At The Mini Social, we have long been fans of the ultra-cool Swedish sock line, Happy Socks. In honor of our first sale event, we interviewed super-stylish Rita Polidori O’Brien, VP of Marketing at United Legwear and all around cool mom of two children. Read on for her fashionable advice on how you and your kids can incorporate these colorful, patterned socks into your own wardrobe. Thank you, Rita!
You’ve shopped for stylish tees made by the Olsen twins, coveted shoes designed by Rachel Bilson and hungered for home goods approved by Justin Timberlake. Now here is your chance to join the fabulously fashionable MINT team yourself as a style consultant!
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We recently enlisted blogger Florence Rolando of the gorgeous and inspirational blog PIROUETTE to recommend some of her favorite children’s movies for The Mini Social. You will love her choices (she’s tri-lingual so lot’s of great foreign flicks) and please go check out her blog – you will be as charmed as we are!
MOVIE NIGHT by PIROUETTE
Watching movies with the whole family is a wonderful pastime. But it takes a while to arrive! It’s something to look forward to when your children are toddlers and an incredible reward when the kids are older. Here’s a selection of our favourites, a bit off the blockbuster-beaten-path.
AGED 3-6: Although watching films with small ones is perhaps a bit less stimulating for the parents, that said there are some great movies for 3-6yr olds : My Neighbour Totoro (Hayao Miyazaki), Kirikou and the Sorceress (Michel Ocelot), Ponyo (Hayao Miyazaki), How to Train Your Dragon, Curious George, Goodnight Gorilla, Minuscule… all of these were viewed many (hundreds of!) times in our household.
AGED 7+: Family viewing for everyone I found is something that really takes off when your youngest child is about 7yrs old. At their age my kids have seen more movies than I had by the age of 16! Movies are a great way of educating children about the world, giving them experience of many types of narrative, and developing their visual literacy. And some are simply an education in their own right, for parents and children. This is especially true of documentaries such as Planet Earth, Human Planet, Animals are Beautiful People have taught all of us more than many school lessons.
At the top of our list
Coraline: Great story Gorgeous Stop motion 3D animation, music by Bruno Coulais). An American movie with a Eastern European feel in term of graphics. A bit spooky.
Kiki’s Delivery Service (Hayao Miyazaki) : The sweet story of a fun little sorceress and her car, Japanese style. We know some of the lines by heart!
Princess Mononoke (Hayao Miyazaki) : A great tale, quite psychedelic, with a deep environmental message. This movie blew me away when it was released in 1997. As it can be scary I had to wait long until I could see it again with my last child.
Funny Face : The perfect film to watch with young girls, to introduce them to the fashion world, to Audrey Hepburn and to Fred Astaire.
Pinocchio, the 2002 movie by Roberto Begnini (Director of acclaimed film Life is Beautiful) : This Pinocchio version is apparently poorly dubbed in English. So if you understand a bit of Italian, watch it in the original language; it is very worth the effort! Funny and moving, children will understand even without subtitles.
Lemony Snicket’s a Series of Unfortunate Events; The costumes, make up, sets and graphic design are great. The story and its gothic feel inspired lots of drawings and games for my children.
Jeux Interdits (Rene Clement, 1952). I watch this black and white moving story of a young orphan during world war II with a box of Kleenex at reach. My kids don’t seem to find it that sad!
La Folie des Grandeurs : A French comedy that I have watched a thousand times, since my young years. I am really happy that it is also a big hit with my kids.
The Gods Must Be Crazy: A comedy taking place in the heart of Africa, very funny, also carrying an interesting ethnological/sociological message. By the same team as “Animal Are Beautiful People.
Fantastic Mr Fox : Wes Anderson’s animated adaptation of the Roald Dahl’s book. Delicious.
And also :
Wizard of Oz, Railway Children, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, The Sound of Music, Annie
Mon Oncle (and all the Jacques Tati movies), Le Roi et l’Oiseau, The Red Balloon, Azur et Azmar (Michel Ocelot)
Indiana Jones, Jurassic Park, ET, Chronicles of Narnia
The Guilty Pleasures
Space Balls (Hilarious parody of Star Wars), Enchanted (Amy Adams is excellent), Flushed Away, Alvin and the Chipmunks, Les Visiteurs
There are many great movies to see, the list is very very long. Here’s a few more, that we really have pleasure to watch: Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Brave, Wall-E, Up, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, Rabbi Jacob, The Smurfs, Le Petit Nicolas, Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium, The Sound of Music, Lagaan, Arietty, The story of the weeping camel, The Cat Returns, Une Vie de Chat, Homeward Bound-The Incredible Journey, Spiderwick…
Florence Rolando, Pirouette Blog
This week we’re excited to feature this interview with the founders of A Mighty Girl (amightygirl.com), Carolyn Danckaert and Aaron Smith. The couple launched the site this past April and it now features over 1,300 girl-empowering books and movies.
