2017 Holiday Cards are Here!

Wow, has it really been three months since my last blog post??? Yes, it's true. And I have many excuses--the biggest one is called Morningtide. ;)

As much as I am devoted to all things Morningtide, I am still doing freelance design for clients and designing holiday cards for my little shop. Yay! I hope you like the new designs this year. Please email me with any questions or if you'd like a totally custom design, just holler.

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Revolution Foods Lunch Bundles plus Giveaway

I can't believe the school year is almost here! Where did summer go? Lucas will be in second grade, Theo will be starting kindergarten, and we will all (hopefully) be getting back into a nice routine. Today, I've partnered with Revolution Foods to give away a month's supply of their healthy, easy-to-make meals and Lunch Bundles for the whole family. Enter the giveaway and check out the details here. I love Revolution Foods' philosophy that everyone deserves access to high quality food made with carefully considered ingredients and their commitment to quality and nurturing healthier food habits. Plus, they make it super easy for busy parents to get the kids out the door for school with their Lunch Bundles, and easy weeknight dinners with their Dinner Hero meals.

Lucas and Theo loved these Lunch Bundles and they each had their favorites. I was able to mix and match them to make sure they were happy. With four classic bundle options (including Decker, Powerfood, Superfood and Sundipper), Revolution Foods Lunch Bundles have no artificial flavors, and include a rich variety of healthy options loaded with protein, whole grains, and real fruits and veggies. So fun to snack, nibble, dip and go!

I usually make lunches for the kids but sometimes I just need a break. Seriously, these Lunch Bundles are so easy to grab and pop into the kids' backpacks. I'm all about saving time this back to school year!

Who remembers Hamburger Helper back in the day? My mom used to make those skillet dinners for us every once in a while as a time saving quick weeknight meal. I don't even want to know what the ingredients were in those! In comes Dinner Hero meals that you can make in 30 minutes with whole grains and custom spice blends.

There are four flavors--Coconut Curry, Sesame Garlic, Smoky Tomato and Fiesta Taco--we tried the Fiesta Taco. It was a little spicy for the kids, but we just added more rice than meat and they ate the whole thing. Also, we opted to use ground turkey instead of beef, and added avocado and fresh cilantro.

I would love to know, "How do you Hero?" Share your tips, tricks, and parenting moments with me. Don't forget to enter this amazing giveaway to win a month's supply of Revolution Foods!

+ This post was sponsored by Revolution Foods, but all thoughts and opinions are my own.
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My New Venture: Morningtide

I'm so excited to announce my new venture, Morningtide, a small retail shop in Albany, CA that I will co-own with my friend and business partner Lisa Fontaine. Morningtide is a lifestyle shop with a vision to carry thoughtfully curated home accessories, gifts, clothing, and jewelry designed and made by independent artists and craftspeople.
 

We have been so busy and working so hard to make this a tangible reality. With plans to open our doors in early September, we still have a ways to go. We have put together an Indiegogo Campaign to help fund our goal. The money we raise will go toward providing an inviting entrance complete with potted plants and benches, update electrical and make some minor renovations that we were unable to negotiate as part of our lease. Most significantly, we will use our funds for a shop sign and build the retail displays including a dressing room, cash wrap, garment rack, and shelving.

We would appreciate you taking a look at our video and considering a donation. We put together some awesome prizes we feel are a good representation of the products we will carry in the shop. If you're unable to make a donation, feel free to spread the word! And don't forget to follow along on Instagram (@morningtide.shop)!

Thank you so much for your support!

Lucas' 7th Birthday Party

I can't believe Lucas turned 7 on April 26th. Last year he wanted a Pokemon party but we ended up with a magic themed party instead. He's even more into Pokemon now so we did it up with a Pokemon themed party with my own modern spin on it. Remember his 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th and 6th birthday parties?

