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Scary Cute -- Enter If You Dare!!!

October 9, 2012 20:33
UPDATE: Congrats to our winner: Benjamin from Chicago, IL! Check out his winning entry.
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Makaboo Personalized Gifts and Lucky Lil’ Darlings are hosting a Halloween Coloring Contest that is Scary Cute!!!

Print our Scary Cute Coloring Page…and enter if you dare for a chance to win a Personalized Makaboo Trick-or-Treat bag!

Enter Makaboo Personalized Gifts Halloween Coloring Contest

Post a photo of your lil’ punkin’s spooktacular coloring page on: facebook.com/LuckyLilDarlings or tweet @LucklyLilDarling

Caution! We’ll announce our winner on October 28th!

Makaboo Personalized Trick-or-Treat bag - small

Have a BOOtiful Halloween!

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Lucky Lil’ Darlings (LLD) is an elite family care solutions company providing corporate and family focused babysitting, parent-centric events and inspiring commentary on child care, kids and family focused products. LLD currently services families in New York (Manhattan, Brooklyn, Long Island, Hamptons & Westchester), Philadelphia, New Jersey, Connecticut, Austin, Atlanta, Chicago and Los Angeles.


Photo Tip: Stay Behind To Capture The Action!

September 26, 2012 10:10

Let’s face it, in the early months, simply coaxing a winning smile from baby seems impossible!   Perhaps that’s why the bum shot works so well for active babies and toddlers - really who can even keep them still!?!  Here are some of our favorite from behind shots:

Kissy Kissy Fancy Pants - Love Bug

Angel Dear Classic Hoodie Jacket, Blue

Angel Dear Elephant Napping Blanket

Kissy Kissy Fancy Pants - Happy Holidays


Make Family Travel Easier With Great Gear And A Routine!

September 13, 2012 09:47

By our guest blogger: Lindsay Bell

This July I spent two full weeks in gorgeous Martha's Vineyard babysitting for a family I've known for nearly six years. I cared for two young girls in the small village of Edgartown, MA. During this trip I learned the importance of routine and good travel gear for kids.

Each day was a new adventure, but each was carefully mapped out to make sure we got everything we wanted accomplished. We'd start off the day at The Katama Store with a freshly brewed cup of Joe & some delicious pastries. Then it was off to camp to take the youngest. We packed her backpack up for the day with sunscreen, towel, lunch, sunglasses, etc. Everyday we'd ride over to island on the Chappy Ferry where Jessie the driver would pick up passengers & take them to the beach club. Parents & sitters would set up shop on the beach while the lil' ones were at camp until 1:30pm. Then it was family beach time followed by play date, another lesson, ice cream, or bike ride. We'd take the kids back abound 5pm to shower and then make or go out to dinner. Then it was wind down time.

Every task was clear, the kids knew what to expect, I knew where I needed to be, how I could best help, and everyone seemed happy! Now if we had a change of plans no big deal. Just having a general layout of the day made confusing new plans seem completely organized & efficient because of our routine.

For instance at bedtime, which was 8pm and 8:30pm respectively, the girls knew when I said it was time for bed what they needed to do. We'd go brush our teeth, gather all their stuffed animals to snuggle with, book, song, prayer, lights out!

The girls really found comfort and confidence in the special items they packed for the trip. From a favorite nighttime movie, to a special backpack or tote bag personalized with their name, our beach house was truly a home away from home. Here are some of my top picks for personalized kids travel gear:

Makaboo Personalized Stephen Joseph Quilted Backpack
Small backpack perfect for toddlers to tote!

Personalized Nap Mat
Dual purpose: cute stuffed animal & nap blanket!

Makaboo Personalized Stephen Joseph Rolling Luggage
Kids love having their own rolling luggage!

I loved my time in the Vineyard & hope it's not my last. There is nothing better than feeling like part of the family in a new place and having a routine already intact!

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Lindsay Bell is the co-founder of Lucky Lil’ Darlings (LLD), an elite family care solutions company providing corporate and family focused babysitting, parent-centric events and inspiring commentary on child care, kids and family focused products. Prior to launching LLD, Lindsay worked in communications for the Radio City Rockettes and as a Marketing Manager for boutique marketing and PR agencies in NYC. For more information on LLD visit luckylildarlings.com or follow Lindsay on Twitter @LindsayBellNYC


Goodnight Newborn with Sleepy On Hudson

September 6, 2012 09:47

by our guest blogger: Brooke Nalle

As a pediatric sleep specialist and owner of Sleepy on Hudson, I know how overwhelming the whole learning-to-sleep process with newborns can be! But I’m here to tell you that there is an incredibly simple yet effective tool that might just so happen to be the answer to all of your problems – the lovie! If you want a more scientific-sounding term, lovies can be considered ‘transitional objects.’ But whichever name you prefer, I recommend that ALL of my clients get them for their children, and buying them for my kids has been one of my smartest moments as a parent (if I do say so myself!). They are instrumental to baby’s self-soothing process, and what’s more, my son Alistair considers his lovie his favorite toy. Such a crowd pleaser!

Lovies are a small, soft piece of fabric sized just-right for infants. They can often include a small stuffed animal face for an extra-cute touch. My son’s beloved lovie (yes, the lovie lived up to its name!) was an adorable brown doggie. Unlike other toys, lovies can’t be bounced, twirled, plugged in, thrown or caught. Though simple, they are sure to become a fast favorite amongst kids and parents alike.