TMS: Can you tell us a little about A Mighty Girl?
A Mighty Girl is a new website with the world’s largest collection of books and movies for parents, teachers, and others dedicated to raising smart, confident, and courageous girls. It was founded on the belief that all children should have the opportunity to read books and watch movies where girls are not relegated to the role of sidekick or damsel in distress, where they are the leaders, the heroes, the champions that save the day, find the cure, and go on the adventure.
TMS: What was your inspiration for starting A Mighty Girl?
We have four young nieces and that’s added up to a lot of birthday and Christmas presents over the past twelve years. We’ve always been frustrated by the one-dimensional nature of many of the products marketed to girls. We searched online for sites with girl empowering product recommendations and didn’t find anything very comprehensive although there did seem to be a lot of people also searching for this sort of information. Given there was an unmet need and it was an interest of ours, we decided to create a site for others equally interested in supporting and celebrating girls — thus, A Mighty Girl was born.
TMS: What are your hopes for the site? What do you hope people will do with it?
A Mighty Girl is all about honoring the diverse capabilities and interests of girls. And, it’s our greatest hope that these high-quality books and movies will inspire a new generation of girls to grow and pursue whatever dreams they choose — to truly be Mighty Girls.
To that end, we launched the site in April and now have over 1,300 girl-empowering books and movies and are continuing to add steadily to that number. In the near future, we hope to expand the site’s girl empowerment potential by adding toys, music, and parent resources. We see A Mighty Girl evolving into the one-stop girl empowerment center on the internet and, based on the tremendous feedback we’ve been receiving from parents, we think there’s a lot of support for this kind of resource.
We’d also like to add that we view these resources as equally empowering for boys – it’s very important that boys also gain an appreciation of the fact that one’s interests and abilities should not be gender-limited.
TMS: What’s your summer book club all about?
We recently launched a new book club project to help parents who would like to organize book clubs for their children. The summer is the perfect time to get a new group started but you can really run a book club for as long as you’d like. The structure is very flexible as well. The mother-daughter model is very popular but we also see girls only groups, girl/boy mixed clubs, and a few father-daughter ones.
On our new book club project page (http://www.amightygirl.com/book-club), you’ll find a lot of helpful information to organize a group, including our book club organizing guide and our recommended book club reading list for four different school-age levels.
TMS: Do you have any summer reading recommendations to share?
On the site, we now have over 1,300 book and movie listing that you can sort by age, topic, price, and award winners and, of course, we have the new recommended reading lists for book club groups (http://www.amightygirl.com/book-club-reading-list/). We have books on the site for children from 0 through teens but here are a few favorites for MiniSocial readers:
0-2 Years Old:
- The Hello Goodbye Window by Norton Juster: http://www.amightygirl.com/the-hello-goodbye-window
- My Garden by Kevin Henkes: http://www.amightygirl.com/my-garden
- If Kisses Were Colors by Janet Lawler: http://www.amightygirl.com/if-kisses-were-colors
- Blueberry Girl by Neil Gaiman: http://www.amightygirl.com/blueberry-girl
- It’s Okay to be Different by Todd Parr: http://www.amightygirl.com/it-s-okay-to-be-different
- Happy to Be Girls by Sarah Davies: http://www.amightygirl.com/happy-to-be-girls
- Daddy Hugs by Karen Katz: http://www.amightygirl.com/daddy-hugs
- My Big Girl Potty by Joanna Cole: http://www.amightygirl.com/my-big-girl-potty
- The Five Senses by IKids: http://www.amightygirl.com/the-five-senses
- Baby Dance by Ann Taylor: http://www.amightygirl.com/baby-dance
3-5 Years Old:
- Me… Jane by Patrick McDonnell: http://www.amightygirl.com/me-jane
- Raising Dragons by Jerdine Nolen: http://www.amightygirl.com/raising-dragons
- My Name Is Not Isabelle: Just How Big Can a Little Girl Dream? by Jennifer Fosberry: http://www.amightygirl.com/my-name-is-not-isabella-just-how-big-can-a-little-girl-dream
- The Paper Bag Princess by Robert Munsch: http://www.amightygirl.com/the-paper-bag-princess
- The Gardener by Sarah Stewart: http://www.amightygirl.com/the-gardener
