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Top Picks for Personalized Paper Goods

Whether you’re getting ready for back to school or just looking for something to spice up your to-do list, we love adding a touch of personalization to your paper goods. Check out our top picks:

Change how you personalize your journal on a daily basis with these WAFF journals from Kristins Gifts which feature removable cubes.

You’ll never question who’s turn it is to take out the trash with this personalized weekly calendar from idesign + co.

Plain old manila folder sound a bit vanilla? These Popsicle folders from Russell + Hazel add some style to your files.

Keep notes, musings and other personal reflections safe in this composition book that is perfectly personalized from Sunshine Daydream Creations.

Check out more here.

5 Treats to Celebrate National Ice Cream Day

As if you really needed another excuse to get the kids (aka you) some ice cream, today is National Ice Cream Day. And while ice cream on its own is all well and good, ice cream will all sorts of other goodies like cake and chocolate and peppermint is even better. So celebrate the day with one (or all) of these fabulous recipes for ice cream treats. Or you can just drool over them and then run out for a scoop.

Mini ice cream waffle sandwiches from Flourishing Foodie.

PB & J ice cream cake from Eat At Home Cooks.

Easy fried ice cream from Cooking Classy.

Devils food and peppermint ice cream sandwiches from Shaken Together

Ice cream cupcakes from Susty Party

Can you say, sugar rush!

Devon’s Discoveries: Feeding the Imagination

It’s hard to believe, but our big girl, Bean, turned TWO this week!  In some ways, I can hardly believe our baby is already two years old, and in other ways, I can hardly believe that she’s just two.  Last year for her birthday, we were all about learning toys because Bean was so fascinated by puzzles, stacking blocks, and things with buttons.  Her brain was growing and she was feeding it! 

This year, it’s her imagination that is growing.  She has started “reading to herself” by making up the words to books, telling us imaginary stories about experiences her imagination has dreamed up, and playing “mommy” and “house.” So for her birthday gifts, we decided to encourage her imagination! 

Grandma and Grandpa got Bean  a dollhouse this year.  I’ve already written about my love for KidKraft products here before, and after receiving this dollhouse, I love them even more!  Easy to construct, but very sturdy, this Modern Dollhouse is so cool!   Bean loves the colorful and hip rooms—a purple kitchen?! Yes, please!—and the accessories—like a barbeque for the patio, a flat screen TV for the family room (it Velcro’s to the wall!), a claw-footed bathtub for the bathroom, and a pink ceiling lamp!  

 

Auntie and Uncle got Bean this Green Toys tea party set and she’s been busy making us delicious cups of Monkey Toenail Tea.  When she’s feeling especially creative, she pours her “tea” on the ground until someone says, “Oh no! You poured tea on the ground.” Then she giggles with delight and resumes the tea party. 

And we got her this Marian Plast Outdoor House, which has been, perhaps, the biggest hit of all.  We constructed it a little before her birthday so that it would be ready for our 4th of July party and she and her friends had a great time going in and out of that house, pretending away.

 

It was a great 2nd birthday for Bean, all in all.  We celebrated with a cake that she, her Dad and I baked together… and some Monkey Toenail Tea, of course!

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Devon is a wife (of “DA”), mother two, former History professor, and lifelong shopper.  She grew up with a self-proclaimed shop-aholic and sale-aholic mom, so she’s been in training for discovering cool stuff and great deals since she can remember.  Devon lives in Seattle, Washington, where she is mostly okay with the rain but sometimes pines for her hometown in Southern California.  With a little one at home and a crazy life, Devon is all about doing her shopping on the internet and zulily has been a dream come true for her with its variety, value, and quality.

Top 5 Trends for Back to School

If you want to be a mom in the know, on the pulse of fashion trends for your kids then, then read this! Our buyers have scoured the market to bring you the five up and coming trends for the new school year. We’ll be running trend-forward events every Friday for back to school, so be sure to set your watches and get ready to impress you kids with your fashion know-how.

