Posts in July, 2011

Barnyard Animal Books

Saturday, July 30th, 2011

A Cow Says “Baa!” by Susan Fry

Why are so many children’s books about barnyard animals? Most kids today are rarely up close and personal with live chickens or sheep. City children, especially, probably don’t quite understand where milk really comes from. And as for hamburger? Well, maybe we’ll leave that lesson for third grade.

But it’s hard to walk into a library without learning that a cow goes “moo!”

Perhaps a book about the noises of the city, such as The Garbage Truck Says RRRRRRRRScreech at Four O’Clock in the Morning! just wouldn’t be as warm and fuzzy as Old MacDonald.

The following books kick the basic barnyard sounds up a notch: their animals aren’t afraid to try something new, and even parents will giggle at the results.


Moo, Baa, La La La, by Sandra Boyton. “A cow says, ‘Moo!’ A sheep says, ‘Baa!’” But what happens when “’Three singing pigs say, ‘La la la’”? Boynton’s board book is fabulous choice for a child’s very first book, though it may be loved even into preschool. Both parents and children will want to hug Boynton’s little cartoon animals, which cavort across the pastel-colored pages with wide eyes, floppy feet, and spiky fur.


The Little Rabbit Who Liked to Say Moo, by Jonathan Allan. Little Rabbit feels that rabbits don’t get to make enough noise. So he says, “Moo.” When other animals question him, Little Rabbit encourages them all to try out new sounds, from “oink” to “hee haw.” At the end, the other animals admit they like their own sounds best – except for Little Rabbit. His new favorite? “Woof!”


What the Ladybug Heard, by Julia Donaldson, illustrated by Lydia Monks. A barnyard is full of noisy animals – and one ladybug who never says a word. But when she overhears two robbers planning to steal the cow, she hatches a hilarious plan to stop them.

Susan Fry is a writer and mother in the San Francisco Bay Area. She’s written for Stanford Magazine, salon, the San Jose Mercury News, and many other publications.

You can check out the Sweet Peas & Stilettos’ children’s books page for quick access to all of Susan’s wonderful children’s book reviews.

Stride Rite Star Wars Shoes

Friday, July 29th, 2011


Somehow in my frantic hurry to just leave the house and start my mini vacation with my son I managed to forget one little thing…shoes for my son. Five pairs of socks – check, but no shoes. He hopped into the car barefoot and I made a mental note to grab his favorite Tsukihoshi sneakers but some how that thought quickly left my brain and didn’t come back until I was on the freeway setting my car in cruise control. Was I going to turn around and go back home to get them? No way.

So I took him to Nordstrom to pick out a new pair of shoes. I fell in love with an amazing pair of Prada desert boots that were just his size, but my son fell in love with these Star Wars shoes with blue blinking lights. I never ever thought I would buy my son shoes with flashing lights but there I was handing over my Visa… I think I recognized the beaming smile on his face and the sense of awe he had for the shoes. Mommy, “I have to have these shoes.” At any toy store – I can say no and walk right out the door. At the shoe department – I had to say yes.

Mom & Family Calendars

Wednesday, July 27th, 2011

I have calendars all over my house. I have a calendar on the wall by my desk in case I need to look at dates, I have a planner for all of my Sweet Peas & Stilettos planning that I keep in my office, I have another day planner for my personal appointments that I take with me everywhere I go, and then I have a family calendar posted on the refrigerator so my husband knows what’s going on. I also keep multiple to-do lists. Yes, I would say I am a little obsessed with being organized.


I love the colors in the Bold Blossoms collection from Orange Circle Studio. They carry a number of very cute and super functional organization calendars and planners for moms so you can keep your life organized. I am planning to use their Do It All Planner for all of my business related items. The colors will look great in my office and I know it won’t get lost under a pile of mail. I am going to put my Orange Circle Studio Do It All Calendar on my refrigerator to replace the one I have up their from last year. They have made improvements to their design and the magnet and it has a great pocket for little notes too. Thank you Orange Circle Studio for the great products – I am thrilled to use them.

