Different Strokes

May 31st, 2012

Sweet kiddie book alert: A Little Different All Perfect.

The lesson-teaching tome tells kids not to judge people for how they look—but does it in a way that’s fun and engaging.

(Read: not preachy or soap-boxy.)

In the days of bullying, it’s a great way to introduce your little ones to fact that we’re all different.

This major life lesson life is illustrated when a little foal is made fun of by the other farm animals for having one leg that is bigger than the other.

Your wee ones will feel for the little foal (thus understanding his plight, emotionally) and when the gang switches its focus from his leg to all of the beautiful and perfect things he is, they’ll become empowered to do the same in their own lives.

In A Little Different All Perfect, lessons like think before you speak, nobody’s perfect and don’t tease are taught in an age-appropriate and endearing way.

The sooner our kids can nail this concept, the happier they’ll be—and that goes for the parents too.

For your copy, go to www.boo-boobear.org.

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The Stuff Doggy Dreams are Made of

May 30th, 2012

My mom recently got a new puppy—and I can only imagine what spoils await this little fluffball, considering her penchant for purchasing the latest and greatest fill-in-the-blank-here.

She will, for sure, flip when she sees this post about the designer dog beds from Bling Bling Puppy.

From the Antique Chic Bed to the Blue Toile Tuffet Bed to The Hollywood Bed, each one is more fabulous than the next.

Some are pretty pricey but they’re still worth checking out (and drooling over).

Plus, TFG readers get 10% off with code TFGPUPPY.

For more dreamy doggy must-haves, go to www.BlingBlingPuppy.com.

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Nine of the Times

May 29th, 2012

Maternity style escapes many of us.

Why?

Well, many a mama-to-be are daunted by the high prices of something they’ll wear for only a short period of time.

As such, they try to make do with what they have or, worse, wear their man’s clothing.

Listen up, ladies: We urge you to do more than just wear something (anything) that seems to fit you during your pregnancy.

This is your time and you deserve to look your best. And let’s face it: looking good means feeling good too.

So, skip the sweatpants and click on over to Nine Little Months for gently used maternity wear on the cheap.

This pregnancy fashion saver stocks all the staples, from sexy maternity jeans to a go-to LBD (or LWD).

Finally, maternity fashion that fits—your body and your lifestyle.

A word to the style wise: When you see something that strikes your fancy, scoop it up. There’s only one of each item on the site.

To dress your pregnancy for success, go to www.NineLittleMonths.com.

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Boys to Men

May 25th, 2012

I read an interesting piece in the Huffington Post on the (sad) state of men today.

It’s definitely a gender in flux lately.

What to do?

Let boys be boys—whatever that means to that particular boy.

We must engage our sons (and daughters too, for that matter) and guide them to succeed via their natural abilities to the levels that we, as their parents, recognize they are capable of achieving.

It’s called parenting, folks, and it’s a tall order but if we want to raise up our boys to be men, then we must commit to it, hard work and all.

Now off of my soap box and on to something that’s easy: Dressing Junior in a way that keeps him feeling good about himself so he can get out there and thrive.

The Boy’s Store is the go-to for funky and fun boy’s clothing and accessories.

From newborn to teenager, your handsome devil can rock cool looks that you’ll dig (read: find appropriate) too.

For the best in boy’s wear, go to www.TheBoysStore.biz.

Get 20% off (excludes gift certificates) with code TFG2012.

 

 

 

 

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Pick Up Sticks

May 24th, 2012

Just in time for Memorial Day, our friends at Relish, a god-send of an online meal-planning (and sanity-saving) service that is able to turn the “night-after-night routine into easy, inspired, can-do dinners,” gives us the scoop on spiking up the yummy this weekend:

Kebabs make outdoor cooking easy, portable and downright tasty … yet they do have their challenges.

The best skewer length is the 12-inch skewer because it fits all you would need for one entrée portion while the shorter skewers are perfect for appetizer portions.

Bamboo skewers are great because they’re inexpensive, disposable and they don’t get as hot as the metal ones. It’s very important that you soak them in water for at least 30 minutes before adding the food to them. If you don’t, you could find yourself with flaming sticks and that’s never a good thing!

