Monday, December 2, 2013

a new holiday tradition, KINDNESS ELVES - innovative alternative to Elf on a Shelf

a friend of mine shard a blog post on Facebook recently about Kindness Elves, and I almost fell over myself in love with the idea! the creator of this amazing idea is Anna, of The Imagination Tree

it's an innovative alternative to Elf on a Shelf,
not that there's anything wrong with that (couldn't help myself!)

you all know by now how much we LOVE innovative alternatives, as we've created a WHOLE line of baby clothes around that concept. the best part is, it's using the same fun, humor and creativity, as Elf on a Shelf, to delight your child, and help them to be the best they can be, and meanwhile you're engaged and embracing the true spirit of the holiday season together. 

it's a WIN. 

we hit up Etsy, immediately, and found these awesome little cutie elves from Whispering Oaks

we've got lost of kind activities planned for these little ones, and our little ones! 

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Easy like sunday morning? Is your morning more beautiful than you think?

Last week, mommy shorts blogged about this photo shoot.  I don't normally comment on posts. Ever. Which is silly because I LOVE it when people comment on mine!! But, this one compelled me because it's near and dear to my heart. I'm not sure if it was fully intended to communicate this way, but what this post read to me was about the realization, the real seeing, of your beautiful moments in your day when you can shift your perspective just a tad. Through these photos, the author was able to see all those little moments through an other's eyes, and ultimately acknowledge and see it for herself. That is what embracing the moment, our mission, is all about. I cannot change the pace of life, or reorganize the flow of your day. But, I can bring you moments of opportunity. I can bring comfort and ease to the 15-100 diaper changes and care-taking moments, so you can more easily embrace that moment with your baby - focused on that sweet face, those little fingers, thigh rolls, and soft bellies. 

That said, it takes one to know one, right? It became my mission to strengthen connections between parent and child through smart design, because I was that busy mom. NOT focused on the moments. I was that busy mom just getting through it all. I was that busy mom who couldn't see the forest for the trees. Then I had my ah-ha moment, and my perspective changed. That is not to say I'm all changed. DAILY, I remind myself and work at this.

moments from a typical weekend morning. coffee, reading, knitting and fighting dragons before 9am.

My comment: 
"Okay, so throwing my comment in the ring :) I work from home, and have just launched my own/first business. I'm up, get the kids up, morning milkies for them and coffee for me, snuggle on the couch and then things usually go south. My son demands breakfast to the tune of

"HEY?! Where are my cheerios?!!" and my daughter refuses it. "sigh. I'm just not hungry, mom." 

Then begins The Game of Clothes. She wants him to get dressed first, he wants her to get dressed first. This morning it's Him. He wants to be dressed on the couch. He wants me to pick out his clothes. I agree. I pick them out. As soon as I return with them, he jumps up and runs away from me to the other end of the couch...laughing.

"come on, buddy, let's get dressed now"
"HAHA, nooooooooooooo!"

and my panic button goes off because it's turned into a frown and whine face.

"look what I picked out for you!" 
"NO. I don't like that shirt."
"okay, go pick another one out."
"NO. YOU."

This goes on for some time until potentially he's melted down and/or I give up and turn my attention to HER. She's older and she knows that I haven't actually dressed him so technically it's NOT her turn yet. I'm not ashamed to say, I beg.

"please, honey, he needs to calm down and we all need to get going."

She has pity on me. After a few shoes changes, and fixing the placement of her pony tail 3x.

"not, there. THERE!"

She is dressed and begins to chase her undressed brother around the house. This distracts him and he doesn't even know I'm changing his clothes. Clock check. Yup, supposed to have left 5 minutes ago. Run to fridge, no lunch boxes. We both forgot. Leftover noodles, juice box, carrot sticks, cheese sticks. Done! throw those in the back packs and let's go! aaand, I'm in my jammies. Pull back hair in to ponytail, throw in jeans and a tee. Glance in mirror, run fingers under eyes. Good enough. Let's go!

Not so fast, mama! he wants to be carried downstairs and she forgot something in her room. Two trips to the car and she's gracefully, a la Ms Universe, coming down the stairs.


He's now gotten out of the car and has found some dirt to play in or puddle to jump in. Well if he can, she can! 

(let's go, let's go!!)

I pick up children that windmill their arms and legs in the direction of their new attention. In. Buckled. GO. 

School started 2 minutes ago. Adrenaline pumping, nail biting, I brace myself for THE LOOK. The late pass woman at Her school knows me too well. Dropping Him off, we're there too late, no adjustment time and he clings to me like a life raft.