If you are looking to get organized, here is the Sweet Peas & Stilettos page full of family calendars, mom planners and agendas, and organizational tools.

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Tane Organics

Monday, July 25th, 2011

tane-organics-artist-shirt       tane-organics-hats
TANE Organics uses on the purest, most luxurious natural fibers in their gorgeous collection of clothes for infants. One of my favorite things about TANE is the palate of colors they use for every piece in their collection. As nice as primary colors are, we don’t always need bright prints and  bold colors to permeate every item of clothing in our children’s closets. Thoughtfully, these hues were actually inspired by the tempera paints used in Renaissance frescos. These clothes are meant to keep your child in luxurious comfort.

TANE-organics-outfits       tane-organic-globe

In 2010 TANE Organics launched the I AM THE WORLD campaign. Each season, a specially designed product is dedicated to this campaign, where 100% of sales from the item will be allocated to the Remote Classrooms International, in conjunction to funding local organizations focused on children’s education. This adorable 8″ crocheted globe rattle is made from 100% organic cotton by artisans in the hills of Arequipa, Peru. The globe “celebrates the joy of childhood, the playfulness of a simple design, and the closeness of the world in our hands.” Visit TANE organics today – I am certain you will find something special for your little one.

Little Passports

Saturday, July 23rd, 2011

little-passports-brazil       little-passports-japan

Inspire your children to learn about the world. I have always been impressed with the concept of Little Passports and their mission to teach kids about different countries and cultures. I had the travel bug from a very young age and I hope my son will have it too. Sign up and Little Passports will send your child a new country package every month full of games, stickers, souvenirs and more teaching them about a new country. This is a great gift for grandparents to give to their grandchildren or aunts and uncles to give to their nieces and nephews. Save 10% on Little Passports with code “SHARE10”! Exp. 7/31!

Amanda Pearl Handbags

Thursday, July 21st, 2011

As much as I love all of my gorgeous tote bags, sometimes I get tired of lugging around everyone else’s stuff. Do I really need to carry  an iPad, a juice box, a 4T sweatshirt (just in case) and a dump truck everywhere I go? I just found these stunning bags from Amanda Pearl that are perfect for all the moms out there who need a night out.


Amanda Pearl’s Alessia clutch is perfect for a wedding, festive event or for anytime you just want to carry around a super pretty bag and feel fabulous. You can wear a simple dress and give your outfit the perfect splash of color with this beautiful clutch.


I am sure my son would love to use this chartreuse Samantha roll clutch to store his Lego mini figures in….I on the other hand would pop in my favorite Velvet Gloss Lip Pencil and head out for a night with the girls. It is available in a dozen of equally spectacular colors too. Wishing I could afford an entire rainbow…

Saks Fifth Avenue

Photo iPhone Cases

Tuesday, July 19th, 2011


Just yesterday I was uploading some photographs to share with a friend on Kodak Gallery when I stumbled upon these very cool iPhone cases that you can make from your own photos. How fun are these? I can’t wait to make a custom iPhone case for everyone in my family. I am also going to jot down a little note to remind myself about these for the holidays. What a fun gift idea. If you want to make one for yourself now – here are a few deals to consider 1) Save an Additional 10% off when you spend $50 or more at or 2) Save 25% off 1 item (discount applied to highest item) at .

Personalized Children's Books.  Click here!

Kobi Levi Footwear as Art

Monday, July 18th, 2011

Love shoes? Love art? Kobi Levi’s footwear designs are absolutely magical. All of his shoes are wearable sculptures that are certain to delight everyone. He has a brilliant eye and an amazing sense of humor. Here are a few of my favorites and be sure to head over to his blog to see more wonderful photos and to learn more about him.


Blond Ambition.




Sling shot.


Banana slip-ons.

Kobi has so many more fabulous shoes you must see. I can’t wait to show them to my son when he gets home from camp this afternoon. I have a feeling we will be doing some very cool footwear related art projects this week…. Happy Monday to all!