When skewering your food, try to leave a little room between the meat so it will cook evenly and avoid the spinning culprits like zucchini slices, new potatoes and button mushrooms. Cherry tomatoes rarely do well on the skewer so consider doing special skewers with only the tomatoes.

For fun, check out the circular skewers that fit beautifully on a plate and add a little flair to the old shish kebab. They have them at Amazon and many specialty cooking stores.

For more great tips or to take your dinnertime crunch from uh-oh to oh-yeah, go to www.relishrelish.com.

Get 15% off (the already super affordable monthly subscription) with code GROOVE.

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Good, Clean Fun—on a Stick

May 23rd, 2012

After six-and-a-half years, we gals of the Groove have seen it all.

So, when we come across something that really strikes our fancy, we have to share it with you.

We are totally loving Soapsicles—for our families and as summertime hostess gifts.

What are they? Soap on a stick, made to look like Popsicle (or ice pops, as it were).

Simple but so much fun!

Plus, they’re practical too since the stick makes it easy for little hands to grasp.

We found them at www.PrincessandthePeas.com (amongst a whole host of other fabulous and unique things).

So fresh, so clean bonus: Get 10% off with code TFG10.

 

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Editor’s Picks: TFG Deputy Editor and Beauty Director Chelsea Kaplan’s Best of May

May 22nd, 2012

Mutsy 4 Rider Light Stroller in “Team Caribbean” 

When you’ve got an infant or toddler, a trip to the Caribbean isn’t usually in the cards (unless you’ve got some really awesome family members who can babysit). The next best thing to a beach vacation when you’ve got a little one: a stroll in this cool, Caribbean teal-colored stroller. A lighter-weight version of Mutsy’s 4Rider, it has durable tires on jaunty spoked wheels for even more maneuverability, so it’s perfect for city streets or, when you’re ready – beach sand. ($569, mutsy.com)

Chic (Really!!) Diaper Bags

If I had a dollar for every time someone asked me to recommend a truly cool-looking, reasonably-priced, functional diaper bag, I could probably hook myself up with a Gucci version! I always advise checking out StorkSak’s “Kate” in seasonless black patent leather and for something a little more sophisticated, StorkSak’s “Sofia” in black, tan or taupe leather. Both have just ample (but not too many) inner and outer pockets, long and short straps (essential for carrying by hand or slinging over stroller handles), but most importantly, they don’t look one bit dorky. If you’re looking for more color or whimsy, I adore the Jonathan Adler for Skip Hop Duo bags and bet you will too! (Kate and Sofia bags, $210 and $398, storksak.com and Duo bag, $75, target.com)

Thakoon for NARS nail polish in Amchoor 

The awesome thing about nail polish is that it allows you to make trendy fashion statement with virtually no commitment – financial or otherwise. You might not want to splurge on a trendy neon pair of shoes for a couple hundred bucks, but hooking yourself up with a bottle of fluorescent yellow polish won’t break the bank. Bonus: if you find that rocking bright fingertips and toes isn’t your things, you can take it off no problem. My favorite fun, trendy shade for spring is this bright yellow from super-hot designer Thakoon’s collaboration with NARS. It’s a limited-edition color, so if it looks like your thing too, scoop it up asap! ($18, sephora.com)

If you end up purchasing a bottle, you can enter to win an exclusive Thakoon-designed scarf (and more!) by uploading a photo of your lips and nails onto Instagram using the hashtag #NARSThakoon.

 

 

 

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The Father’s Day Files: The Perfect Dad-to-be Gift

May 21st, 2012

Moms-to-be get a whole lot of attention (and they deserve it, of course) but you’ve got to give Dad a little love too.

This Father’s Day, hook your man up with some gear of his very own, courtesy DaddyScrubs, a fave of famous dads like Antonio Sabato Jr., Donald Trump Jr. and Kevin James.