20 minutes later, I've started my day an hour late. I haven't eaten, showered or brushed my teeth. Sadly, this IS 75% of the time. you'd think I'd do myself a favor now and again...make sure bags are packed, get up and shower first, etc. I guess I'm into self sabotage! ;)

That said, there are the little moments. Morning hugs as they cling to me when they first wake, "hi, mama." Kissing my son's belly as I dress him another one of them. When he stands in front of me, it's right in my eye line. Smelling my daughter's hair as I brush it and kissing her cheeks as she proudly smiles at me in the mirror. [addendum: since writing this comment, I can think of so many more!] I really appreciated this post. Yes, there are so many beautiful moments to the morning. Maybe I'll put on opera during our car chase of a morning tomorrow! :)"

Happy Sunday all! If you haven't started school already (our first day is tomorrow), enjoy the moments during your car chase!! Focus on those! :) 


Tuesday, June 25, 2013

every sweaty little head, and all the dirty little feet

last year was our first summer "out of school." short days and part-time weeks. it seemed as though the whole summer was stretched out before me. long, sunny days of laughter, pool and play.

enter, reality.

i was late. every day. i was juggling our line launch, play dates, general entertainment and hygiene. no one ever got a big enough piece of me. worst of all, the summer flew by before i knew it.

near and dear to my heart is embracing the moment. belle&beanzer is built on that foundational feeling and action. so... this summer i'm committed to a different reality.

enter, adventure friday!!

every friday will bring a new and spontaneous adventure, even if it's just our back yard. it's about being present and enjoying this time. right now. my family and i will never be who we are right. now. i want to savor every sweaty little head and all the dirty little feet.

i'll be posting our little adventures and hope it will inspire your family to create space & opportunity for connection with each other!

how are you embracing the moment this summer? i'd love to hear from you!


Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Embracing Tubby Time - The antics make it all worth it!!

I've been thinking a lot about all them moments that make up a day. Some of them sort of suck. Some of them you go to your mental happy place and push through. If you've read my story, you sooo know I get it.

Tubby time shouldn't be one of those times. The books, and product pics talk about the soothing warm water, bubbles clinging to chubby little arms and cheeks, and sweet giggles as you gently bath your children and they ease into calmness as they prepare to go to sleep.

from my instagram feed @belleandbeanzer

Tubby time, in our home, has become the time the kids act like we just gave them lines of cocaine.
Screeches reaching never dreamed of ear shattering notes, flooded bathroom floors, wash cloth & toy fights with laughter and tears, non-verbal crazy talk, and lots of pretending to be giant whales.

Last night, wI had briefly stepped from the room (yes, I was hiding), and was listening to my husband and kids...

"Okay, come on, let's get our jammies on..."

"but we can't move! we're stuck! we're rocks!"
(hidden under their towels on the floor in the hallway)

"come on guys, it's jammie time..."

"we're rocks!! I'm Jonah Rock!"

and then...

"oh, Jonah Rock, huh??"


"hmm, so I guess I have to move this VERY heavy rock. Wow, it's so big...maybe I'll just swing it over my shoulder..."

"no!! It's not a rock!! It's ME... Jonah!!" followed by laughter from both the boys

meanwhile my daughter is still curled up on the floor giggling maniacally under her towel, waiting for her turn to be "discovered" she's still really our little peanut-girl.

guess what? it took 1 minute to pretend they were rocks and they got dressed. why not embrace it and let my kids be rocks? embracing it changed the whole event from a struggle to connection.

In other news! belle&beanzer will be at the Brooklyn BabyFest this weekend!! YAHOO!! Check out our invite on our FB Page, and our Newsletter for more details!!


Friday, February 22, 2013

Go on, Give a little bit of your love today!

i don't know how I missed this. thanks to my mom for sharing it with me. 
I. LOVE. this video and had to share it and give a little love to you all. 

today marks the beginning of the last week of the Mommy Shorts and belle&beanzer instagram contest! winners will be announced next friday!! watch this video, get inspired to give a little of your love, go be a little love photo journalist and inspire others to share their love themed photos as well!

click here for Mommy Shorts blog post with info about the contest and the belle&beanzer baby clothes gift set prize

because I'm feeling so giving of my love today, here is the entry info, below: 

qll entries must be uploaded to Instagram with the hashtag #instashorts_love and tagging @belleandbeanzer. also, and this is important, you must follow both @mommyshorts and @belleandbeanzer to win.
every Friday, Mommy Shorts will feature her four favorite photographs posted to the #instashorts_love hashtag. this way you will find some really inspiring mom and dad photographers to follow.
the winner of the prize will ultimately be selected at random. 
the contest is open internationally (YAY!), you can tag up to one image a day (new or old shots accepted) and one winner will be announced on Friday, March 1st.
both mommy shorts and I have a very fancy live feed of the contest posted here and here. 
last but not least, belle&beanzer is offering a 20% discount to anyone who does not like their odds in the contest :)
ok, go now... go watch the video below, take photos, and enter the instagram contest. we cannot wait to see!! 