I designed the invitations with a simple and modern take on Pikachu's face. I initially wanted to mail each invitation with a balloon that had a hand drawing of Pikachu's face but it didn't quite work out the way I wanted. Instead, each invitation came with a yellow balloon taped to the yellow backing of the invitation. The custom envelope liner had a photo of Lucas looking at a Pokemon book written in Japanese from our date to the Kinokuniya bookstore. The invitations were mailed in sunny yellow envelopes and sealed with wraparound address labels.

For the party favors, I made Poke Surprise Balls (tutorial here) using crepe paper streamers, a Sharpie and red acrylic paint. Each Poke Ball included a few Pokemon figurines, some Japanese candy, and a colorful whistle.

As usual, we order all the donut holes and make custom paper cones. :)

I made a super easy red velvet cake and cupcakes and just added the Pokemon figurines on top.

We hired a face painter who specializes in Pokemon drawings. Some kids had their full face painted and others, like Lucas, just had a character drawn on their face or arm.

Initially I was going to get Mexican food, but then I realized that Japanese food would be perfect for the theme! The sushi platters from Kyoto actually turned out to be less expensive. I just added Japanese rice crackers, fresh fruit, and some gyoza from Costco which I heated the morning of.

Okay, so the whistles. ;) I thought the whistles in the favors were so cute! I mean, for emergencies or to hook onto backpacks, right? But when all the whistles are going off at the same time and parents are kidding but not kidding about getting me back at their next party... Haha!!!

The cutest Pikachu that ever lived!

Every year, Nick and I tag team on making the pinata. This year I made a Poke Ball using the paper mache method and filled it with Japanese candies and Annie's Bunny Fruit Snacks. Nick stayed up until 1 a.m. painting it.

Last year's pinata was a giant playing card that we made out of cardboard. It was unbreakable and hilarious because Nick had to stab it all over just to make it easier to break. This year was the opposite--it busted open just after a few strikes. We had to find ways to make it harder to open and sadly not everyone got a turn.

The look on Lucas' face when it was cake time is everything.

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East Bay Mother's Day Pop Up

Please join us on May 7, 2017 from 11-3 pm for an afternoon of shopping for/with moms, moms-to-be, grandmoms, new moms or pet moms. Enjoy delicious food, drinks, and goodies by these amazing designers/companies.

AYLA GROOM
Handcrafted jewelry, bags and stationery
etsy.com/shop/aylaisadora

CAN CAN CLEANSE
Organic juices, nut milks and cleanses
cancancleanse.com

CARRIE SAXL
Modern, organic jewelry made in CA
carriesaxl.com

GOOD EGGS
Organic grocery delivery and dinner kits
goodeggs.com

HYGGE
Modern denim kimono jackets made in CA
hyggedesign.xyz

JENNY PENNYWOOD
Hand printed textiles ethically made in CA
jennypennywood.com

MELANIE ABRANTES
Handcrafted objects of solid wood and cork
melanieabrantes.com

ZIRAFFE
Minimalist, chic and fun kids clothing
ziraffe.com

New addition:
Berkeley Cellar
Rainbow superfood powder
 

Snacks and sweet treats GOOD EGGS
Savory bites and bread CHASE AGEE of PAIN BAKERY
Korean bites and mocktail SELINA S. LEE of BANCHAN WORKSHOP
Mini ancient botanical favors MOONDELI (limited quantity available)

Favorites: Dinner Kits from Good Eggs

I'm so excited to partner with Good Eggs to bring you a preview of their new Weeknight Dinner Kit launching on April 16th. I've tried other meal kits before and there were always two things I didn't like about them--too much wasteful packaging and it took at least an hour to prep and cook. When I received the Good Eggs Weeknight Dinner Kit, I was so happy to see that the box was small, the ingredients were minimally packaged, and any packaging material that was required was compostable.

The kit came with 3 dinners and each one literally took only 10-15 minutes of prep time. Each recipe is clearly marked A, B and C with corresponding labels on the ingredients. It was easy to distinguish and separate for storing in the fridge.

