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Only two more gift guides to go and today’s is all about the stocking! Perfect for tiny gifts and treats and a great way to stave off the troops a couple more hours when they come a-knocking before sunrise. Here’s our favorites!
1. We’re all about stockpiling toys for indoor Winter playtime. This wood handled fox jumprope is perfect for it, being that it is actually rope, and won’t damage your floors like the plastic can! [$17] Seedling brand Via Giggle.
2. Jack and Jill all-natural toothpaste is amazing! Made in Melbourne, Australia for the last 60+ years, it is fluoride, preservative, artificial coloring free! Not to mention darling packaging and yummy flavors that are okay if ingested. [$6.99]
This past weekend we had the pleasure of staying at Salt Lake City’s Grand America Hotel and attending their Christmastime tradition of Breakfast with Santa with our families! You don’t need to be a hotel guest to enjoy all the Grand has to offer, which we loved. If you’re local or planning on traveling nearby for the Holidays, here’s a quick summary of what you can look forward to!
The Grand America is the only AAA rated 5 Star hotel in the city, and with a pedigree of that rank, we weren’t sure how it would be with our… energetic… boys in tow.
When we checked in, we were amazed to find cribs waiting (for those who still use them!) and when left for dinner and returned for bedtime, we each had a bedtime story “Maurice on Holiday”, plate of warm cookies and milk on ice to share.
We also felt right about home on this particular weekend because families are everywhere you turn! Touring the Holiday window displays, peeking at the giant Victorian Gingerbread House shopping the flawless Jou Jou Hotel Toy Store, listening to the live Jazz band and sipping cocoa (get the Coconut Almond!) in the lounge. There is a feeling of festivity in the air that you can almost taste!
Each of the Grand’s many display windows have been transformed into Winter scenes, they have am “Eye Spy” scavenger hunt card that the boys loved walking from window to window checking things off their list.
Then on Saturday morning we surprised them with the breakfast of a lifetime! While they got to pick from chocolate chip pancakes, brioche french toast, an omelette bar, fresh fruit, every kind of smoothie and parfait, we had butterflies knowing any moment Santa would walk in!
Santa and Mrs. Clause came in ringing their bells and leading all the attendees in a Christmas song, our boys were stunned and so excited! Then The Clauses came and sat down by each table, talking to every kid and taking pictures. After the breakfast they had a special photo-op and we know for certain… that beard is real! It was such a special weekend and we’re so glad we were able to share it with our families! It’s definitely a new tradition around here!
For those of you who are local, next time you tour the Grand America Holiday windows, you might find yourself with a free stay! All you need to do is take a picture and put it on Instagram or Twitter with the #GrandWindows hash tag to enter!
Congratulations to Kimberly for winning this giveaway!
A few weeks ago we had sponsor Alejandra from Nena & Co. over so she could show us her line of repurposed leather bags and share her love story for Guatemala. These experiences are such a blessing for us because we learn so much, it opens our world view, and we create new relationships we might never of have the chance to. We interviewed Ale and here’s what she had to say about how she has bridged her roots and heritage with her modern-day fashion-forward business.
1. Tell us about Guatemala!
“For me, Guatemala is completely magical. If you know someone from there they will tell you that the fruit is the sweetest, the people are the nicest and color are the brightest you’ve ever seen and frankly, they are right. I’m for sure one of those people. (Ed. Note: Nicole spent a Summer in Guatemala and nodded along at how amazing it is!) When I’m there I’m ready to eat, laugh with my family and soak in as much as I can. Usually when I go to Guatemala it is to visit family and lately to do genealogy with my mom. But now I focus a lot of my time on working with artists on product development. It is important to me to know who is putting that final brand on Nena & Co. products, or the women I buy my materials from. My career experience is probably like anyone else but I would say what brought me to this point is working and watching my parents have an idea and turn it into a profitable business. My own mother was born and raised in Guatemala, came to the US as a newly-wed and lives the American dream with the opportunities this country provides for Entrepreneurs. Together with my dad I’ve seen them run successful business from designing and manufacturing pinatas in Mexico, to designing diecuts for scrap booking to exponentially growing their accounting firms. I think that’s were I get my inspiration and creativity. Most of my “real” jobs have kept me stagnate and from doing things I really want to do.”