  • Galaxy – Starscapes, planets and are other galaxy themed prints make their way onto clothing and accessories alike for fall.
  • Northern Exposure – From faux fur capelets and moccasins for girls to hoodies for boys emblazoned with bold animal faces, wild looks are big for back to school.
  • 90’s Flashback – They say if you’ve lived through a trend once not to wear it a second time around, which is why today’s school kids are the only ones cute enough to pull off 90’s inspired looks, including acid washed jeans with bold bright 90’s prints along with Harem pants - Can’t touch this. 
  • Camo Cool – From backpacks and binders to shoes and jackets, expect to see camouflage prints in a wide variety of colors in school hallways this fall.
  • London Calling – Trench Coats and hooded jackets paired with textured wool and corduroy will keep kids on this side of the pond warm when fall’s crisp temperatures return.

Get Your Garage in Shape with These 6 Fixes

A place for everything and everything in it’s place. Easier said than done! Especially when it comes to that one room in the house that we just don’t want to be bothered with—the garage. Well fear not because we have some super simple fixes that will get all your summer supplies organized in your garage. And you won’t even break a sweat! 

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Screw the lids of jars to the underside of the shelf and they will never go missing.  Tutorial via Chez Larsson.

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DIY! Use PVC pipe to keep your tools organized from Ashbee Designs.

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Use a wall organizer to get rid of clutter.

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Use metal planters to make the most of your wall space.  Tutorial via House to Home.

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Use a peg board to store smaller items from Hi Sugar Plum.

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Stack bikes on top of each other with a gravity rack.

Top 5 Year-Round Vacation Destinations

Summer is finally here! The kids are out of school, the pool is calling your name, and a much deserved vacation is in sight. But when work, weather, and the kids are unpredictable, it can be hard to decide on the best time and place to travel in the summer.

So, to make life a little easier, we have compiled a list of our 5 favorite family getaways perfect for any time of year. No matter the season, these trips are perfect for any family!

And to get everything you need to make travel with the family fun and easy, head over to zulily.

Relax on a beach in the Hawaiian Islands

Why we love it?

No matter the time of year, everyone loves a trip to the Hawaiian Islands. You and your family can sunbathe and build sandcastles on the beach, snorkel through the crystal clear waters, or go for a breath-taking bike ride around any of the islands. The world-famous Hawaiian surf season takes place in the winter, so from November through March you and your family can check out the professionals catching waves nearly 30ft high!

 

Soak up the sun in San Diego, CA

Why we love it?

With temperatures resting between the high 60s and low 70s all year round, San Diego offers you and your family the perfect escape from the humid summers or the frigid winters. No matter what time of year, you’ll never be bored. You can learn to ride the waves in family surf sessions, swing by the world famous San Diego Zoo to see over 4,000 animals, or make a trip to Lego Land to check out a 34 foot long dinosaur made entirely of Lego bricks. To top it all off, you can end the day relaxing and watching the sun go down at one of the many beach-side restaurants!

 

Explore the mountains in Park City, UT

Why we love it?

Park City is nestled between three ski and snowboard resorts, making it the perfect setting for both winter and summer fun. During the holiday season, families can hit the slopes 7 days a week. But don’t worry, if you are new to the mountain, all the resorts offer lessons for kids and adults! Once the snow melts in the summer months, families can slide down the Alpine Slide, zip line across the mountains, hike on the countless trails, or horseback ride through the hills.

 

Rent a cabin in Lake Tahoe

Why we love it?

Lake Tahoe is one of the world’s greatest vacation destinations. Whether it’s skiing at Heavenly or Squaw Valley Resorts, kayaking in the shimmering waters of Emerald Bay, or hiking the trails of the Sierra Nevada Mountains, Tahoe will keep you and your family entertained. So, no matter the season, treat your family to a special vacation in the mountains this year, we promise you’ll fall in love with it!

 

Take a Cruise…Anywhere!

Why we love it?

What makes a cruise vacation so much fun is that you can take your family anywhere you want any time of year; it is the perfect customized vacation! In the summer months, you and your family can sail off to Alaska to explore the stunning glaciers and even learn to dog sled.  During the cold season, you can hop on board a cruise to the Caribbean or take a trip to the Galapagos.  Cruises offer countless onboard and shore activities, so that you and your family can create the vacation of your dreams. 

 

zulily’s Top 10 Toy Picks for the Dog Days of Summer

by Amy E. Goodman, Lifestyle Editor zulily

Lemonade stands. Sprinkler hopping. Melting ice cream cones that drip faster than you can lick. It’s definitely sum-sum-summer time.

