Year: 2014

Estella Gift Guide: Stocking Stuffers

Stocking Stuffers for Babies & Toddlers

A few stocking stuffer gift ideas for babies and toddler boys & girls…

1. Wooden Toys – French toymaker Vilac‘s well-made wooden toys grab and keep kids’ attention. The race cars and robot puzzle provide toddlers with hours of fun and entertainment; bold yet sophisticated colors and vintage designs encourage imaginative play while also teaching kids the mechanics of motion and momentum. Plus, the smooth lacquered surface is painted using a non-toxic paint, so you can feel good about giving this learning toy as well. Include some road tape to complete the gift!

2. Hand-Knit Backpack Charms – We took our most popular soft baby rattles and created backpack charms out of them. Unique, clever, and playful, these accessories are a fun addition to your little one’s collection and especially cute when matched with one of baby’s toys. Speaking of which…

3. Baby Rattles – Estella’s collection of hand-made, 100% cotton baby rattles are full of personality. Featuring unique styles, eye-catching colors, and a charming jingle, these baby toys engage all the senses, feel wonderful in little hands, and are safer than the wooden, plastic, or hard-edged alternatives. Plus, parents will appreciate the beautiful styles and clever designs.

4. Girls’ Dress Up Accessories – Blinged-out wands, headbands, and tiaras from Atsuyo et Akiko, Wovenplay, & Siaomimi Play are perfect for everyday flair or ordinary afternoons spent playing dress up. For more girly accessories, check out Bari Lynn.

5. Sam en Haas – This Dutch brand makes the most beautiful jewelry for children. Not only does each item capture the spirit of being a kid through its imaginative and unique designs, but the entire collection is also made from ethically sourced silver and gold. The charms are often as interactive as they are beautiful and make wonderful gifts that children will treasure for years to come.

6. Hand-Knit Heart Pin – Cute, simple, and chic, this is a fun accessory to jazz up any simple top.

Stocking Stuffers for Babies & Toddlers

(Images via)

Posted by Estella Editor in Gifts, Holidays & Special Occasions, 0 comments

In the News: The Top Baby Names of 2014

Baby Clothes - Organic Bamboo Collection

Curious to know the top baby names of 2014? BabyCenter just released its annual list; the three most popular baby names for both boys and girls are the same again, and Sophia claimed the top spot for girls for the fifth year in a row! Here’s the top ten:

Most Popular Girl Names:

1. Sophia
2. Emma
3. Olivia
4. Ava
5. Isabella
6. Mia
7. Zoe
8. Lily
9. Emily
10. Madelyn

Most Popular Boy Names:

1. Jackson
2. Aiden
3. Liam
4. Lucas
5. Noah
6. Mason
7. Ethan
8. Caden
9. Jacob
10. Logan

What do you think- any surprises? BabyCenter also analyzed the inspiration behind rising baby names, whether it be sports stars (Jeter is up 82%) or movie characters (Elsa jumped 29%). Check out the entire list of the 100 most popular baby names over on BabyCenter!

Baby One-Pieces - Organic Bamboo Collection

Posted by Estella Editor in Articles, For Mom, 0 comments

Tips + Tricks: Traveling with Babies & Toddlers

Traveling with Kids

For those of you with upcoming trips or lots of traveling for the Christmas, New Years, and beyond, we chatted with mom of two and frequent traveler Ashley of Hither & Thither on how to make the process as seamless as possible. In just 2014, Ashley and her family traveled to Italy, Seattle, Hawaii, Florida, among many other places, so she’s got plenty of experience to pass along… Enjoy!

1. Traveling is always stressful, but even more so during the holiday season. As a frequent traveler, are there any ways to make the trip even slightly more pleasant?

The goal: More time, less stuff. In an ideal world, I’ll have finished packing well in advance so that we’re not rushing around at the last minute. We’ll get to the airport well in advance of our departure, and we’ll come back on a Saturday rather than a Sunday to start the week relaxed. In other words, there will be plenty of time. I’ll also have arranged for diapers and a few other things to be shipped ahead to the hotel or house where we’re staying, and have streamlined our suitcases to the bare minimum. Nothing is worse than shlepping around an excess of stuff, especially with young children who can’t yet carry their weight.