- Stand Tall, Mary Lou Melon by Patti Lovell: http://www.amightygirl.com/stand-tall-molly-lou-melon
- Frida by Jonah Winter: http://www.amightygirl.com/frida
- The Apple-Pip Princess by Jane Ray: http://www.amightygirl.com/the-apple-pip-princess
- Because Your Daddy Loves You by Andrew Clements: http://www.amightygirl.com/because-your-daddy-loves-you
- Elena’s Serenade by Campbell Geeslin: http://www.amightygirl.com/elena-s-serenade
6-8 Years Old:
- The Night Fairy by Laura Ann Schlitz: http://www.amightygirl.com/the-night-fairy
- The Hundred Dresses by Eleanor Estes: http://www.amightygirl.com/the-hundred-dresses
- The BFG by Roald Dahl: http://www.amightygirl.com/the-bfg
- The Lemonade Club by Patricia Polacco: http://www.amightygirl.com/the-lemonade-club
- O’Sullivan Stew by Hudson Talbott: http://www.amightygirl.com/o-sullivan-stew
- Seeds of Change: Wangari’s Gift to the World by Jen Cullerton Johnson: http://www.amightygirl.com/seeds-of-change-wangari-s-gift-to-the-world
- Marisol McDonald Doesn’t Match / Marisol McDonald no combina by Monica Brown: http://www.amightygirl.com/marisol-mcdonald-doesn-t-match-marisol-mcdonald-no-combina
- The Courageous Princess by Rod Espinoza: http://www.amightygirl.com/the-courageous-princess
- Ruby’s Wish by Shirin Yim: http://www.amightygirl.com/ruby-s-wish
- Ricksaw Girl by Mitali Perkins: http://www.amightygirl.com/rickshaw-girl
For more recommendations for these age groups, as well as for older children, be sure to visit our book section at http://www.amightygirl.com/books. We also have movie recommendations for all ages at http://www.amightygirl.com/movies.
The summer holidays are creeping up on us… Finally! There are a few great travel games that are great to be aware off — to keep the kids entertained in the car, on the plane, the train… or to bring to the park and the beach!
The following games are great to bring along when you’re traveling:
•Djeco Bingo game: So fun and easy to play (great for even younger children)! It’s one of our all-time favourites.
•’Yatzee’ is great fun for all ages, and it only requires five dice, any sort of cup, and a piece of paper and a pen to keep the score. You can download a free score card here.
•Dobble: Such a clever and fun game. It comes in a little round tin, so it’s easy to carry around. (Our kids beat us all the time!)
•Uno – A classic! Fun for all ages!
And these games are easy to play anywhere, and don’t require anything special to bring!
•Beach/park: Knuckle-bones. Can be played everywhere with just five little stones. Instructions here.
•Guess what? (One of the players thinks of an object / person / place and the other players try to guess what / who it is by asking questions which can only be answered with YES or NO.)
•Playing ‘I spy with my little eye’ — an old favourite, but always a success!
•Charades: only requires some pieces of paper and a pen (and some healthy imagination!). Fun!
•Think of as many names (or countries, or animals) starting with an A you can come up with, then try B, etc.
•Try to come up with as many words as possible that rhyme. Write them down, and try to make a story out of them!
•Rock-Paper-Scissors. As old as Methuselah, but always exciting!
from Babyccino Kids
Thanks to Esther, Courtney, Emilie and the fabulous team at Babyccino Kids for the wonderful post this week!!
Visit Babyccino Kids and you will discover a curated selection of children’s boutique webshops, organised into relevant categories and highlighted by key products, making it easy to find the perfect webshop for your shopping needs.
The Mini Social is proud to partner this year with Baby2Baby in our Earth Week initiative. 10% of our sale proceeds for the week will support their mission to provide essential baby items including clothing, gear, and diapers to families in need throughout Los Angeles. Their Board of Directors include celebrity moms, Jessica Alba, Nicole Richie and Julie Bowen.
Here is our interview with co-presidents Norah Weinstein and Kelly Patricof.
How did Baby2Baby get its start?
In 2006, a group of Los Angeles moms were looking for a place to recycle the things their kids had outgrown. They wanted to pass clothing and baby gear on to less fortunate families, but quickly realized there was no place specifically dedicated to recycling children’s items in their own community. Baby2Baby’s first drive began by reaching out to friends and family, who donated enough gear to fill three garages! Today we work with over 40 non-profit organizations including homeless and domestic violence shelters, Head Start programs and children’s hospitals, and pass essential children’s items on to over 50,000 families each year.
