{FAMILY} Wish List: Holiday Outfits For Kids

Each year I create a photo book to gift to my parents and in-laws for Christmas. The photo books highlight memorable moments from from of our year – lost teeth, birthdays, dance recitals, vacations – and each book is always finished off with a photo of my children sitting on Santa’s knee. With my oldest child in her eighth year, we’ve created quite a collection of these books and holiday Santa photos – they have become valuable keepsakes for both our family and the grandparents who receive the books as gifts.

The outfits that my children wear for their photo with Santa and for our family Christmas dinners over the holidays are an important part of the holidays for me. Christmas is one of the few times that I get to dress up my children and snap formal photos of them together to include in those special keepsakes of their grandparents. If it weren’t for the promise of holiday cheer, it would be nearly impossible for me to capture my little munchkins in such happy spirits together.

This year I’d love to dress them in similar outfits – and these three brands have exactly what I’m looking for – but I can’t decide which way to go – fancifully formal? Playfully casual? Or Modernly monochromatic? Here are some of my favourites, maybe you can help me to decide:

Fancifully Formal – Redfish Kids

Kids Holiday Outfits

I was recently invited to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the popular, high-end children’s clothing brand Redfish Kids, and I couldn’t stop drooling over their holiday collection. Assertively stylish and made of high-quality fabrics such as velvet and taffeta, their formal frocks and handsome velvet pieces were simply adorable! My picks: the Simon says vest for my boy, and the Dolce dress for my girls.

Playfully Casual Yet Chic – Peekaboo BeansKids Holiday Outfits

What I love most about the Peekaboo Beans holiday collection is the promising longevity of their products. Their holiday outfits are dressy enough for Christmas dinner, yet comfy/casual enough for my kids to wear to school and for playtime after the holidays have passed. My picks: The Rockslide Leggings and Dazzl’n Dress for my girls, and the cute yet casual Ranger Pants and Looking Good Pullover for my boy.

Modernly Monochromatic – VonBon

VonBon

I just can’t resist a clean, black and white look for the holidays, and Von Bon‘s latest line hits the mark when it comes to fresh, fashion-forward kids wear. The swoon-worthy outfits pictured above would pair perfectly with the red accents of the holidays (and our Dalmatian too!), and the modern pattern screams chic! Not to mention, these adorable styles could be recycled throughout the year.

Which looks do you like best? 

{FAMILY} 4 Reasons To Love Peekaboo Beans

DID YOU KNOW?

Many of you have already heard of this fabulous clothing brand for kids, but do you know where Peekaboo Beans got their name?

The name stemmed from a game the Founder used to play with her kids – she would squeeze edamame beans out of their pods in a fun and playful way while shouting “Peekaboo Beans!” as a way to encourage her children to eat their vegetables. Who knew a silly name from a mealtime game would plant the seeds for a play revolution!

I’m so excited to have been selected as an Ambassador for Peekaboo Beans, and thought I would start by sharing the top 4 reasons why I love this brand.

#1: Founder and Queen Bean – Traci Costa.

Local mom and passionate advocate for play, Traci Costa started Peekaboo Beans on a mission to provide parents with well-made, no-fuss, comfortable play wear for children. Traci gives back to the community by creating jobs both locally and overseas, and improves the lives of children living in war-torn countries through charitable partnerships.

#2: Ethically-made high quality clothing for kids.

Peekaboo Beans doesn’t cut any corners when it comes to manufacturing their products. With a focus on quality not quantity, the play wear is created following a very strict manufacturing code of ethics, ensuring high quality production in a safe and ethical work environment.

Peekaboo Beans

#3: Employment opportunities for moms.

Eager to maintain control of her brand and to make an impact on the world, Traci developed a business model designed to create local jobs, with a focus on providing opportunities for moms to generate additional income while promoting the brand they have grown to love.

“Work without missing the moments that matter.”

Play Stylists enjoy being part of a supportive community, with flexible work schedules, great compensation, and product rewards plans.