2. Do you think there’s an ideal time to travel with little ones (early mornings, after dinner, during naptimes, etc.)?

I’ve always preferred to drive or fly when the kids are sleeping—it’s hard to spend over three hours on a plane without some respite. We were lucky that my son was a pretty dependable sleeper, once we had a routine in place. But I do think it depends on the child: if they’re likely to fight it, or if you don’t think you could get them to sleep in your arms, a red-eye (when everyone else is silent) might be more stressful than passing the hours in a noisy, light-filled cabin.

Flying with Babies

3. What are your top tips for flying with babies? Are there any must-haves you swear by and always include in your carry on?

I always pack our carry-on as if we’re going to have a day-long layover. Think of that when you ‘re deciding how many diapers, how many ounces of formula, how many changes of clothes or toys you bring along. I’ve written a post with some favorite tips—like having your partner board the plane and set up the overhead space while you stay off the plane and play as long as possible.

4. What are some of your favorite ways for keeping a toddler occupied on a long car ride? Any go-to toys for car rides/flights?

Almost every carry-on bag has included a reusable sticker bag, paper and crayons, a few favorite books, child-friendly headphones (screen-time rules go out the window, but audio books are great for the older toddler), masking tape, and lots of snacks. Here are a series of games I came up with for flights, all using Cheerios.

Traveling with Babies & Toddlers

5. If there’s a time difference between home and where you’re traveling to, how can you get your kids on a new schedule?

The trick is to set your clock to the new time immediately. Eat on the new schedule and expose everyone to as much sunlight as possible in the new timezone. That said, keep the old clock (the body clock) in mind and be prepared with snacks the make it past expected mealtimes (and a bed around expected nap times without suffering major meltdowns.

6. Any unusual or unexpected travel tips you’ve picked up over the last few years?

While not unusual, I’ve really found renewed enthusiasm for preparation after having kids—in all manners. Before a trip, we go to the library and check out books related to our destination and talk about what’s exciting or different about where we’re headed. We talk about what we’ll do there and what we’ll eat. It makes a big difference! If Hudson is happy and enthusiastic, we all win.

International Travel with Toddlers

7. Any major travel success stories? Or disasters (or just plain funny ;)?

Our visit to Paris with our son, when he was a toddler, was filled with laughable moments. From taking him to La Maison Angelina (a tea salon where we learned he is not a fan of hot chocolate) to watching him get on stage at a Marionette show, it was a memorable trip! I recall in particular being excited for him to ride on a vintage carousel at Luxembourg Gardens: Unfortunately, it was a bit of a fail (albeit a comically sad one). The vintage carousel has no standing place, as the horses move using suspension alone, and so children must ride unaccompanied. This mean that Hudson was too little to ride a horse and would only be allowed to sit in a carriage. Good thing, too, because it was so fast! As the horses whipped around, and children reached for rings, Hudson wailed and wailed and tried to break free of the ropes that tied him to his seat. With every turn, he’d see us and reach his arms out crying “off, off” making the tongue-click sound he used for horses’ hooves in between sobs.

It seemed to last forever. Finally, the ride slowed. I tried to play it cool, but I just wanted to go rescue him so badly. I started walking besie him but it wasn’t coming to a stop. Aron looked at me like I was crazy and started laughing as I found myself fast-walking beside the carriage for an entire revolution.

I immediately though about that book Bringing Up Bébéand the description of the cliché, hovering American parent who shouts “weeeee” like a food every time their child goes back and forth in a swing (guilty) and felt my cheeks grow flush.

Luckily, even the man with the rings took pity on Hudson and soon he took my place, walking beside the tear-streaked boy and trying to untie him before the ride had truly stopped. I practically ran once he was in my arms. I ran to the playground, which was closing, and pleaded with a slightly shocked gatekeeper for just one ride down the slide. What a ridiculous scene!

paris-with-kids

Thank you Ashley! Some more travel posts from Ashley that may interest you:

Gear to pack when traveling with a toddler.
Flying with a toddler or baby.
Trip planning – travel itineraries.

