Warning: Creating default object from empty value in /home/blogsgi/public_html/wp-includes/ms-load.php on line 138
2009 August | giggle blogs | giggle Blogs

Archive: August 2009

August 31, 2009

The Sweetest Tweet

I bet you’re thinking this post it going to be about twitter. Nope, it’s actually about these adorable little birds that Lauren Alane creates and then photographs in entertaining scenarios. Teresa, our in-house graphic designer found this series on flickr, and we’re just loving these little creatures and hoping to one day greet them in our office.

laurenalane

August 30, 2009

Hospitality, Of Course!

How much do I love the Alma Crib? I found a reason to buy one even though our only child is heading into the second grade this fall!

Now, as my husband will be the first to tell you, a second grader doesn’t need a crib. Nor does he need most of the baby products that end up in our house in the name of product testing (never mind all the in-depth reviews, product tests and consumer reviews that we do for every product.) But the super-compact Alma takes up hardly any space, and it folds when not in use, so we can pull it out whenever we have visitors with a baby in tow. And what better excuse than a little bit of good, old-fashioned hospitality!?

Alas, my good intentions have been put on hold. Even as the founder of giggle, I’ve had to wait for the back-ordered inventory to arrive so my order could be shipped. (Well, to be honest, our head of merchandising politely asked me to please hold off on my personal order until our inventory could catch up with the great demand! Okay, okay…)

So what’s all the fuss about? If you haven’t seen this great crib from bloom, check it out now. Could it be any cuter? (Sure, maybe it would look great in other cool colors someday, but you didn’t hear that from me.) It’s wonderfully petite, perfect for grandma’s house, a second home, or a city apartment where the baby’s room is a converted closet. It’s also amazingly easy to set up and put away — easier than a lot of popular travel cribs, in fact! And it’s beautifully made (hats off to bloom, who is really doing a nice job on so many fronts!)

I have to confess, I was a little hesitant about the concept when I first looked at it with Simon, one of the founders of bloom. Of course I loved how it looked right away. But while European parents tend to take bassinets and cradles more seriously as a long-term sleep option, American parents typically think of them more romantically as a nice-to-have but not an essential. Would our customers think of this as just another temporary solution? Or would the fact that it’s designed for use up to 24 months make it more like a miniature crib designed for use when a full-sized crib just isn’t as practical?

In the end, I voted with my love affair. I knew our customers would have the same instant attraction to the smart design and equally smart looks. And with fewer and fewer of us owning (or even wanting to own) huge houses with three-car garages, I knew the concept of space economy would translate. Much to my delight (and to bloom’s delight I’m sure!) that was definitely the case, and the Alma has been a huge hit.

So, after two months of waiting, while every Alma Crib we got in stock immediately went to a waiting customer, my Alma is finally shipping next week. Just in time for Labor Day weekend, when we’ll have a baby visiting — the perfect excuse to add a baby product to our home!

alma crib

August 30, 2009

Creating a greener nursery: best non-profit resources

Working towards building a healthier home can be a daunting and overwhelming task. Fortunately, this is not something that we as parents have to tackle on our own. There are a few great organizations that are focused on helping us make more informed decisions.  A few of my favorites are introduced below.  There are certainly more, but each of these stands out for their valuable contributions.

Not only do my wife and I personally support these organizations, but at Q Collection Junior, we are a member of 1% For The Planet, a collection of over 1,000 businesses that direct 1% of their annual sales (not profits) to non-profit organizations focused on the environment.  Last year alone, this group directed over $10 million to environmental efforts, making it one of the largest funders of environmental non profits in the US.  Q Collection Junior will continue to contribute our sales dollars, in part, to support the good work of the organizations below.

Healthy Child, Healthy World (HCHW)

I think HCHW is an organization doing great work that also aligns well with the mission of Q Collection Junior.   In their own words,:

Healthy Child Healthy World is a non-profit igniting a movement of parents dedicated to protecting young children from harmful chemicals.   By teaming up with leading medical experts and scientists, parents can easily learn about the steps they all can take to create a cleaner, greener, and safer home and community.  Healthy Child has been a national leader for nearly two decades, inspiring millions of parents, educators, health professionals, and the general public to take action.