Manners Books for Kids

Friday, July 15th, 2011

Manners by Susan Fry

My older son always seems to have his finger up his nose. My younger son likes to smear peanut butter on the couch. And on playdates, I don’t have to wait long before one of them shouts, “Poopy head!”

But, honestly, my own manners aren’t what they used to be. I’ve sunk low since my time in the corporate world. These days, I think nothing of talking with my mouth full (“Stop hitting your brother!”), gesturing with my fork (“I mean it, put that steak knife down!”), or eating off other people’s plates (“See, I told you the green part wasn’t poisonous!”). I don’t just need to teach my children their manners – I need a re-finishing school myself.

Most etiquette books, however, are too preachy, with a “Manners can be fun!” attitude that leaves my family rudely gagging behind their hands. So I searched out a few that lead by negative example: they let kids laugh at the wrong ways to do things.

So perhaps I’m doing something right, after all.


The Princess and the Dragon, by Audrey Wood. “Once there was a Princess who did not behave like a Princess.” Her manners were so bad, in fact, that all the parents in the kingdom told their children, “Don’t act like her! She’s a disgrace!” As a mean trick, the princess decides to let a dragon kidnap her. To her surprise, the dragon is well-mannered – he likes to read books, say thank you, and dress nicely. They decide to switch places, and everyone is much happier. When the children in the kingdom get tired of emulating the new “princess,” they can visit the “dragon” cave and go wild. Grownups will enjoy the inside joke of the drawings – the colorful pages resemble medieval tapestries and paintings.

manners by aliki

Manners, by Aliki. I was surprised to find my children enthralled by this book, which is pretty obvious about its intent to teach manners. But both my sons love to pore over the little comic-book style cartoons. Each page illustrates a mini “story” about etiquette gone wrong, with gentle, often humorous examples of better ways to act. The pages with kids role-playing bad manners are especially popular with my boys.


Rules of the Wild: An Unruly Book of Manners, by Bridget Levin, illustrated by Amanda Shepherd. Though it falls on the cutesy side, this book will appeal to the animal lovers in your house. Energetic cartoons show a little boy tromping through the animal world, doing all the things animals are allowed to do but human children aren’t. He spits with the camels, burps with the walruses, and dunks food with the raccoons. A final chart of all the animals filled with “nos” and “yesses” will have kids pointing and laughing, in a good way.

Susan Fry is a writer and mother in the San Francisco Bay Area. She’s written for Stanford Magazine, salon, the San Jose Mercury News, and many other publications.

You can check out the Sweet Peas & Stilettos’ children’s books page for quick access to all of Susan’s wonderful children’s book reviews.

Stephanie Johnson Travel Bags

Thursday, July 14th, 2011


I have found a little travel bag that I will never ever tuck away in a drawer. I received this glorious Stephanie Johnson cosmetic case as a gift (thank you Susan!!) about 2 months ago and I swear it has been on my counter or in my bag every day since. It is to pretty and festive to put away. It has been wonderful for vacations – I love the little compartments inside where I can organize my make-up and brushes. The bag has been equally useful to use on a daily basis to carry little items in my bag. I’ve used it for my iPhone, for glasses, you name it. I toss it into my Louis Vuitton Neverfull and I can always find it.


I love Stephanie Johnson’s website too because she makes it really easy to see all of your options and all of the products you have to choose from all on one screen. Above is a snapshot of some of her bags (there are many more too!) so you just pick a bag style you like. She really has designed a bag for everyone and every possible need.


And then you have all of these gorgeous fabrics to choose from. If you fall in love with a particular print you can quickly see all of the bags available in that print. It is so simple and intuitive. The hardest part is narrowing down your selection because the colors and fabrics are so pretty.

Go to her website and play and have fun with all of the colors. I am sure you will find a new cosmetic bag you’ll love. And while you are at it, you can pick up a cute evening pouch and an iPad case too. Happy Shopping!