#4: The PLAY Revolution.

Through various play-focused initiatives, Peekaboo Beans connects parents and their children with various opportunities to get outdoors, connect with like-minded families, and enjoy the power of everyday active play. Initiatives include:

Pop-Up Playdates – organized, unstructured meet ups to encourage parents and their children to play at various playgrounds and outdoor locations.

Play-Ducation – a series of workshops with industry leaders focused on childhood development tools.

Playground Builders – a grassroots organization that builds playgrounds in war-torn countries.

To learn more about this loveable local brand, check out this video:

Stay tuned for reviews and giveaways throughout the year as I embark on this new journey as an ambassador for this fantastic brand.

Back-To-School Finds: Butler Overboots {Giveaway}

We’ve had months of beautiful Summer weather in Vancouver, but with the return of the rain comes the return of routine for many families like ours, as we prepare our children for back to school. And while I’m looking forward to the excitement of a new school year, this time of year is always especially chaotic as I prepare my children for school with one-on-one shopping trips for school supplies, outfits and gear for their Fall extracurriculars. So much to buy, so little time! My son is starting Kindergarten this Fall so I’m making an extra effort to start him off on the right foot for the school year. We’ve purchased a new backpack and lunch bag, and he has hand picked a brand new outfit to wear on his first day! And one necessity that I’m happy to have already included in our collection of outdoor wear is sure to come in handy this Fall – the Butler overboot – a great solution to the shoe-changing challenges of the children of our rainy city. Rain boots Unlike any other boot I’ve seen, this overboot makes it quick and easy for kids to transition from indoor to outdoor footwear on rainy days. The boots are designed to comfortably slip over slippers or running shoes, so children can seamlessly transition from inside play to outdoor fun. I wish I had discovered these when my children were in daycare – it would have been much easier for their teachers to get the kids ready to play outside! Rain boots I was introduced to the Butler overboot by a great little online shop called Amelie & Max, whose mission is to “curate a selection of Canadian and international brands for discerning modern parents who are looking for ethical, durable, high quality, multifunctional innovative apparel, shoes, accessories and lifestyle products for the entire family.” A Canadian mom-run business with a great purpose for parents. They have my support. We’ve been trying out these adorably colourful and easy-to-wear boots by our river, and so far my kids love them! They’ll be great to keep in their cubbies at school for rainy day wear. Thanks to my friends at Amelie & Max, one of my lucky readers can WIN a pair too! Enter below, and good luck.Rain boots a Rafflecopter giveaway

You Can’t Handle The Tooth! {Giveaway}

Fact: teething bites (pun very much intended).

I’m on my third tooth-bearing child, and let me tell you, it doesn’t get any easier. No matter how much practice you get, those baby chiclets will sneak up on you, and hit you like a slap in the face. One minute your baby is sleeping well and melting your heart with sweet little smiles and giggles, and the next, the pterodactyl from within unleashes its unruly wails as those tiny little white nuggets push their way through to the surface of your poor baby’s gums.

Sleepless nights, soaked-through tops, and the biting (oh the biting!). Unfortunately, teething is inevitable. We have to let nature take its course – it’s just not optional. What is optional though, is how we deal with the disastrous childhood milestone.

As parents we have two choices: we can grin and bear it – suffer through the raw pain of parenting a teething toddler for the months (sometimes years!) of agony – or, we can numb the pain for our poor little biters by providing them with the right supplies they need to dull the distress.

Cue: Lou Lou Lollipop Teething Necklaces. Unlike many teething necklaces I’ve seen on the market, these cute little silicon-based gems come in a wide range of modern, wearable, hip designs that can be worn without looking “like a mom” when out and about with your little drooler.

teething necklace

I thought so many of their designs were cute and totally wearable (I love the black one above, it looks like it’s made of wood!), but I wanted something unique that would fit with my brand/personality, so the lovely ladies of LouLou Lollipop Finery made me this beautiful custom set for my little teether and I:

teething necklace2

I love the colours, and my oldest daughter likes to wear the larger necklace sometimes too so she can “twin” with her baby sister.