We love the fact that Baby2Baby helps families in need with essential items by redistributing items that other families no longer need. It’s such a perfect formula and gentle to the earth at the same time. Is that something you were conscious of at the beginning?
Baby2Baby has grown tremendously in the past five years, but we still operate with the same mission that we did in 2006: to recycle the things our own children have outgrown by passing them on to less fortunate families. From the beginning, the fact that we could also help families reduce their carbon footprint was very important to us. Donations go directly to low-income and at-risk families rather than ending up in a landfill. It’s a green solution that benefits everyone involved!
What are the best baby items to “recycle”? And which items does Baby2Baby need most?
The families we work with have a continuous need for strollers (especially double strollers and umbrella strollers), cribs, bassinets, and clothing. As every mom knows, there is also a constant need for new diapers. Families can get involved with Baby2Baby by donating gently used items, volunteering at our headquarters, or making a donation to support our work. For more details, please visit www.baby2baby.org.
Currently you serve the Los Angeles area only – any plans to expand?
We are asked this question all the time and encourage people to start organizations like Baby2Baby in their own cities. Right now, we have our work cut out for us in Los Angeles County, where the poverty rate has steadily increased for the past three years in a row. Beyond our local efforts, we have close relationships with similar organizations across the country and work closely to compare ideas about the best ways to serve families in our respective cities. One of our favorite organizations is Cradles To Crayons. Located in both Philadelphia and Boston, Cradles To Crayons recycles children’s items and has a mission similar to ours. In the spirit of collaboration, we’ve shared bulk donations from national corporations with Cradles To Crayons, in an effort to serve families nationwide.
We love the idea of getting kids involved in giving from an early age…how do you recommend teaching children about this concept?
We each have two young children under age 6, and love involving them in Baby2Baby’s cycle of giving. One of the most important tenants of Baby2Baby is to teach kids, including our own, about giving back to their community. We have both hosted birthday parties and baby showers to benefit Baby2Baby where we ask our friends to bring donations of gently used toys or new packages of diapers. Monetary donations are also very helpful! Throughout the year we encourage our kids to donate toys back to Baby2Baby when they receive new toys on birthdays and holidays. They love to hand deliver the items to Baby2Baby and help sort with our volunteers. We are so proud because at a very young age they have started to grasp the idea of sharing and donating back to help children in need.
As moms of 4 kids between you, what are your “must-have” baby items?
Baby2Baby board member Jessica Alba and Baby2Baby strategic advisor Christopher Gavigan started the Honest Company (www.honest.com), which delivers non-toxic, earth-friendly baby products directly to your door. We absolutely love everything they make! Kelly uses the healing balm for rashes and cuts. It also doubles as a lip balm and cuticle cream for mom! Norah uses the hand sanitizer for the kids, herself, and the whole Baby2Baby team when they’re on the go.
Kelly’s other must-have products include the Baby Bullet and Sophie La Giraffe. The Little Seed is her go-to store for new, eco-friendly items like recycled crayons and non-toxic nail polish. Norah loves the Miracle Blanket because it makes swaddling so easy! She also recommends The SleepEasy Solution (by Jennifer Waldburger and Jill Spivack) to get your little ones sleeping soundly.
Any tips for other working moms?
Our biggest tip is to find what works for your own family; don’t worry about or judge what other moms are doing. We know that every mom is struggling to make these wonderful but challenging years work for her family. We’ve found the support of our family and friends really helps as we strive to find balance. By supporting other moms and women, regardless of their approach to parenting or work/life balance, we create a sense of community that helps us juggle all the ups and downs of everyday family life.
To find out how you can get involved or for more information, please visit baby2baby.
This week we are excited to interview the talented duo behind THREETWENTYEIGHT! Threetwentyeight is collaboration between good friends, Rene (three) and Megan (twentyeight). It was created as a place to go for inspiration – to find all things great, regardless of how big or small. They post their finds online daily on all topics (home, women, men, kids, food) and they recently sat down and talked to us about their unique website and upcoming spring trends…enjoy!
TMS: Your blog is so inspiring. How did you come up with the idea? What is your background?
THREETWENTYEIGHT: First of all, thanks so much, we are having a lot of fun & it’s always nice to hear others are enjoying it as well! We met years back while working together at Tommy Hilfiger and always knew we wanted to start our own thing. So after agreeing upon a name, we decided we’d just get going and let things evolve. We did know that with all of the amazing blogs out there it’d be tough to differentiate ourselves, so we thought that being a bit more broad could be an interesting angle. That’s how the daily 3:28 [am and pm] posts started – we dedicate each day of the week to a different category.