2. How has using locals in Guatemala for product creation shaped your business?
“When I started Nena & Co. I just thought, I love working with the talented people in Guatemala and I love bringing them to people that otherwise might not ever enjoy the textiles from Guate. After a few month of Nena & Co. up and running I decided I needed to work on more product development plus we had raised enough money to take bring down a couple water filtration systems. When I reached the design studio, the Doña (or the female head of the household) pulled me aside to tell me Nena & Co. has been a blessing in their life and all the people they have had to hire. Their house had been burnt down and lost everything just a few month before I contacted them to work together. She proceded to tell me that they weren’t sure what they were going to do and then…Nena & Co. placed its first order. I looked around the room and realized, all these people work to make Nena & Co. products. All the sudden Nena & Co. wasn’t just a fun idea…it was people. I didn’t realize what a difference starting a small business could make.”
3. You’re using textiles that are made with centuries old looming techniques and patterns, how have you brought those into the 21st Century and made them such a hot item for our most fashionable friends?
“I like to describe my design process like this: raised by a Guatemalan mother and an American father gives me a love for the bright colors and intricate designs of age old traditions and textiles in Guatemala and the American side lends me a love for style, fashion and innovation. I don’t want people to buy my product just because its for a good cause. I want them to love what they see and be even happier that they are helping someone less fortunate in a different part of the world. For me to go first hand and know every process of the design and production of my product gives me more drive and passion for these women and what we all do to make ends meet. It makes it more real.”
4. Tell us more about the actual bags, what are some cool features to look for?
“Yes! Aside from my earlier designs, Nena & Co, products will either have red or purple lining, the Nena & Co. logo and the bags will specificaly have a tassel on the back zipper and three pockets with a unique front pocket where we take the neckline of the Huipil (or the maya women shirt) and transform it into a front pocket on most of the bags. I like to do this cause its a great feature for mothers for their bottles or sippy cups but also its a way of preserving the Huipils original form. I’m also really excited to have just release Nena & Co.’s exlcusie accessory line which includes camera straps, Turbans and cosmetic bags all of which are priced under $100. The crossbody tote is also a Nena & Co. exclusive design. Meaning you would not be able to go to the market in Central America and find them there.”
We are such huge fans of Alejandra and the love she puts into each piece was more than evident as we spoke. Tears were shed, hugs were exchanged and we were immediately recruited to Team Nena & Co.! She is giving away a day bag valued at $200 to one lucky winner! We weren’t kidding when we said our most fashionable friends are rocking Nena and Co! Check out these babe moms, Sydney, Cara and Dani!
Entries are open until Sunday December 8th at 11:59 MST, good luck!
“Hello there! My name is Melissa, but you can call me Mel. I blog over at So Festive!, a collection of all things festive for holidays, parties, and life. I’m a big fan of traditions and today I’m going to share one of my favorite holiday traditions with you.
Have you ever heard of beignets (pronounced “bin-yays”)? If you haven’t, don’t worry because most people haven’t. My parents discovered these delicious french doughnuts at Cafe du Monde in New Orleans years ago. They fell in love with them and decided to make them for us every Christmas morning.
Today I’m going to show you how fun they can be to make with your kids. Ready? Let’s go!
1. Here’s what you’ll need: Beignet mix (can be purchased online , at World Market for $4 per box, or try the from-scratch recipe here) mixing bowl, water, rolling pin, holiday cookie cutters, paper bags, oil for frying and powdered sugar.
2. Combine 2 cups of mix and 7 oz of water in a mixing a bowl (for each batch). Stir until it is a soft, pliable dough. If it’s too sticky, add a little more mix. If it’s too thick, add a little more water. You can’t mess it up!
4. Put each beignet in hot oil and fry until each side is golden brown.
5. Let the beignets drain on a paper towel.
Doesn’t that seem so easy and doable? And with so many steps the kids will love. We’re excited to try this one out!
We hope you had a lovely Thanksgiving! We have so much we want to share this upcoming month we decided to postpone our typical Fryday posts until the New Year so we can cover it all! If you need a consolation, we have a pretty killer Instagram giveaway going on this morning! Hint: #blackFRYday. Happy weekend, everyone!