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stroller fingers

14 Jan

My next-door-neighbor Emily one of those moms.  Impossibly gorgeous, talented, creative, sweet, and effortlessly patient with her incredibly well-behaved sons.   And perhaps I’d be bothered by these things, but she’s also one of those people you can’t help but want to be friends with.

So I feel remiss in having taken so long to share the story of her latest business venture, a great invention called the “Haypenny Handmitten.”  It’s just gotten so damn cold here in Brooklyn that it seems like a perfect time to do so.   I don’t know if this is due to the fact that Margaret, the wonderful woman who cares for Fionn while we’re at work, looks at me like I’m smoking crackers when I suggest that indoor activities are fine, given the conditions.   Because if she can get outside, she will.   So being outdoors in weather that would make a mail carrier cry is just something that Fionn loves – and expects – from us on weekends as well.

That’s where the Handmitten comes in.  I’ll spare you all the details- you can read them in posts on Hybrid Mom and Daily Candy Kids.

The bottom line is this: Emily has created a muff-like object that fastens around the handlebars of your stroller.  It’s made of wool on the outside and fleece on the inside.  The sweater wool is knitted in fair-trade cooperatives in Nepal and Peru.   You put your hands into the cuffs and push the stroller.  You don’t ever lose a glove or get ‘stroller fingers,’ my term for the condition that leads to me switching off which hand goes in a pocket, while avoiding the stroller landing in a snow drift or falling off the curb.


The Handmitten goes for $68.  But if you have a favorite sweater, you can send it to Emily and she’ll have it made into your own custom version for $100.  Not bad, considering how many replacement pairs of gloves I’ve bought over the past two winters…

Visit her website here,  and let me or her know if you have any questions.


tutus, car seats and everything in between

9 Jun

If you need it, Baby Chic's got it.

If you’re a regular reader of RFYO, you know that my mom loves to shop.  But she’s not an ordinary shopper.  She’s a bargain hunter.  And not just a bargain hunter, but an expert at whatever she buys.  Recently, her shopping habits have trended towards the virtual (Ebay sends her personalized notes to inform her of new services), but lately, and since the birth of Fionn, she’s got a new favorite bricks-and-mortar store.

Whenever it’s determined that Fionn ‘needs’ something toy-or-gear related, Grandma’s ready.  No more waiting for those golden-ticket-like 20% off coupons from Big Box Baby, and no more driving to the mega kids toy store by the mega mall.  Instead, she heads directly to Baby Chic in Williston Park, Long Island, a very selective consignment shop with an excellent selection for babies and kids.

Car seat, anyone?

Anyone with a child knows how quickly babies grow out of (or grow up from) things.   And it’s amazing how much stuff kids can amass over such a short period of time.   Look at these photos – the place is PACKED with stuff, everything from car seats (above) to walkers/exersaucers/play tables, to toys, books, clothes and strollers.   It’s not a new idea – the baby consignment shop, but it is one that’s picking up speed, especially in this day and age.  I should probably mention at this point that this post is not a paid advertisement.  This shop really impressed me, and there are three things which really set it apart from the other places I’ve seen that make it worth a physical or virtual visit:

1.  The proprietors.

The two women (moms) who run this shop know everything about everything they sell, and it’s apparent that they truly care about what they do.   If you’ve ever tried buying a car seat from the R Us franchise, you’ll see the difference right away.  Today, Tiffany gave us a tour of everything in the shop, answering my mom’s questions about Baby Bjorns (for her future granddaughter) and helped Fionn try out all the age-appropriate toys.

New Danskin, at discount

2. The product condition.

As this is a resale shop, Baby Chic depends on all of us to bring in items in EXCELLENT condition.  Their standards are strict – you’re not going to see anything covered in garage-sale-grime here.  I was surprised to see how many items were actually Brand New In Box… (heck, I could have unloaded quite a few gifts from my baby shower, come to think of it).   Today I saw Dwell Studio bedding and a rack of Danskin leotards (which is never, ever, discounted) in bags, with tags, for great prices.  I felt like I was in TJ Maxx.

Tutus and wings

Popatu close up, $12.99

3.  The tutus

I have a boy, so I’m not a tutu shopper.  Apparently, these are all the rage, and I see them on little girls in my neighborhood ALL THE TIME.  Plus, they’re super cute.   These tutus are all new, by the way.  Briefly, they sell Pettiskirts for $21.99, flower-petal tutus for $10.99 (with wings, for $18), and I believe the Popatu tutu (above) is $12.99.  But Tiffany knows more than anyone should about them too, so please contact her with your questions.

Don’t live in the area and want to buy something? Don’t fret.  They’re going to start selling merchandise via their website very shortly.  So keep checking out their website.  And if there’s something specific you’re looking for, I’m sure they can work something out and get it to you.

CityShade – a local mum business

31 Mar

Before having a kid, I’d see these moms around town, with strollers so full of Stuff (bottles, bags, toys, books, clothes, snack foods, and whatever else they could fit in the basket, bottle tote, recyclable sack and diaper bag), that I (naively) vowed to myself, “I’m never going to be like that when my baby’s born.”  Then Fionn arrived, and I realized that there’s a reason why a mid-afternoon walk often requires the same intense preparation as a full day excursion.

With kids, you learn which items are essential and which items you can leave behind.  And, as is often the case, there are many essentials.  Sometimes you find a simple invention that not only saves space, it makes your life a whole lot easier.

I was reminded of this, and the general ingenuity of new mothers, when I met with Micaela Birmingham, amazing ‘mum’ (she hails from Toronto) and inventor of the  CityShade.   Always on the lookout for essentials that cut down on non-essential extras, I was incredibly impressed by Micaela’s invention, a sun/wind/weather shade that attaches to stroller system bassinets from Bugaboo, UppaBaby, and Peg Perego (among others).

 Whether you’ve given birth in summertime or wintertime, you find that each season presents its fair share of challenges.  One of them is the newborn-induced conflicting desires of ‘get-me-the-hell-out-of-this-house-NOW-or-I’m-going-to-go-ballistic’ and ‘crap, it’s too bright/windy/cold outside — plus, it’s naptime.’

 Shortly after the birth of her daughter in May of 2008, Micaela proudly headed out for a walk with her new girl and her ‘we’ve-thought-of-everything’ Bugaboo bassinet, and winced as the sun blazed down on her precious newborn’s skin.  Looking around, she noticed lots of new mothers were dealing with the same thing, using makeshift swaddles, jackets, blankets and towels – whatever ‘stuff’ they had with them – to shield their new children from the sun’s rays.

An architect by trade, Micaela is a problem-solver by nature.  And being a new mother, she was determined to make things easier for herself and other parents.  So she busted out the sewing machine, and created a prototype out of a dishtowel and some thread.  Shortly thereafter, she recruited some friends as guinea pigs, then found a fashion designer to help her realize her invention.  A year later,  after constantly being stopped on the street by interested moms and dads, Micaela started her CityMum business with 8 CityShade patterns – all manufactured here in NY. 

If you’re interested, please check out Micaela’s website here.  For $70 (including shipping), the CityShade makes a unique shower gift that you know will be much used and appreciated.   Plus, you’ll be supporting a fellow ‘mum’ and local businesswoman with a great idea.