TMS: You are posting great new finds every day – two times a day. How do you find so many great new brands?
THREETWENTYEIGHT: There’s so much inspiration around us, it’s actually one of the reasons we got started. Over the years, we’ve talked a lot about the originality that surrounds us in New York and the web has allowed us to draw some of that same energy from people around the world. We’re interested in learning people’s stories, hearing about what they’re doing, what they love, and the unique things they’re making. We wanted a way to share their backgrounds and products with our readers. And, on a bit more of a selfish note, threetwentyeight allows us to keep all of our favorite things organized and in one place. It’s our ongoing gift guide!
TMS: What are the biggest trends this spring for kids?
I think we both agree that kids shouldn’t dress too much like grown ups BUT the clog trend is really cute on little girls. Also, harem pants on kids are pretty hard to resist. Brands like Babylady, Nico Nico, Bobo Choses, Muku, Ada Ada, and Boy+Girl deliver such fun pieces that are just plain cool. But more than anything else, kids clothes should be comfortable, easy to wear and, most importantly, okay to get dirty. After all, that’s really what it’s all about, right?
TMS: What are some easy spring trends for busy moms?
THREETWENTYEIGHT: We see fashion as a form of expression, so while comfort is important, style and individuality shouldn’t be sacrificed. So, pieces that are easy to wear while running around but also allows you to be feel stylish and confident. Shoes are key..clogs (no. 6 of course being our favorite) are easy to slide in and out of, bucks can be worn with shorts or jeans, and Salt Water sandals are very versatile (and can get wet!). Also having a bold lipstick handy can really transform a whole look. It’s mostly about keeping it simple, figuring out what works best for you and not trying too hard.
TMS: Any tips for other working moms?
Megan: Seeing as I don’t have any children, I’ll let René handle this one!
René: Honestly I’m still trying to figure it out myself. I just try to make the most of my free time and really try to be in the moment when I am with my daughter. It’s definitely hard when you need to get a lot done, but I’m working on it.
Thanks Rene and Megan! Visit their blog at http://www.threetwentyeight.com for more information.
When I recently heard about Kiwi Crate, I thought it was such a genius idea. It’s a subscription based service so when you join, every month your kids receive a box of projects that spark creativity and curiosity. All materials and inspiration included! Each crate is designed around fun themes (dinosaurs, gardening, colors) and filled with everything you need for hands-on projects. Geared for kids ages 3-7. It’s perfect for gifts and there is zero risk since you can cancel the subscription at any time.
Sign us up!
I can admit it. I am not a craft-y mom. I don’t know how to knit, sew and I don’t own a hot glue gun. Every year I let my kids pick out their Valentine’s Day cards at the store, we pay for them, they sign them, seal them and pass them out at school. But this year…I am turning over a new leaf. Why? For two reasons. The first is that both kids have artistic tendencies (clearly their fathers gene pool) and I knew they would enjoy making Valentine’s Day more of a art project.
The second reason is that I came across the website Made by Joel. Created by SAHD and artist Joel Henriques, Made by Joel encourages everyone, regardless of economic means, skill level or age (me!) to participate in the collective, creative process. Then I saw these super fun little valentine creatures and knew I had to make them with the kids. They were beyond easy to do and maybe with Joel’s help I might just become a craft-y mom yet! – Dominique
You can download these Valentine creatures and other fun printables here at Made by Joel.
At The Mini Social we love to support literacy in all forms so we are always excited to feature Out of Print tees. In support of their sale today, they also selected some of their favorite books for kids, young readers and adults, too! So remember these titles when you are next at the library or book store.
Anything by Maurice Sendak, Shel Silverstein or Dr. Seuss
If You Give a Mouse a Cookie by Laura Numeroff
Alexander and Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day by by Judith Viorst
Madeline by Ludwig Bemelmans
Lilly and the Purple Plastic Purse by Kevin Henkes
For Young Readers
Holes by Louis Sachar
How to Eat Fried Worms by Thomas Rockwell
Stuart Little by E.B. White
James & the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl
The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
Blindness by Jose Saramago
Motherless Brooklyn by Jonathan Letham
Another Country by James Baldwin
A Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides
For each shirt Out of Print sells, one book is donated to a community in need through their partner Books For Africa. To find out more about Out of Print, click here.