Monday, February 4, 2013

Spreading the love: instagram contest with Mommy Shorts and custom designed baby giftset giveaway from belle&beanzer!

we are SO so so so sooo excited to announce that we are partnering with Mommy Shorts in an instagram photo contest and the winner...? yup! the winner gets a custom designed baby gift set from belle&beanzer!!

see why we're so excited? when we held our embracing the moment photo contest last fall, it's was a non stop feel good event of pictures and families embracing the moment together.

Mommy Shorts main purpose of her instagram contest is "to create a community of instagramming parents. Parents that don't just show their kids looking picture perfect, but also to show the ups and downs of raising little terrors too." hey, our message is embracing the moment. but, let's be clear that not all moments are "perfect." in fact, in our estimation the ones we remember the most are rarely the ones that fit perfectly. Mommy Shorts wants us to find eachother and get inspired to take more creative pictures of our kids. connecting families, and capturing moments - WE. LOVE. THAT!

so, here's how...first, you can thoroughly enjoy Mommy Shorts blog post today, learn a little dark secret from my past and read all about the entry rules. which couldn't be easier and hilarious, as always.

to enter, upload a photo with a LOVE THEME to Instagram, using the hashtag #instashorts_love  and tagging @belleandbeanzer. also, and this is important, you must follow both @mommyshorts and @belleandbeanzer to win.

every Friday, Mommy Shorts will feature her four favorite photographs posted to the #instashorts_love hashtag. this way you will find some really inspiring mom and dad photographers to follow. we are already so inspired by the photographs that have been entered!

the winner of the prize will ultimately be selected at random, so it's not just only the best photogaphers that have a shot at winning. here's what you will get...

winner receives this gift set featured on Mommy Shorts very own, Harlow. I know, insanity cute, right? this baby gift set includes a romper ($44), a big love blanket ($63), a matching heart little lovie ($13) and the booties ($16)… and we're designing a one-of-a-kind graphic for the romper, JUST for this giveaway!
the contest is open internationally, and you can tag up to one image a day (keep reposting, or get creative and share a new pic daily). one winner will be announced on Friday, March 1st. that's it. see? easy!
Mommy Shorts has an awesome live feed of the contest post here. you can also see it via belle&beanzer posted here. our live feed hooks up with Mommy Shorts contest rules, post and feed, so there's no way to get lost :) 
ok, there you have it. go enter and enjoy! good luck! 


Friday, February 1, 2013 - instagram contest with giveaway! art as featured on our baby girl romper 

just a little sneak preview for what is ahead next week.
we are super excited and honored to have been asked to participate as the prize
for an instagram photo contest via one of our favorite blogs we follow!
your creative eye. your share. your win. 
wait for it...all starts on Monday!

have a great weekend!


Monday, January 28, 2013

Being Hands ON while being Hands Free

@belleanbeanzer easy back elastic opening available in romper and roo styles

@belleandbeanzer's big love blanket, shaped like a heart with "wings" making it an easy extension of you while you nurse,  an easy swaddle, play/changer mat and the unique "heart shape" design is perfect for strollers: doesn't get caught in the wheels!
we love this post below (via @handsfreemama). it's a simple reminder that we can create powerful opportunities for connecting even when were crazy busy. belle&beanzer believes that dressing your child is an intimate time of connection and we design opportunities for that into our line by creating garments that are easy (and soft, sweet and meant to last) 

this post is great reminder to create time where you are giving full undivided attention when connecting with your children. here's the added bonus, YOU benefit too! a few minutes fully tapped into your child is like a big gulp of feel good. you're bound to feel refreshed, more a live and just happy.  


"Putting away the electronic devices during 3 specific times in my children's day has made a huge impact on my ability to grasp the moments that matter. I frequently revisit these words by Dr. Janet Lansbury to remind myself of these 3 important times. She writes, 

" ... this study affirms that our children are especially desirous of our attention at certain sensitive times:

* when we reconnect after a separation
* when they are performing or exerting themselves (like on the soccer field)
* during meals

When parents text on the car ride home, check email at the soccer game, or are glued to their laptops during social or intimate activities like mealtimes, they aren’t providing the connectivity a child needs.