My littlest loves to prance around with her necklace in hand and take a little nibble as she plays. It’s adorable, and it keeps her drooly gums preoccupied which is of course a big win for me.

Not only did I get my own custom set, but I’m giving away one of these lovely necklaces to one of my readers!

teething

Enter now for a chance to WIN your very own LouLou Lollipop teething necklace – in the design of your choice ($30 value)! Check out their site to see more styles, and enter below for your chance to win.
a Rafflecopter giveaway


About LouLou Lollipop Finery:

Lou Lou Lollipop Finery is a premium brand of modern, hip silicone accessories designed and handmade locally in Vancouver by two sisters, Eleanor and Angel.

Product features include:
* FDA approved high quality food grade silicone
* Made with non-toxic materials (no- BPA, PVC, phthalate, latex, lead, cadmium, or heavy metals)
* Features breakaway safety clasp as an added safety measure
* Silicone is anti-microbial; does not harbour bacteria or mold

Note: LouLou Lollipop teething jewelry is intended to be worn by adults. It is NOT a toy. It should not be worn by babies/children or left with any child unattended. Adult supervision is always required.


 

Do You Look Like A Mom?

Let’s face it, when someone says, “she looks like a mom,” it’s not meant to be a compliment. For some reason, the word “mom” often has negative connotations. But why?

If you were to ask someone to describe the ‘look’ of a mom, they would likely describe someone who looks like this:

320.1x1

The mom from Meet The Goldbergs

 

Feathered hair, a colourfully tacky sweater, and high-waisted pants with a pleated front (also known as “mom jeans”). Maybe this is because many of the moms of my generation actually did look like this. But now that many of us Gex X kids are moms ourselves, I’m left to wonder: do my fashion choices seem “mom-ish” to the younger generation? Will the way that I look and dress embarrass my kids when they’re teenagers (or even now)?

This week I had some professional head shots done, and as I browsed my closet to pick out an outfit to wear, the first thought that came to my mind was: What can I wear that won’t make me look like a MOM? And then I paused and thought to myself: Why wouldn’t I want to look like a mom? I’ve made three beautiful children and should be proud to wear the honourable title of “mom” – regardless of the jiggly bits and fashion choices that I may make. And if someone wants to judge me based on that, so be it!

Looking “like a mom” should be synonymous with fabulous, fashionable, and confident. If we look like Mrs. Goldberg (above), awesome. Let’s own it. If we want to wear sweats and yoga pants all day. Good. Strut that comfy garb mamas. You go on with your bad selves.

We strive to teach our children that it’s the inside that counts. That self confidence, and a smile on your face are the only accessories that make a woman look beautiful. So let’s own our words, hold our heads high, and look “like moms”. Who’s with me?

mom look

My new head shot by fellow mom and fab photographer Jenn Di Spirito

 

 

 

15 Problems That Only People With Curly Hair Can Understand

I haven’t yet decided if it’s a blessing or a curse. I was born with a head full of curly tresses, and my love/hate relationship with my naturally-frizzy fro has dominated my life. I’ve constantly changed my hair – convinced that a little colour, chemical, or chop would make me love it, but I’m never satisfied. The grass is always greener as they say.

People are always complementing my curls – “you’re so lucky, when I was a little girl all I wanted was curly hair” they’d coo. But they have no idea how hard being a natural curly head can be. Because it’s fun from afar, but far from fun when you’re born with it.

Here are 15 (of the trillion) reasons why people with naturally curly hair can sometimes hate what their mamas gave them.

1) Don’t touch my hair. The funny thing with fuzzy things is that people are always wanting to touch them. I can’t go a day without someone asking if they can touch my hair or bounce a curl. But what people don’t understand is that really curly hair is similar to those push-pin toys where you stick your hand in and it moulds to that shape. I’d love to let you touch it, I really would, but then the side of my head would look like this for the rest of the day:

Curly Hair Problems

2) Only use a dime-sized dollop of conditioner. LOL. Ya right.