Environmental Working Group (EWG)

EWG is another resource that my wife, Mary, and I constantly turn to.  Their toxicity databases on cosmetics, Skin Deep, and more recently on sunscreens, set the standard.  In their own words,:

(EWG is) a non-profit research and advocacy organization founded in 1993 that uses the power of information to protect human health and the environment. EWG’s newsworthy research and analyses have made us a major force in national policy debates: our investigations dig up facts about toxic chemicals, pesticides, air and water pollution, public lands, and the ecological and economic impacts of modern agriculture.

Moms Rising

The last non profit spun out of MoveOn.org and has had a major impact in a relatively short time.  Their work, in their own words, is centered around:

….building a multicultural grassroots movement that will bring together millions of people who share a common concern about the need for a more family-friendly and healthy America. Launched in May of 2006, MomsRising has already gathered over 150,000 active citizen members and our ranks are rapidly growing.  Mobilizing mothers, and all who care about the future of America’s children, has proven remarkably effective across a number of timely issue areas.  MomsRising conducts state and national-level education campaigns and has a proven track record in building public will for concrete political, economic, and cultural change. One of our key and growing campaign issues has been the grassroots mobilization of parents to promote healthy environments and safe children’s products.

We hope you find these resources helpful.  As always, if you have comments or feedback on this or previous posts, you can reach me at:  green_nursery@qcollection.com.  Have a great Labor Day weekend!

August 28, 2009

End of Summer Already?

We say it each year as Labor Day closes in on us, but how in the world is it August 28 already? Where did the summer go and how did I miss it? For some, the end of summer is a very sad time. No more vacations for foreseeable future, our winter clothes are peeking out of the top shelves of closets and generally we all just get busier. For others, it is a time to rejoice. Kids back to school, the weather may finally cool off and our routines return to normal.

I’m not sure which I feel. I miss the routine that school brings and I sure am looking to cool evenings of autumn in New York (arguably our best season). That being said, enjoying the freedom of summer with my son is amazing – especially for the fleeting time he still is young enough to think it’s cool to hang out with Dad. In a few years it will all be homework, friends and sports and hanging with parents will be a fate worse than teenage acne.

I guess that leaves me with the reminder that I’ve learned over the first six years of his life and that is that as soon as you get used to one stage of your kids’ development – it changes. Don’t look too far forward and certainly don’t check the rear view mirror. I, of course, am terrible at this and need to take my own advice. So for now, I’m going to enjoy the waning days of summer with the little man and then be just as excited for the first day of school.

August 27, 2009

critters! critters!! everywhere!!!!

We absolutely adore all of the marine life, events and exhibits that can be found at the Maritime Aquarium…located in Norwalk…slightly north of Greenwich.  This special adventure provides endless hours of exploration and learning…and of course…lots of excitement!  You can visit harbor seals, river otters, sharks, jellies, sea turtles and many other marine animals.  The seals are fed three times throughout each day and you can actually participate in this activity. Yes…you can actually feed the seals!  Also…can you believe that penguins are on the loose?  Well…they are!  The penguins make an appearance…once a day…now through Labor Day.  Be sure to check out www.maritimeaquarium.org for all of the specifics this fabulous place has to offer.  It is certainly worth the visit!

August 25, 2009

Congratulations!

Whether you have recently welcomed a new baby into the world or are awaiting the arrival of your newborn — you are embarking on what I consider to be the biggest event of your lives. My name is Sarah McMoyler and I have been passionate about birth, babies and new families my entire life… I was seventeen years old when I wanted to have a baby; the good news is that I was actually thirty four years old when I had my first baby! As a registered nurse in labor and delivery, I have assisted with over 5,000 births, and helped prepare another 17,000 expectant parents to walk through the doors of their hospitals to give birth. (I am one of the lucky people in the world who has been able to direct my passion into a wonderful career.)