I decided to make the Mint Pesto Pasta with Spring Peas and Green Garlic first. Initially I thought it wasn't enough food but turns out I had some pesto leftover so I could make a lunch the next day. Score! Lucas and Theo LOVED it! They never had mint and arugula pesto before and they kept asking for more. Score again! The meal came with a giant salad and a yummy red vinaigrette.

Love this on the box!

    I also got a Buh-Bye Box to encourage being fully present at the dinner table.

    Thanks Good Eggs for the amazing Finishing Salt from Omnivore.

    And thank you again for the Fresh 2016 Harvest Olio Nuovo from Other Brother. It was perfect for drizzling at the end of the

    I highly recommend this dinner kit for busy families. It's absurdly fresh, easy, and delicious.

    Here are more details of the Good Eggs Weeknight Dinner Kit:

    • Customers who sign up for the dinner kit receive 3 meals, which can be ordered and delivered at the same time as their weekly groceries (subscription not required).
    • Kit options change weekly
    • Cost is $69.99
    • Promotional pricing in April and May: $49.99 (use code DINNERKIT20 for $20 off your first kit)
    • 1 meal = 3 servings
    • Each weekly menu comes with a Good Eggs seasonal green salad mix and dressing that can be paired with any meal. (pairings suggested on recipes)
    • This spring, there will be 2 omnivore meals and 1 vegetarian
    • Coming later this year: vegetarian, paleo and other options

    + Ceramic bowls by Colleen Hennessy
    + Napkins by Sweetgum Textles
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    Favorites: School Lunches With Fluf Lunch Bags

    For many parents, including myself, school lunches can be a little daunting--what to pack each day, deciding between a warm lunch or cold, not wanting to spend too much money if it's going to come back uneaten, etc. Today, I've partnered with modern kids online shop Ziraffe who sent over some of the cutest lunch and snack packs from Fluf. They are washable, have a water-resistant BPA-free lining, durable, super cute, and made of organic cotton. I've paired them with our favorite lunch box to show you some lunch ideas that work for both Lucas and Theo.

    Theo's nut-free preschool lunch in the Cactus Zipper Lunch Bag (left):

    • pomegranate seeds
    • cucumber slices
    • apple slices
    • brown rice cake
    • mandarin orange slices
    • kiwi
    • yogurt covered pretzel (dessert)
      note: I usually include a protein such as string cheese or a sun butter sandwich but his class was having rice and beans that day so I omitted it.

    Lucas' first grade lunch in the Grey Zipper Lunch Bag (right):

    • blackberries
    • kiwi
    • olives
    • string cheese
    • peanut butter and jelly sandwich
    • sliced apples
    • organic dark chocolate coconut chips (WF bulk bin!)

    A few other school lunch tips:

    • Either make the lunch with your kid or ask them what they'd like in their lunch
    • Give them a choice (i.e. do you want pears or apples? a sandwich or a quesadilla?)
    • Pack the night before--for apple slices, cut them in the morning and have one of the kids rub lemon on them to prevent from turning brown
    • For kids who hate bread crust, I do one of two things: I either leave it on because sometimes my kids are so hungry they eat the whole thing, or I cut off the crust and put it in the actual sandwich (they can't see it or taste it, but they're eating it!)

    I bought most of these from Trader Joe's and Whole Foods. The cost for each lunch comes out to under $4 and all of it minus the olives and pretzel is organic.

    I supplemented their lunch with some snacks. These Fluf snack packs are so convenient for school or just everyday use. I love the velcro closure for little hands and how roomy they are. I put cut-up carrots and gluten-free pretzels in the Fluf Mama Love Snack Pack for Theo. Lucas has raw almonds and cut-up carrots in his Hi Snack Pack.

    The lunch bags hold a lot (probably even artwork and jacket!).

