved forever.

Once all the photos are scanned they are incredibly easy to share with FastFoto custom software, which features unique file/folder naming, as well as date and subject tagging. From there you can also share to Facebook and Dropbox. I added mine to my iPhotos so I could easily share them with my family members.

Digital Storage of Family Photos

In addition to a being fast, the photos can also be color corrected automatically with Smart Photo Fix (SPF) technology. With the Epson software, faded photos can be restored with a click. You can also fix red‑eye issues. This means my photos look better than ever, like this one of my dad circa 1969.

dad-skiing-1969

Epson calls it the worlds “fastest photo scanner”–I can only say it works like a gem. It’s also a regular scanner too. That means you can scan artwork and school projects in a flash too. I know my mom was never going to let me send her photos out to a scanning service, for $650 we can scan at home fast and efficiently. It’s a great family gift!

Get FastFoto on Amazon here 

This is not a sponsored post. I was given a scanner for testing purposes which was returned after testing.

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Balance, Bubbly, and the Pursuit of “Me-Time” at #MTNightOut

momtrends and meredith publications

meredith publications

blogger activation

“Balance is BS.”

As moms struggling to juggle the demands of work and parenthood—not to mention those of our partners, household, friends, and extended families—these words certainly ring true. And, yet, we continue to try to have it all, do it all, and be it all. In fact, according to a survey of over 2,000 moms in September’s issue of Parents, 63 percent of us still believe that balance is achievable.

Don’t get us wrong. Here at Momtrends, we not only support the hustle, we thrive on it. (Okay, we live for it!) But we also know that “balance” is less cut and dry, more give and take. And, as moms, we need to be kinder and more forgiving to ourselves. (Spaghetti for dinner again? Cut yourself some slack, Mama. You’re doing just fine!)

Well, the idea of being kinder to ourselves starts with making time for our own needs, wants, and whims. Like indulging in “me-time” and a much-needed night out!

soho rooftop

nyc skyline view

blogger event

nyc blogger event

#MTNightOut event

goody bags

meredith magazines

Earlier this week, Momtrends and Meredith Publications (Parents, Fit Pregnancy, Family Fun, and Parents Latina) hosted a group of top NYC bloggers for an evening of cocktails, chitchat, and DIY fun. We sipped bubbly and admired the vast views from a stunning Soho rooftop and mingled with other mom bloggers who can relate to, well, #thestruggle.

nicole feliciano

dana points

Momtrends’ own Nicole and Meredith Publications’ editor Dana Points shared their stories, and provided some practical ways to creatively and successfully navigate the day-to-day challenges we face as multitasking moms. Here are a few ways you can too.

clorox wipes

crafting with clorox wipes

Get Crafty and Stay Practical

Clorox Disinfecting Wipes are essential around the Momtrends offices. Not to mention our homes, cars, and everywhere in between. They kill 99.9% of germs including viruses that cause colds and flu. We’d bet that if you’re a mom and you’re reading this, you have, indeed, bought a tube or two of Clorox Wipes in the last month. (Tis the back-to-germs season, after all!) Take those neon-bright containers, and give them a makeover with some patterned paper, washi tape, and crafting embellishments.

quaker overnight oats

Make More Time in the Morning

The early hours are a blur in most households. With dishevled kids racing off to school and sleep-deprived parents heading off to work, it can hectic madness. But you can save a bit of precious time in the morning by doing a little breakfast prep work the night before with Quaker Overnight Oats. They make for a quick, easy, and delight breakfast. Just add 1/2 cup milk to a 1/2 cup oats, and top with your favorite ingredients. Refrigerate overnight, and it’ll be ready to enjoy in the morning.

me time

We asked our blogger friends what they’d do with an extra hour in the morning? And like most motivated mamas we know, they were super ambitious with their bonus-time aspirations—plotting out gym visits, yoga sessions, and meditative mornings. Some said they’d hit the snooze button, and we can’t argue with that choice either!

lotion making

glad bags

scented oils

Treat Your Skin and Your Senses

There’s a reason we light scented candles and brighten the home with fresh flowers. Aromatherapy can help alleviate stress and set a mood. Plus, lavender smells a heck of a lot better than a full bag of garbage. With this in mind, Glad created kitchen garbage bags with Glad Odor Shield and Febreze to neutralize unpleasant odors. To celebrate the power of smell, we invited bloggers to make and mix their own scented lotion using ingredients like lemon, lavender, and vanilla.

pacifieres

gifts for new moms

Give a Hand and a New Pacifier

New moms get a raw deal. Sure, they get to cuddle itty-bitty newbies all day, but they also have to deal with the round-the-clock consequences of diaper blowouts, colic, and sleep training. We’ve all been there, and we know it takes a village to survive those early days. We honored those new moms with growing families by customizing and building pretty gift sets featuring some amazing must-have products from Philips Avent , the number one reusable bottle and pacifier brand in the U.S. Bloggers were able to customize and decorate these gift to a new mom in their life.

earth's best snacks

earth's best bars

Make Mealtime Easier and Simplify Snacking

Feeding picking kids is another challenge for another (lengthy) post. Suffice to say, it can add stress to any already stressful day. For 30 years Earth’s Best has makes feeding time easier, fresher, and more delicious for moms and infants with their organic nutrition for babies. Now, they’re offering wholesome, nourishing meals and snacks for older children. This platter of bars is literally the appetizer platter of my children’s dreams. They could eat these things all day long.

This is a sponsored post. All opinions are our own.

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