As a health care professional, I look forward to addressing the multitude of questions that come with having a baby and then caring for a newborn. In the meantime, have a peek at these websites: www.mcmoylermethod.com, which provides information about prenatal classes taught in San Francisco; www.thebestbirth.com features both the childbirth class on DVD or Webcast as well as my book The Best Birth.

Stay tuned for weekly tips on how to make this new chapter the most memorable and fulfilling time ever. Be well!

August 24, 2009

Open-Ended Exploration

Have you ever noticed that when you give a child a present, they are often more interested in the box and wrapping paper that it came in than in the toy that was packed inside?  Researchers have known for decades why this is.  Children are naturally drawn to what are called “open-ended materials”  or materials that have no limit to the amount of things that you can do with them.  Children love playing with these classic play materials — like sand, blocks, water or paper; these materials can engage them for hours as they watch the effects that their actions can have on them.

And what the children are doing with these materials is no small thing.  In tearing a piece of paper into pieces (dividing one into many), they are getting their first intuitive sense of math; in rolling a ball or pushing a block down a plank, they are developing an early understanding of physics.

In fact, this is how child development and learning works — in the real context of every day life. All the real elements of solids, liquids, gases, space and sound that children encounter throughout the day provide the raw material for great play, exploration and optimal learning. Babies naturally want to master their world, so exposing them to the broad range of materials and contexts that the world provides and slowing down to let them explore them, allows them to exercise and develop their budding skills and understandings — their full potential. The richness of these early experiences set the foundations for their entire learning career and life.

Learning and development during 0 to 3 years takes place at a rate that exceeds any other stage of life. It is an extraordinary period of life – and the responsibility of it can be daunting. We wonder: What are we supposed to do as parents? What happens somewhat automatically as they mature and what is influenced by our actions and the experiences we provide?

The research is clear: it is not one piece of the puzzle such as genes, parenting or the environment that sets the important foundations but the dynamic interplay among them all — with us parents in the central role of orchestrating it through our continually evolving relationship with our child. We are told that we are the first and most important teacher in our child’s life and all the wonderful things we wish for our child do not have to be left to chance.

The good news is that what to do is pretty simple and a lot of fun. In a nutshell, we are supposed to get down on the floor, explore and play with our baby. Enter their world — see what they see, explore what they explore, feel what they feel, think what they think and wonder like they wonder.

There are no short cuts; no magic product; no silver bullet. It requires time — your time. This blog will give you all sorts of ideas and tools on how to spend time with your baby to give your baby the best possible start.

I also co-founded a company called “eebee’s adventures”, a developmental alternative to Baby Einstein, that helps families discover how to create great play in their home.  With the help of my friend “eebee” (which stands for Every Baby), a lovable character who doesn’t just talk about it but shows in live action 101 ways to explore everyday objects around the house — from the classic opened materials like water, blocks, balls, lights and shadows to making the daily routines of mealtime and laundry time more fulfilling for both of you. You can find out more at www.eebee.com.

I also have my own baby girl named Whitney who will help me share lots of observations from the “field”. I hope you will join me in sharing our experiences and thoughts about our children’s development.

August 24, 2009

Whole Foods

When thinking about trying to eat healthier for the entire family, think whole foods. This isn’t (just) the name of a store but rather the opposite of processed and packaged foods. Choosing items that are as  “whole” or close to how they are in their natural state – an ear of corn or a peach or a chicken instead of chips or sorbet or nuggets – will result in more nutritious as well as delicious meals. With whole foods, you’re in charge of any additives that might go into those foods — from things as basic as the amounts of salt, spice, and sugar used, to more complicated things like the types of fats, and even chemical and synthetic additives. You don’t have to worry that heart unhealthy trans fats might be lurking in an ear of corn, or that the color of a beet comes from artificial red dye, or that the chicken you yourself roast will contain fillers and suspect parts that have been disinfected, ground, and formed into that patty in a factory far, far away. Whole food isn’t industrial food. It’s just good, plain food.