My family has been living for the outdoors. Our art projects take place in the cool of the morning shade. Come afternoon, we check on the progress of our peach tree. Even dinner is an al fresco affair, often barbequed and served up with hot, buttery corn.

But after riding bikes and drawing with chalk and chasing down our peach-stealing squirrels (never caught mind you!), my kiddos yearn for something new and fun to do.

At zulily we picked our top 10 summer toys to keep your kids happy and engaged…and buying you more time to relax in your lounge chair and quietly sip your margarita and enjoy the bliss that is summer.

#1 Float Away!

With my daughter on the swim team for the first time this year, we’re spending an inordinate amount of time at the pool. So when she doesn’t have to swim laps, cool pool floats are a welcome respite and can be lots of fun.

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Game Station & Chair Float Set, Swimline

#2 Battleship

A pool float that sprays water at your friends? Are you kidding? A child’s dream. (And when you get too hot in said lounge chair, you can ask for a refreshing squirt.)

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Swimline, Battleboards Water Squirter Float Set

 #3 Roly Poly

This certainly livens up a trip to the park or a family reunion, and will undoubtedly provide your kids with hours of entertainment. Just steer clear moms…no sun bathing while the Mammoth Beach Ball is in motion or you might just be balled over!

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Mammoth Beach Ball, S&S Worldwide

 #4 At-Home Parachuting

Okay, so no jumping out of planes just yet, but kids love a massive parachute for tossing, rippling, running underneath and disappearing under. Add some balls on top and you have your own “popcorn” maker. What’s nice is that this is great activity for kids of all ages.

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30’ Parachute, Pacific Play Tents

#5 Tether Ball…is Back

I’d like to think that my beloved tether ball never went anywhere (I can still feel the arm rope burns to prove it), but apparently it’s made a comeback. This new and improved version is portable and dignified with chic paddles. While kids have at it, mom and dad can secretly make Napoleon Dynamite references: “You wanna play me?”

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Paddle tether Ball Set, Alex Toys

#6 Lanterns for Lightening Bugs

With these warm muggy nights, the fireflies are out. And while flashlights are too bright and having no light is too dark, these cutie pie headlamps are just right. Your kiddo might even be mistaken for a lightening bug in the hunt!

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Frog & Monkey Headlamp Set

#7. Water Balloon Slingshots!  

There is nothing better than a good water balloon fight on a hot summer day. These water balloon slingshots make for a great addition to the game…quick, get to your battle stations!

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Water Balloon Slingshot Set

#8 Up, Up and Away!

It’s amazing how much joy my kids get out of those single loop, glow-in-the-dark necklaces; yes, the plastic ones that last only one night. Imagine how much fun they’d have with these LED ultra glow Stomp Rockets? It’s the nighttime version of one of their favorite daytime toys.

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Ultra LED Stomp Rocket Kit, Stomp Rocket

#9 Movie Night

Want to be the cool family on the block? This 132” outdoor projection screen from Camp Chef will promote picnic family dinners and make you an instant neighborhood hit, especially if you play new releases. And if there’s a sudden summer storm? No worries, it works indoors too.

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Entertainment Gear 132” Indoor/Outdoor Projection Screen, Camp Chef

#10 Grill Like a Grownup

Though my husband does most of the grilling, I know how to fire up our grill thank you very much—and now my little ones can too with their very own miniature grill set by American Plastic Toys. I dare you to place them side-by-side and see who produces the best burger!

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My Very Own Grill Set, American Plastic Toys

Brand Spotlight: Q&A with Founder of Haiti Babi

Katlin Jackson started Haiti Babi, makers of handmade blankets, after an impactful volunteer trip to Haiti. We spokes with Katlin about her inspiration for the company, the moms who create the beautiful products and the goals of Haiti Babi. Get your very own blanket today on zulily.

What was the inspiration behind starting Haiti Babi?

A trip to Haiti, with my mom, was my inspiration…During my first trip to Haiti, while volunteering at an infant care center and orphanage, I fell in love with a one-year-old boy named Sterly.  As with many of the other children there, Sterly’s parents couldn’t afford a house, food or simple medical care to keep him alive so an orphanage was the only solution. Sadly, Sterly’s story is not uncommon in Haiti. Many of the 500,000 children in Haitian orphanages are put there by parents who simply cannot afford to provide for them.