3) Can’t undo an up-do. When you have curly hair, you get one chance to style your hair and that’s it for the day. If you put it in a ponytail or a bun, you had better like it because that topknot is not coming out until your next hair wash (if you try to take the elastic out, your hair stays frozen in place, or you have an extreme case of dent hair).

When I was younger I fantasized about having that lusciously-flowing hair that you see in movies – where the heroines take out their buns, shake their heads in a sexy slow-motion sort of way, and then smize at the camera like this:

 

I just have to live with the fact that I will NEVER. HAVE. GISELE HAIR.

4) Wear it big. As if there’s any other way. My straight-haired friends beg for me to rock my fro – “make it BIGGER” they say. Well a) my hair is never “flat”, and b) have you ever worn a clown wig 24/7? A full fro is itchy, hot, and results in perma-blinders due to side frizz – which could be a safety hazard when you think about it.

5) Hair trend fails. Crimped hair, beachy waves, blunt bangs. Curly hairs just can’t pull it off.

6) Perm does not = permanent. “Oh I totally understand why you hate your curls, I had a perm once and…” Shut up. No you don’t know.

7) I whip my hair back and forth. No I don’t, because it’s curly and it doesn’t move. I can’t flirtatiously toss my tresses, or run my fingers through my mane, because my fingers would get stuck.

8) The well-kept secret that is the morning afro. You think my hair is big? Well you ain’t seen nothing my friend. Because nothing compares to the poof of my morning afro – unfortunately for you, it’s only for the eyes of my closest friends and family (if they’re lucky enough to see it).

9) Is that your natural hair? Yep (lie). I tell people that I wake up with natural ringlets in my hair but anyone with naturally curly hair knows that this is a blatant lie. It takes product and manual finger twirling to rock this look.

10) Hair straightening and then wanting your natural curls back. The best way to make us love our natural curls, is to take them away. I can’t count how many times I’ve chemically-straightened my hair, only to realize that I miss my curls when they’re gone. It’s a vicious cycle.

11) Blame it on the rain. Living in Raincouver with naturally-curly hair makes “a good hair day” an impossible mission. I can tame my frizz and twirl my ringlets until the cows come home, but one step outside and it’s back to a lion’s mane in minutes.

12) Triangle hair. Growing out curly hair means enduring the triangular grow-out stage. Many curly heads don’t make it past this point when growing out their hair, and end up cutting it shorter again, never exceeding a certain hair length for this very reason:

Curly Hair Problems

13) Like a box of chocolates. Curly hair is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you’re going to get – and not in a good way. Curls have a mind of their own – each and every one of them.

14) Men love it by day, but hate it at night. Some men love women with big curly hair! But at night, when you snuggle in for a good night’s sleep, they don’t stop complaining about the frizzy bits that tickle their faces. Boo-fricking-hoo.

15) No rest for the curly. Sleeping, relaxing, or even leaning your head back on the headrest in the car = all ways to ruin your ‘do when you have curls. Because if you do…(see #1).

Want to join me on my never-ending quest to find the perfect curly hairdo? Follow my Pinterest Board: Big Hair, Don’t Care.

 

5 Reasons To Love VONBON {Review & Giveaway}

We’ve recently welcomed our third baby into the world, and while we love her to bits, I think she sometimes feels a little neglected. She often spends the entire day in her pyjamas, and while she’s only 4 months old,  I feel like she’s already starting to notice the lack of variety in her wardrobe.

I had been admiring VONBON Childrens Apparel for a long time through my Instagram and Facebook feeds, and was so excited when a little package full of beautifully-wrapped, organic goodies arrived at the door for my little girl.