    I love that there's a sturdy interior pocket for a water bottle or an ice pack.

    + This post is in partnership with Ziraffe. All words and opinions are my own.

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    Gift Giving with UncommonGoods

    The beginning of the year always seems to start off slowly and then before I know it, there's little league, swimming, summer camps, and birthday parties galore. I'll admit it--I'm a last minute gift giver and I'm always scrambling. Today, I've partnered with UncommonGoods to show you my gift picks for Nick's birthday, my girls trip, and my favorite gifts for Home Decor here above).

    1 / Blah Blah Throw  2 / Minimalist Teak Wall Shelf  3 / Out the Door Wall Mounted Key Holder  4 / Handwoven Guatemalan Zig Zag Wool Rug  5 / Come In, Go Away Doormat

    First off, not only does UncommonGoods have something for everyone, they are always working toward making their company more environmentally friendly, socially responsible and a rewarding place to work. UncommonGoods focuses on handmade, recycled and organic products, give their employees benefits and living wages, and is a founding member of B Corporation, an organization created to help customers understand the social and environmental impact of their purchases. I'm in total support of companies like this.   

    One gift I need to get this year is for Nick who will be turning 40 this year! There are so many unique Gifts For Men at UncommonGoods, it was really hard to choose. If you know Nick though, you know he loves beer, the outdoors, camping and music.

    1 / West Coast Style IPA Brewing Kit  2 / Personalized Mixtape Doormat  3 / Adventure Blanket  4 / Portable Camp Grill and Charger

    Every year my girlfriends and I go on a big trip and we do a take on Oprah's favorite things. I need to get 10 gifts each under $10. UncommonGoods has a sweet Bridesmaid Section -- I love that I can buy one thing and split them up for my girlfriends.

    1/ Wine Soap, Set of 4  2 / Sweet Treat Hand Cream Set  3 / Chakra Bath Salts Set  4 / 7 Chakras Handmade Soap Set

    + This post was sponsored by UncommonGoods, but all thoughts and opinions are my own.
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    Favorites: New Tea Collection / Australia

    The latest Tea Collection line celebrates the adventurous spirit of Australia. Remember Lucas and Theo rocking the collections inspired by Japan, Italy and India? I've always wanted to travel to Australia--it was one of the top picks for our honeymoon. I love all the inspiration from the animals, the surf, the sun and the incredible natural beauty of Australia.

    To kick off the Australia inspired collection, I took Lucas on a day date to San Francisco--I've heard Sydney is very similar--where we started the day at Tartine Manufactory, then headed to Ocean Beach and Land's End, and ending our date with an amazing lunch at Outerlands.

    Lucas and Theo really love all the graphic t-shirts, and cozy playwear pants and shorts. The items shown in this post include the Pacific Surf Graphic Tee (you can see Lucas modeling it on the site!), Ishigaki Swim Trunks, Shima Rash Guard, and the Side Stripe Shorts. I just placed another order of the new arrivals and can't wait for them to put them on so I can snap some pics.

    + This post is in partnership with Tea Collection and contains affiliate links. All words and opinions are my own.

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    Recipe: Gluten Free Buckwheat Brownies

    I can't believe it's been a month since my last post. Oops! I thought I would have a lot more time after quitting my day job to post more regularly but I have been keeping busy with kid stuff and freelance work...oh, and getting a bit politically active.  Honestly, what did I do when I had my other job?

    Anyway, I'm back (mostly) with this awesome recipe for Gluten Free Buckwheat Brownies from the Alternative Baker book by Alanna Taylor-Tobin. The original recipe calls for Chestnut Flour but says a good alternative (to the alternative flour) is buckwheat flour which is what I had on hand. These brownies were dark and fudgey with that familiar crinkly top. So good! I ended up slicing them up into narrow rectangles to feed Lucas' soccer team (one of the kids on the team is gf) so I could have some too. ;) Enjoy!

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