The DaddySwag Gift Set does it all by carrying the fab father from pregnancy to Pop with everything he needs to get his due respect in style, including:

  • DaddyScrubs (in navy): A set of handsome scrubs that prominently and proudly sport his new name (Daddy, that is) and keep him comfy while he’s at the ready
  • I’m the Daddy tee (in white): The classic t-shirt gets an upgrade, so he can show off his latest and greatest role after the bebe arrives
  • I’m the Daddy hat (in navy): The perfect sunny day (or no-time-to-shower-because-he-was-hanging-with-the-baby-instead) accessory
  • I’m the Daddy coffee mug: A must-have for all new dads when coffee becomes their daily savior (thank you, night feedings)
  • 3 pens and stickers

At just $79.95 minus 15% off with the code familygroove, we cannot think of a better gift for the daddy-to-be.

Got a new dad in your midst? Check out the dapper diaper bags, hot hoodies and other cool goodies for him at www.DaddyScrubs.com

 

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Little Pim’s Lesson of the Month

May 18th, 2012

If you knew you could do one activity with your child that would enhance their cognitive skills, give them an advantage in school and increase their chances of professional success, wouldn’t you do it?

That’s what it means to introduce your child to a second language before the age of six.

Here our friends at Little Pim, makers of fun foreign language kits for kids, gives you tips on how you can easily and inexpensively start your child’s foreign language learning adventure.

1. Expose your children to CDs, DVDs and games in the language you want them to learn. Once they learn a few words, reinforce them frequently (”where is le ballon?” or “can you bring la leche to the table?”).

2. Build foreign language learning into their routine. Set a specific day, or time of day, for language learning so your children get regular exposure. Some families speak the language at breakfast, right before bed or, for the little ones, at bath time.

3. Read books that contain foreign language words or play with language flash cards together.

4. Make up games that help your child remember the words they are learning. For example, you can play “I spy” and insert foreign language words (“I spy un ballon rouge”) or, see how many objects at the dinner table you can name in the language they are learning.

5. Find places on the map where language is spoken and talk to them about it (Italy is where Italian is spoken; China is where Chinese is spoken, etc.). Have your friends, family members, and babysitters tell them about trips they have taken to these countries and what they saw there. Buy map placemats and discuss the featured countries/languages at mealtime.

6. Expose your kids to children who are native speakers of other languages and encourage them to use their vocabulary to communicate with their peers. You can research foreign language play groups through your mommy network.

7. Finally, exclaim with delight when your child uses her or his second language, and make sure your kids hear you telling friends and family about their foreign language learning. Your pride will be their best motivator!

For more great ways to get your wee ones to say oui to a foreign language, go to www.LittlePim.com.

Get 20% off with code PIMGROOVE.

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Sun 101

May 17th, 2012

The sunny folks at UV Skinz, sponsors of our May giveaway, gave us some need-to-know sun facts and we knew we need to share them with our readers.

Feast your peepers on the below and then get protected so you can really, truly enjoy your season in the sun.

Sun by he Numbers:

  • Over 2 million cases of skin cancer will be diagnosed this year
  • One in five Americans will contract skin cancer during their lives
  • While many common cancer rates are falling, the melanoma rate continues to grow at a rate faster than that of any of the seven most common cancers. Between 1992 and 2004, melanoma incidence increased 45%.
  • One bad sunburn in childhood doubles the risk of melanoma later in life

What is the difference between UVA and UVB rays?

UVA rays penetrate deeply, damaging the skin’s connective tissues leading to premature aging and contributing to skin cancer development while UVB rays are the primary cause of sunburns and contributor to skin cancer development

Make sure your sunscreen is a “broad spectrum” sunscreen which protects against both UVA and UVB rays.

Are the sun’s rays more intense at higher altitudes?

UV radiation increases 4% for every 1000 foot increase in elevation (i.e. UV radiation is 20% more intense at 5000 feet than at sea level)

Can I get sunburned from the sun reflecting on a surface?

UV rays that are reflected can be just as damaging as direct exposure:

  • Sand/concrete reflects 25% UV radiation
  • Snow reflects 85% UV radiation
  • Water reflects 100% UV radiation

What to look for in your skin?

Please get checked out by your dermatologist if you are concerned about any of the following mole characteristics (ABCDEFG).

A = Asymmetry. One side does not mirror the other.

B = Border. Question jagged borders.

C = Color. Look out for a variety of shades or all black spots.

