Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Review: Lately Lily

 We were recently sent a T-shirt from Lately Lily:
The Lately Lily brand story is interesting. Its creators are an illustrator and an apparel designer who conjured up a sweet character named Lily. The story of Lily is that she is the daughter of a photographer and magazine writer and she gets to travel the world. Her stories are played out on the t-shirts.

Does that make sense? Each shirt in the clothing line tells another chapter in Lily's travels. But the brand has an app in development and a deal for three physical books that will be out in 2013, along with an expanded line of shirts. I think the Lily story will be so much more interesting once the app and books are out, but in the meantime, the shirt is great (not necessarily for its character tie-in but) as a sweet item of child clothing.

What I love: the cotton is so soft, and the colors are bold, and the messages are positive and age appropriate.

What I less-than-love: the shirt is cut "girly," not boxy like a traditional tee but curvy. I don't think little girls need curve-hugging clothes. The shirts only come in even numbered sizes so my skinny size 5 girl is wearing a 6 and the curves aren't so apparent, but I don't think I'd want to put a size 6 girl in this shirt. Order a size up!

What I additionally love: this shirts are designed and manufactured in the USA. Always a good thing!

As shirts go, my sweet girl was so busy playing that she told me I should just "send it back," rather than get her to hold still for a quick photo shoot. But once we got it on her, she wouldn't take it off. In fact, at the end of the day she went to sleep in it instead of changing into a pajama shirt.

It is really soft -- and tagless, too.

The verdict: it's a nice shirt. Truthfully, though, I'm more interested in the upcoming book releases. Doesn't a female world traveler protagonist sound like a great fictional character to introduce to young readers? I hope I'll get a chance to see those books, and then maybe this shirt will have additional meaning to my girl. But even without any recognizable context, it's sweet, it's soft, it's vivid -- she's happy. It's a winner.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Creativity for Kids giveaway

When we were at the beach two weeks ago, we stayed, as we always do, in a hotel suite. The setup suits our young rambunctious family. We can prepare most of our meals in the kitchen, the kids have room to roam, and at the end of the day, they can go to sleep in one space and we can stay up in another. Booking that suite is one of the tricks that works best for us when we travel.

 Another is to bring projects with us. We had a couple hours of rain during our beach vacation, as we always seem to have, and the kids immediately go bonkers when they can see the beach and pool from our balcony but not go play in them. Luckily, this year, just before our trip I received a couple of Creativity for Kids craft kits to review, and I brought them with us to Ocean City.

On Tuesday's rain hour, we played with Feather Fashions:

It was a whole hair accessories kit. We made headbands and feather hair extensions and fancy ponytail holders and barrettes.


And on Wednesday's rain hour we played with Deluxe Glitter Art. Pro tip: when you do glitter projects in a hotel room anywhere, don't forget to lay down some newspaper.

Pro tip #2: when you forget to lay down the newspaper, be grateful that your toddler son is on vacation with you in addition to your crafting daughters. His baby wipes pick up glitter nicely, and since he's napping, he won't object at all.

We sometimes craft semi-nude. Well, not me. But some of my relations. I'm not naming names.

Each kit kept my two girls busy together for over an hour (with parental assistance). My girls are only 4 and 6 so some of that feather wrapping required some patience delicacy and dexterity, but in fairness the box says ages 7 and up. Regardless, these boxes rescued the brief weather-imperfect hours of our vacation. So we thought they were perfect.

In an ideal world, I'd love to set my kids before open-ended art inspiration all the time. Here's some blank paper and watercolors, that sort of thing. And we often do that kind of art together. But there are two reasons why I also love craft kits: 1) kids build confidence following examples; and 2) they're so convenient. They had everything inside that we needed and my girls were happy, not complaining at all about being stuck inside during the rain.

So! Ready to get your craft on? I have two kits to give away to one of you. You'll receive the same Deluxe Glitter Art set that we enjoyed as well as the Beach Buddies Shell Crafts kit. Thematic- I love it!

Want them? My oldest is starting first grade tomorrow. Leave me a comment about your creative traditions to celebrate the beginning of the school year. I'll let the random generator thingie pick a winner before I go to bed next Sunday. Sound good? Go!

The disclosure-y stuff: these two craft kits were sent to me by Mom Select Media as part of their Creativity for Kids campaign, and if you're my winner, they'll send them to you, too. Thanks, MSM and CfK- my daughters think you rock.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

SuperMe Backpack

Hey, so my sweet second girl, she's a wild one. She's been killing backpacks at the rate of about 2.5/year. Why? Because she always takes the shoulder strap and drapes it around her neck so that the back dangles behind her. It's her cape, she says, and never mind your concerns about her neck and strangulation. She's a superhero, so how could she get hurt?

(If you're thinking: that child = OY!, well, yes.)

So when the lovely lady behind SuperME offered me a superhero backpack to check out, well, yes.

Three words, friends: built-in cape. (Two words, maybe? Hmmm....)

Here it is in civilian mode, like Clark Kent before he hits the phone booth. Nothing to see here. Carry on.

But, oh, what is that flowing behind our superhero? And if you're looking closely, yes, that's really sister-of-the-superhero. She had a little backpack envy and wanted to take it out for a spin.

The ID card lives in a pocket that also holds an extra badge. They're interchangeable, just all velcro-ey on the back, and that's obvs super fun and requires a lot of decision-making before school. Also, I was able to fill out HERO NAME and CODE #: without help, but I asked my girl for input on what we should list as her SPECIAL ABILITIES. She rolled her eyes when she reminded me about firefighting and rainbow making. I should have known that.

The SuperME owner tells me they're designing more badges, so hopefully there will be one with a rainbow-painted firetruck soon.

Makes my little superhero happy: the cape flows out from its own pocket at the top of the bag.

Makes Mama happy: the reflective doohickeys in the sturdy clasps, the neoprene-ish material that insulates well and washes well, and the brand's reassurance that as a mama-owner herself, she made sure that all materials are lead-free and safe for children. As my friend Lori recently said to me (hi, Lori!): that's important, because just because it's not the food container directly and they have no reason to lick it...doesn't mean they won't be licking it.

Oh, yeah, this bag comes with a superhero mask, too. I can show you its pocket. The mask stayed at school. Apparently it had to, because after my girl was so excited about her new backpack that the bag itself was her show-and-tell, she left it in her cubby for all her friends to find time in the coming days for trying it on. You can see the masks on the SuperMe website, though, here.

There's the super-important cape pocket. Clark Kent has to re-emerge looking like just another reporter, right? And there's the (even more important) cubby hook. Superheroes should certainly be able to hang up their bags by themselves.

Buckled up. A lovely preschooler backpack.

And, one more stroll all casual around the yard. Maybe not all the neighbors have noticed her cape yet.

Intrigued? Shop for a SuperME bag here. Feeling lucky? My friend Jodi is giving one away here. Disclosure: SuperME gave us that rad bag for review. My girl thinks blogging is the coolest thing ever.