VONBON

Cloey looked absolutely adorable in her new trendy garb, and I was pleased to discover that all of their products are not only high-quality and eco-friendly, but also fashionable and unique! After having enjoyed the VONBON experience firsthand, I thought I would share with you 5 reasons to love VONBON:

1) VONBON IS STYLISH. Incorporating modern designs with neutral colour palettes, VONBON products are perfect for any age, gender, and lifestyle. Their designs are fresh, and offer a fashion-forward alternative to the drab, colourless children’s clothes that are marketed as “gender neutral” in most shops.

2) VONBON IS LOCAL. I love supporting local businesses, and their products and apparel are designed and crafted right here in beautiful Vancouver, BC.

3) VONBON IS ORGANIC. Their products are made using certified organic cotton, and their fabrics are carefully crafted using water-based inks, making them safe for the environment and your little one’s sensitive skin.

VONBON

4) VONBON IS QUALITY. From the personalized notes that arrive with their orders, to the high-quality, premium fabrics and designs they use, their little touches make them a truly unique and stylish line of clothing.

5) VONBON IS UNIQUE. Each pattern is designed by the VONBON team, and the products have been created with the ability to mix-and-match every item, allowing their customers to create their own unique look and style.

VONBON 2

Not only do I love VONBON for my own little girl, but I think their products would make the perfect gift for baby showers, birthdays, and special occasions. Want to get your VONBON on?

EXCLUSIVE OFFER: Bits of Bee readers can enjoy a 15% off discount when using the code “BITSOFBEE”. Click on the image below to start shopping now. Note: Offer only valid from October 7, 2014 – October 31, 2014.

VONBON

WIN a $30 VONBON Gift Card: Enter below for a chance to win a gift card to VONBON Childrens Apparel!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

The Evolution of Barbie

First launched in 1959 by Mattel Inc., Barbie has been the centre of controversy in the toy industry for over half a century. Most notably criticized for her unrealistic female body proportions, Barbie has been simultaneously the most loved and most hated doll on the market since her inception.

Last year, a new version of the doll was developed, supposedly representing the “realistic body proportions” of an average 19-year-old American woman. Devised by a man named Nickolay Lamm and with the help of former Vice President of Manufacturing at Mattel, Robert Rambeau, the lifelike doll – named Lammily – has become a viral image across the world.

With immense interest from potential customers to bring the doll to market, Lamm has launched a crowdfunding campaign, to make his dreams of an all-natural version of Barbie, a reality. So far, his campaign has received funds from 7,140 backers, totalling over $241,000 in funding (more than doubling his original goal of $95,000). With just under a month left, I’m sure his campaign will bring in closer to three times his original goal.

Barbie old and new

Barbie as we’ve known her – then and now
Image Source

 

New Barbie

The new, more realistic Barbie, Lammily
Image Source

My Thoughts On The New Barbie 

While I respect and value the opinions of parents who have been outraged by the unrealistic proportions of Barbie’s tiny body, I’m personally not affected by it. I’d like to think that my children will grow up to love themselves as they are – to see themselves as uniquely beautiful beings as a result of my parenting, not as a result of the toys with which they play. The lessons they learn about true beauty will hopefully come from the encouragement and education they receive from the positive influencers in their lives – the parents, teachers, and real role models that are out there changing the world with their powerful and inspiring minds.

If I were to criticize the toys they play with for being “unrealistic”, then wouldn’t it be fair to equally judge Lalaloopsy dolls for having such unrealistically large saucer eyes and frail and lanky limbs? And should I be concerned about the fact that my son envies the superhuman strength and ability to fly that his beloved superheroes possess? Surely his self image won’t be corrupted because he won’t grow to look like the image portrayed by Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, right?

While I do have limitations in my household around certain types of toys that are or aren’t allowed (i.e.: I have a strict no guns policy – again, no judgement to others, it is just something that I am sensitive to in my household), I don’t think that my daughter’s self image will be altered by whether or not her dolls have Dolly Parton waists and size M super racks, or if they look like the average mom body types with B-cup sports bras.

While I love the idea of promoting healthy body images, I likely will not buy this doll.

What are your thoughts on the “new and improved” Barbie? Will you buy it?