D = Diameter. Bigger than a pencil eraser.

E = Evolve. Any change in size, shape, color, elevation, bleeding or itching.

F = Firm. Not soft to the touch.

G = Grow. Change in size, particular in a short amount of time.

Why UV Skinz?

Comfort – Our unique, breathable micro fiber blend is smooth against skin and our t-shirt like fit is not constricting

Cost effective — A garment costs about the same as one or two bottles of sunscreen, but lasts much longer

On average, a more effective UV blocker — Less prone to “missed spots” or “under application”

Dependable — Doesn’t wash off, rub off, dissipate, penetrate, or expire

Not messy — Spillproof

Not an irritant — Doesn’t cause eye irritation or acne

Quicker to apply — Covers large areas in a hurry. Slip on and go!

Chlorine resistant

To get your protection on, go to www.UVSkinz.com.

Get 25% off with code UVTFG25 (until June 30, 2012).

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Going Public

May 16th, 2012

Krinklz Baby, a line of unique handmade baby and toddler toys and accessories (teething toys, baby paper, roly cubes, burp cloths, blankets, words & letters) that crinkle to the touch, is getting out there in a big way!

Recently, Shine ran a round-up on gifts that moms love, featuring the fun baby gift go-to.

Plus, blogger and public relations gal Lisa Cocuzza named Krinklz Baby a top baby and mom fave on her “It’s a Glam Thing” site.

Want to get in this touchy-feely trend? Email PRIVATE SALE to erin at krinklzbaby.com to get a first look at new products and special deals.

 

 

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Dad to a Tee

May 15th, 2012

With Mother’s Day in the bag, it’s time to start thinking about the next biggie: Father’s Day.

Looking for a cute gift for dad that he can actually use—and that won’t break the bank?

Check out the fun tees from Urbanmist.

We especially like the organic short-sleeve variety, complete with tongue-in-cheek sayings like “Real Men Change Diapers,” “The Man Behind the Bump,” and “Hello, My Name is Daddy.”

AT $15.99 a pop minus 10% off with code urban10, you can outfit dad for his season in the sun.

For more top tees (for moms, grandparents, babies and kids), go to www.UrbanMist.com.

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Bring Good Things to Life

May 14th, 2012

Ready to do or redo Baby’s room?

An easy (and quick and affordable) way to refresh any style is to bring in one big, bold design element.

We love the life-sized eco-friendly wall decals from Pop & Lolli.

First of all, they had us at eco-friendly. Oh, and get this: They’re all made in the USA.

But what really drives the love home is the extensive (and awesome) collection of fun, inspiring designs that helps a child’s imagination come to life.

Design that does double duty to both please the parents’ aesthetic sense and motivate the minds of their minis?

Uh, yes, please.

For dynamic decals, go to www.PopandLolli.com.

 

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Daddy Time

May 11th, 2012

Okay, so we all know that Mother’s Day is Sunday but that doesn’t mean it’s not too early to start thinking about your main man.

We bet your daddy’ll dig the dashing doohickeys at Green Products and Gifts, including the Ski Wine Rack, Wine Barrel Pen, Wine Barrel Clock and Cornhole Game Board and more!

Eco-friendly, unique, sporty and oh-so handsome, give your Mister Mister a gift that’s as cool as he is.

For more top gifts, go to www.GreenProductsandGifts.com and get 10% off $50 or more  with code GFG10.

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The Look of Love

May 10th, 2012

Got the mid-spring momiform blues?

We feel you!

Give yourself a quick but effective mom-over with a piece (or two or three) from K & S Impressions.

The customized, hand-stamped, 100 percent sterling silver jewelry jazzes up those jeans and tee (or tank and Lululemons), keeping you looking fun and fresh (even if you’re faking it for now).

From the Autism Awareness Necklace to Stackable Rings (LOVE these rings!) with special names and dates engraved on them to the Renee Framed Vintage Charm Necklace in Single, Double or Triple, moms in need of a new look to love can rock an accessory that’s as stylish as it is sentimental.

The prices are super affordable and TFG readers get a whopping       20% off with code groove20.

The blues don’t suit you, Mama—but silver certainly does!

 

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