Physical proximity to a loved one is not enough for any of us. Even our newborn infants know the difference between the distracted parent and one who is really with them. Our spouses, friends and older family members might ask us to turn off our devices. As the study shows, our children probably won’t. Our babies can’t ...

Honest acknowledgement of this issue can only make our lives better. Since reading the article, I’ve already become more conscious of setting some new boundaries, carving out more sacred time with my kids. The effort it takes me to unplug is making me value the time with my children even more — it feels all the more special.

Modern technology is unquestionably a blessing. And its biggest gift of all is the realization that life’s best moments happen when we can put it away. "
-Dr. Janet Lansbury

Click the link to be reminded of the most important times to be "Hands Free." May it offer a chance to grasp a precious hello, a smile from the field, and meaningful dinner conversation in the week ahead."


Friday, January 25, 2013

Puttin' the love in it! LOVE goes with anything!

anyone else been battling a cold/flu season? just teetering on feeling really bad, but not quite?
nursing their children back to health? think you're over it, just to get slammed again?
avoiding their bffs so you don't chance it... repeat scenario? 

we have. 

i found this in ava's room on a tour of duty picking up, wiping down, dropping off...

the rules when you're SICK
1. do not drink much milk (drink much milk was a tough combo to sound out)
2. do not eat sugar
3. drink special juice (more on that in a minute)
4. rest
5. eat breakfast
6. open, as needed

we decided to make a nice healthy spicy vegetarian soup to feed our bodies with good stuff. i still haven't convinced Ava to try it, but she liked making it, adding her own special ingredient!

"mama, i'm puttin' the love in. ...because love goes with anything"

i'm including our recipe for "special juice" that I make for the kids when they're
under the weather or not feeling well. both of them really enjoy it, and enjoy making it.
i'm obligated to let you know that i am not remotely a doctor or advising anyone ;) 

special juice
1 cup of brewed and cool throat coat tea.
mix equal parts: tea, coconut water, apple juice (or juice they like)
fill child's cup 3/4 the way with mixture and add: 
vitamin D drop
children's liquid multivitamin
elderberry syrup
pro biotic
a little mix or shake and enjoy! 

speaking of puttin' the love in it! we are LOVING what is coming up for rest of this winter and spring!! FUN share ahead! think uplifting, inspired, and colorful! 

happy friday, all!


Monday, January 21, 2013

ask yourself a question

this biggest high of 2012 was when the boxes of production arrived for our holiday launch line arrived. i was excited, really, really excited! i had been working on this since the winter of 2009. but, that paled in comparison to how my children reacted when I told them that was what all the boxes were.  It went something like this...

me: hey, guys, see all those boxes? those are the baby clothes mommy has been working on.
ava & jonah: WHAT?!! CAN WE SEE? (jumping up and down and clapping)
me: of course! 
~ hear road runner meep-meep and a trail of dust as the kids tear off for the the boxes 
me: okay, hang on, let me get there too
 jonah (3yr): mommy! they're here! I can't believe they're finally here!!
ava, ava!! we're going to open the boxes!! I can't believe it! 
me: pulling the VERY first romper from a box and holding the finished product in my hands
ava (6yr): whips said romper out of my hands...
oh. my. god. MOMMY!! it is so, so, so, so adorable!!...hugs romper
me: speechless. touched BEYOND belief. (thank you, babies!!)

here's the thing, i knew they knew what I was doing. many an afternoon Ava would be drawing at her desk, and I am mine with Jonah on my lap. what i never anticipated was how invested THEY were in all of this.

i started this business to pursue a dream doing something i love & have passion for. creatively fulfill a gap & real need in the childrens/childrenswear market. build a business with a new life integrated business model. do all this while being present & connected with my own family. 

it hasn't always been easy, we have to embrace all the moments, right. not just the awesome ones :) 
but, wow... that moment...that was a BIG one.

2012 recap: dream - actively being pursued. gap - fulfilling it.
building business - building. present with my family - more than I realized.  

Q: what do we desire at belle&beanzer? 
A: to strengthen the connection between parent and child through smart design. to bring inspired products with purpose and integrity to families. to be in-service to families by solving real every day stress. by solving those problems, through smart design, to create opportunities for families to embrace the moment and connect. 

happy new year everyone! we are very excited to introduce more awesome stuff from belle&beanzer this year! new artwork is soon to be uploaded on our website, spring 2013 will be coming in soon, holiday 2013 samples on it's heels, attending the trade shows this year... big fun, ahead!! 

enjoy this video, below, (thanks, mom!) and answer for yourself  (we'd love to see your comments) 
what if money were no object - what do you desire?