5 Random Facts About The Original Barbie

1) Barbie’s official birthday is March 9, 1959 – marking the day the fashion doll made her first public appearance at a toy fair in New York.

2) Barbie was originally available in two versions – as a blonde and a brunette. She wore a zebra-print one-piece swimsuit, and her hair in a topknot ponytail.

3) In 1971 the eyes of Barbie were drastically redesigned – from a demure side glance, to a forward-facing doe-eyed stare.

4) Originally named Bild Lilli, the German fashion figurine was redesigned by Mattel President Ruth Handler, who renamed the iconic toy “Barbie”, after her daughter Barbara.

5) Since her inception, there have been over 2,300 versions of the world’s most popular doll.

To learn more about the history of Barbie, check out: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barbie

 

An Evening With Nicole Bridger

I first discovered Nicole Bridger when she did a fashion show at last year’s Leading Moms event. She had used moms as models, and every single one of her pieces looked so comfortable, and so fabulous on each of the mommy models (all of different shapes and sizes). I was mesmerized, and wanted to fill my closet with every single outfit I saw.
Then earlier this year I was invited to one of her warehouse sales. It was my first hands-on experience with her clothing – I was able to feel the soft fabrics, and when I tried on her pieces, they all seemed to fit comfortably, hugging my curves in all the right places. I left with an arm full of clothes that I wear regularly.
Last night, we at Vancouver Mom hosted a special evening with the local fashion designer at her lovely store on West 4th Ave. It was an opportunity to bring some of our top mom bloggers together to reconnect, and for Nicole to showcase her latest pieces to an engaged audience of moms. We sipped on delicious iced teas from O5 Tea (I couldn’t stop going back for more hibiscus tea – so refreshing!), and munched on cookies while we browsed the racks.And the fabulous crowd of ladies were also treated to a little fashion show, showcasing some of Nicole’s latest pieces – and guess who was one of the models?

Photo Credit: Raj Thandhi of Pink Chai Style

My fellow Vancouver Mom co-workers and I had a blast doing quick outfit changes backstage, and doing model claps as we strutted our stuff down the makeshift fashion runway. I wanted to buy every single outfit that I wore!

Photo Credit: Raj Thandhi of Pink Chai Style

As the event came to a close, I browsed through the racks, trying on almost every single item in the store. I knew I wanted to take something home, but which outfit would I buy!? I hummed and hawed between a beautiful summer dress, and a casual everyday outfit. This is what I went home with, and I’m more than pleased with my purchase:

Photo Credit: Emma (my 6 year old, hence the angle)

These are seriously the most comfortable pants I have ever worn in my life. When I was trying them on, Nicole overheard me saying, “These pants are RIDICULOUS!”. She chuckled and said, “THAT’S what we should have called them, ‘Ridiculous Pants’!”. They’re actually called Relaxation Pants, paired with the lovely Loyal Top pictured above. Check out more of her fantastic line here: Shop Nicole Bridger.

I had a blast and was honoured to be a part of such a fun evening, and to be working with such an inspiring designer and brand. Learn more about Nicole below, and check out her store!


 Born and raised in Vancouver, Nicole received her BAA in fashion design from Ryerson University in Toronto ON. During an internship in London with Vivienne Westwood, Nicole learned the art of sculpting, draping and layering fabric. It was here that she began to realize that her talent for fashion design could also be used as a vehicle for positive social change.

In 2006, Nicole aligned herself with Chip Wilson, the owner of Lululemon. Together they founded Oqoqo, a pioneer in the North American eco-fashion market. After her experience nurturing the growth of Oqoqo, Nicole was poised to unite her passion for high fashion and eco-consciouness, and in 2008 she founded Nicole Bridger Design.

Nicole is the embodiment of Nicole Bridger Design. A mother and social entrepreneur, Nicole strives to make positive contributions to her community and environment through the products she creates and the people she connects with. She is fuelled by a desire to create clothes that make all women feel beautiful and unique.