I couldn’t stop thinking about Haiti, and Sterly, after returning from my first trip to Haiti, so I decided to go back. On my second trip a few months later, Sterly was reunited with his parents and I got to visit him at his family’s home. I was able to experience firsthand the love of Sterly’s family and realized that no parent should have to be without their child simply because they don’t have the money. That day changed my life and I was inspired to give these families a hand up, not a hand out by creating a sustainable solution to this common problem in Haiti. Haiti Babi gives moms jobs, empowering them to be the best moms they can be. Through earning a steady income, Haiti Babi moms can afford to feed their children everyday, live in a safe house, and send their kids to school- breaking the cycle of extreme poverty.

How did you start Haiti Babi?

When I returned home from that second trip I began talking to everyone I knew about this idea of creating jobs for moms in Haiti. I ended up meeting Kari, my co-founder, at a social enterprise start-up weekend in Seattle, which is where Haiti Babi was officially born. Two months later, we were on a plane to Haiti to set up operations. We launched operations in Haiti with three moms and one Haitian manager. A volunteer, Jessica, spent one month in Haiti training our initial team to make the Signature Haiti Babi blanket. There were many people involved in getting Haiti Babi off the ground. Starting a new business is not easy, and working in Haiti is definitely not easy! Many people have volunteered their time and talents to helping Haiti Babi grow- it has truly been a community effort.

Tell us about how these beautiful blankets are made.

All of the Haiti Babi baby blankets are handmade by moms in Haiti. They are made from 100% pima cotton. Many women play a role in making one of our blankets. First, the yarn is wound by Jeannide. Then, Martha makes the main part of the blanket on a manual knitting machine. Next, one of our “crochet moms” (Hernise, Beatrice, Ystania, Florene, or Fabiola) crochets the border around the blanket.  And lastly, Edwije embroiders the three circles in the bottom corner- giving it the signature Haiti Babi look. The blankets are then steamed, packaged, and sent to the US. It takes about one day to make a blanket.

Tell us about the moms that make the blankets.  

How much space do I have?!  There’s so much to tell!  The Haiti Babi moms are some of the most incredible women in Haiti- and hands down the best moms!  For all of these women, Haiti Babi is their first job ever. They have all taken a very courageous step by working at Haiti Babi.  They all have learned new skills, what it means to have a job, and what it feels like to be empowered to take care of your children.  Haiti Babi moms all work hard so they can earn money to send their kids to school- all of their #1 priority. Some moms are now able to build new, safe houses for their families to live in.

These ladies work hard, but have fun, too!  They are always singing and laughing while they are working, and they have developed close friendships with each other. They take a great deal of pride in the blankets they are creating, and love hearing stories (and seeing pictures!) from people who are using the blankets for their babies. It gives them a huge sense of accomplishment and pride to know that they are making something useful and beautiful, and that the blankets they are making will be loved by moms and babies around the world. I have watched each of the Haiti Babi moms change and grow during their time at Haiti Babi- from women who are struggling to survive and care for their children, to fun and feisty proud mamas who are changing their lives and breaking the cycle of extreme poverty for their children. I wish everyone could see this, too- empowerment looks amazing.

What’s the long-term goal of Haiti Babi? What’s next?

The goal of Haiti Babi is to empower moms in Haiti through sustainable employment, and to empower consumers around the world to use their purchasing power in a meaningful way.  To continue to achieve this goal, Haiti Babi needs to grow!  Next steps for Haiti Babi are to hire more moms in Haiti, develop new products to reach more customers, and spread the word about purchases with purpose. We are fundraising to move to a bigger space in Haiti so that we can have room to hire more moms.  We are launching a new product this summer- baby hats.

Why did you decide to work with zulily?

We decided to work with zulily because they really understand and support what we are working on with Haiti Babi. We like to work with retailers who understand that our mission is just as awesome as our product, and that behind each baby blanket is a story. zulily understands that this is more than a baby blanket, it’s a story, and their ability to support and share that story means a lot to Haiti Babi.