Late August in the Northeast, where I live, is as good a time as any to switch the family to eating more whole foods; it’s full growing season, which means farmers’ markets, farm stands, and any other store that carries some local food is overflowing with just picked and extremely flavorful whole foods. Make it a family excursion — going en masse to an outdoor market on a lazy Saturday morning is a great way to get everyone involved in the switch. Let the kids browse and pick things they want to eat (and, no, the cider donuts don’t count!) from the leaf-laden stalls. They’re truly more likely to at least taste (if not devour) vegetables they got to choose. Trust me. Sniff, squeeze, taste, and get everyone involved in a discussion about the meals that will result from the excursion. Try buying something you’ve never cooked before and figuring out what to do with it together.

Speaking of cooking, there’s no way around it if you want to be eating healthier. More on that next week.

August 22, 2009

In Memoria: Gale Kaseguma, Kidmodern Art

I didn’t anticipate writing a tribute in my first “A List” blog, but life is full of surprises. Last week I learned some shockingly sad news about a great artist, giggle partner, mother and wife, active 30-something professional – and good friend. She died. Of colon cancer. In less than a year. Her name was Gale Kaseguma and she was the beloved artist behind “Kidmodern” children’s art.

Six years ago when I was first developing the giggle concept, I met Gale and her husband, Craig. They happened upon the first giggle concept store and felt a connection. Lucky for me, they stopped in and introduced themselves. Soon after, I visited Gale’s Brooklyn studio and was introduced to her bright, bold, happy – full of life – children’s art. To me, a welcomed departure to only pink and blue…A fresh willingness to be playful even with babies, rather than just sweet and soft…A warm and vibrant use of color…All things that inspire us at giggle. And all things that Gale’s collection is still loved for today – both at giggle, in our giggle customers’ homes and beyond.

When I first met Gale, Kidmodern was gallery-based art only and all originals. I was convinced Kidmodern should be seen by and shared with more than would be possible with galleries and originals. So we collaborated to develop museum-quality, hand-stretched canvas Kidmodern prints and debuted them at giggle (this is a photo of our first giggle store on Chestnut Street in San Francisco; Gale was our first official “kids art” debut).  And since 2003, they have owned their place among our “giggle picks” for art that is as perfect for babies as it is for the kids that they so quickly become. Check out our current giggle collection here.  In our flagship store in Soho, we are lucky enough to even display (and sell) a rotating feature of some of her original works. And while the Kidmodern collection has now grown beyond giggle and beyond wall art to include items like coordinating nightlights, rugs and more, every year since our inception Gale and I have collaborated to release her newest collection first and only at giggle. It is with heavy heart that I realize as I sit here and write that 2010 will be the first year that giggle will not debut a new Kidmodern collection.

If such a thing is possible, Kidmodern is an “Ali’s A-List” classic. One of my first giggle product crushes, and a crush that hasn’t waned years later. While not a “newest/latest” find this week, Kidmodern prototypically defines what the A-List is all about. And while now not “new,” today her originals are the definition of limited edition and will earn a place forever in giggle’s history (and my heart).

Beginning September 2009 and through the end of the year, we will be donating 20% of all Kidmodern sales at giggle to a charity of Gale’s husband’s choice. To shop Gale’s collection, please visit giggle’s website. And if you live in New York City or nearby, plan a trip to The Art Gallery at the Garden of Ideas from September 5th through September 27th. The gallery and grounds are open Saturday and Sunday 10 am – 4 pm. They will be featuring a memorial celebration of the life and art of Gale Kaseguma and the Kidmodern Collection.

Join me in celebrating the life of an amazing woman and artist.

August 22, 2009

fun in the sun!

There is still summer in the air and we have been hearing one client after another rave about products by Green Toys…an earth friendly company who makes an assortment of awesome toys.  It’s amazing how much creativity is made possible with the Eco-Friendly Sand Play Set.  Parents have been sharing so many stories about how much fun it is to watch their children use their imaginations as they design works of art in the sand at the beach.  It has also been expressed to us that the EcoSaucer has provided endless hours of playtime for the entire family.  Of course…the Green Jump Rope is another classic favorite.  They also enjoy the fact that these items are made from recycled milk jugs right here in the USA and are environmentally savvy.  So…if you are headed to the beach…don’t forget to pack your Green Toys and remember to wear your sunscreen.