(Images via Hither & Thither)

Posted by Estella Editor in For Mom, Holidays & Special Occasions, Interviews & Guest Posts, Tips + Tricks, 0 comments

Lines We Love: Album di Famiglia

Album di Famiglia - Baby Girls DressBaby Leggings - Album di FamigliaBaby One-Piece Romper - Album di FamigliaAlbum di Famiglia - Baby ShirtGirls' Dresses - Album di FamigliaAlbum di Famiglia - Roo Scarf

Winter has most definitely arrived, which means it’s time to bring out your little one’s warmest and coziest pieces. For luxurious yet practical toddler & baby clothes, be sure check out Album di Famiglia. The Northern Italian brand is known for its sophisticated designs and ultra-soft fabrics –  its signature cotton blend fabric feels as soft as cashmere but is still machine-washable, making it an ideal option for the winter months. Wearable baby leggings and toddler tops can be worn over and over, girls’ dresses are as appropriate for everyday wear as they are the holiday season, and the practical baby one-pieces and rompers are perfectly soft on baby’s sensitive skin. Check out the entire Album di Famiglia collection at Estella (now on sale)!

Posted by Estella Editor in Album Di Famiglia, Baby Boys, Baby Clothes, Baby Girls, Boys Clothes, Brands, Fall & Winter, Girls Clothes, 0 comments

Guest Post: What to Get the Mom-to-be Who has Everything

Estella NYC Baby Taxi Rattle

She has the baby swing. She’s stocked with newborn basics like onesies and hats. Maybe she’s about to become a second, or third time mom. Or perhaps she’s a new soon-to-be mom with really generous friends and family! No matter the reason, a Boppy won’t do for a baby gift for this super-prepared mama.

Sigh. What can you possibly get for the mom-to-be who has everything? You don’t want to phone it in with another hooded ducky towel. No, you need a unique present, something that prompts her to demand, “Where did you find this?”

Don’t worry. It’s not an impossible mission. We got you covered with these awesomely adorable gift ideas for the mom-to-be who has it all, except…

Hand Knit Baby Rattles. Impress the mom who already has every baby toy on Earth on standby with these cute Estella cotton baby toys. We dare any pregnant mama not to chuckle with surprise and glee when she unwraps a salted pretzel, a purse with a sweet little bow, or a mustache rattle. Don’t forget to check out the coordinating nursery pillows!

The Best Swaddles. Your mom friend owns a stack of receiving blankets, but breathable muslin swaddles by Aden and Anais are where it’s at! The size and weight of the fabric makes wrapping a wee one worry-free and easy. Um, plus they’re cute. Yup, she’ll love cradling her cutie in these soft styles. You’re a whiz at this finding the perfect gift thing!

Handprint Canvas Set. Give the gift of a memory with a create-a-keepsake canvas kit from Red Envelope. Upon baby’s arrival, the new family can capture the moment by stamping their hand or foot prints on a piece of wall art, which can be customized by color, design, and the option to add text.

Superhero Knit Dolls. Your mommy friend may have a nursery full of stuffed animals and dolls, but she hasn’t seen Estella’s superhero inspired knit dollsKat is sporty yet sweet, Trixie has confidence and style to spare, and Red is one capable cookie. Dolls who offer life lessons to little ones? Can you say gift giving genius?

Giant Personalized Tote. An over-sized Lands End tote bag makes the perfect hospital bag, weekend getaway bag, and bedding, clothing, and toy storage bag. It’s a gift that keeps on giving long after baby is born; from the first sleepover, to sleep-away camp, to college! How many other gifts can boast of being useful for life?

Told you we could help!

Estella NYC Flash Doll

Posted by Melissa Willets in Baby & Kids' Toys, Baby Accessories & Toys, Baby Boys, Baby Girls, For Mom, Gifts, Interviews & Guest Posts, Pregnancy, 0 comments