Lovies play a vital role in the self-soothing process for little ones. Newborns will relate the softness of the fabric to the softness and warmth of Mom, and therefore love snuggling up with these special “blankies.” Keeping the lovie smelling fresh is important (most lovies are machine washable!) and will also remind little ones of how good their mommies smell. Additionally, lovies can be placed over baby’s belly for added warmth to soothe and replicate the cozy environment of Mom’s belly. The lovie’s ability to recreate all of these comforting sensations allows young children to ease into the self-soothing process and make a seamless transition to sleeping on their own. Sometimes I worry that these little blankies will put me out of business – they seem to do all of the heavy lifting!

You can start using lovies with your newborn immediately, have them start using independently around 2 months, and they should begin grabbing and clutching at the lovie around 4 months. Perhaps the best part about lovies is that as your bundle of joy continues to grow, his or her lovie will continue to remain in the picture by taking on more and more roles. Lovies can be a comforting pal throughout all of the tough times that your little one might endure during his or her first year and beyond. Whether it is ear infections, teething, or going off to daycare for the first time, a lovie will remain a steadfast pal that is always on hand to provide some relief. No matter the situation, lovies almost always work (and are often the only thing that works) to make your little one happy and feeling better. Don’t be surprised if your kids take them off to overnight camp or even college!

At Makaboo.com, the ability to personalize your little one’s lovie makes them even more special. Adding a name is not only a great, personalized touch, but if these little guys ever get dropped or left behind (it will happen quite a few times) a name on the item lets others know that the lovie needs to be returned to someone special!

Personalized Baby Lovie

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Brooke Nalle, founder of Sleepy On Hudson, is a pediatric sleep specialist and sleep coach specializing in developmentally appropriate sleep programs that are gentle yet effective. In addition to her local New York area clients, she works with families around the country, Canada and Europe. She has three children, Alistair (8), Clara (6), and Loewy (3) - all of whom are great sleepers now. It wasn’t easy at first, and they still adore their lovies. Find Brooke on Facebook at facebook.com/sleepyonhudson, on the web: sleepyonhudson.com, or on Twitter, @sleepyonhudson


Pro Hints For Creating Artful Personalized Baby Photos

August 21, 2012 11:12

by our guest blogger: Heather Roth

Personalized Knit Baby Blanket

As a professional photographer I am fortunate enough to take photographs of really incredible people. They are families, couples, and individuals of all ages who all have amazing talents, unique interests and fascinating, one-of-a-kind stories. Understanding the individual is what inspires each shoot and ultimately makes the difference in turning a family photograph into a priceless piece of family history – a work of art.

To do this, I take great care in arranging every detail – like finding locations that offer interesting aesthetics and complement individual personalities, offering styling and wardrobe planning, and bringing personalized props to make sure that each shoot is perfect. Most importantly, I put the highest priority on working to make sure everyone feels comfortable enough in front of the camera to have fun, and just be themselves!

Here are my top 5 hints for creating unforgettable portrait photographs of babies and children:

1. What's the best time of day to capture good baby photos?
It’s best to leave this entirely up to Mom – or as is more likely the baby! The baby's best time is usually in the morning after their breakfast. I love working in natural beautiful light, so as long as I've got the best atmosphere, I can work anytime.

2. Where is the best place to photograph new babies?
I love going to a family's home. New moms are the most nervous, so I think capturing the baby in their own environment makes it easier on everyone. It also keeps things different for me, and if gives me entirely new inspiration each shoot. Each family's style is different and unique to them. I also love capturing the baby's room!

3. What are the best ages to photograph little ones?
I really like all ages – it is really important to document all the early years. Typically, families continue to work with me through the first few years starting with newborn, 3, 6, 9 months and so on. After the first year, it's typically each year after that.

4. What are the cutest props for a newborn shoot?
I love items that are really special to the parents. I do like to make suggestions and I love items with their name on it! I love sweet little hats and shirts that have a personalized touch. Framing the photograph or canvas looks great on display in their room. The trend towards personalization in photos is still going strong and Makaboo.com has personalized baby gifts that are so cute! Little Walt's photos from our shoot have definitely made it to my favorite list, the personalized footie, knit hat and blanket are adorable.

5. What should parents consider when trying to find a professional photographer?
A family should choose a photographer based on their creative portfolio and on personality. Things to keep in mind while evaluating include: Does the photographer's style match what they are looking for? Review their portfolio, then sit back and allow the photographer to work creatively and to be the creative director. I personally love getting to know a family and appreciate the opportunity to work with a family throughout the baby’s first year and beyond! I love a family who is creative, has great ideas, and just allows me to be me.

Working with Cindy Teasdale McGowan, founder of Makaboo Personalized Baby and Children’s Gifts, on a photo shoot with her Chief Baby Officer Walt, was such fun! These photos are made even more special with the personal touches that Makaboo personalized clothing and blankets provide. Enjoy!

MJK Knit Hat & Baby Blanket

Kissy Kissy Footie & SwaddleDesigns Organic Mod Circles Blanket

Makaboo's Chief Baby Officer

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Heather Roth of Heather Roth Fine Art Photography works by this simple philosophy – to capture moments and memories as works of art that are as unique and special as my clients. With a fine arts degree in photography+fashion and her work in NYC as a visual merchandiser for retailers like Bloomingdale’s, Heather is able to portray beautiful, everyday moments in an interesting and unforgettable way. Visit her website at: heatherrothphotography.com.


STL Mag's Top Picks for Personalized Back-to-School Gear

August 17, 2012 13:12

We are so excited to be included as the top pick for personalized baby gifts and personalized back-to-school gear in St. Louis Magazine's round up of fall must-haves!

Our 3 Sprouts Personalized Storage Caddies were highlighted, as were our personalized Stephen Joseph Backpacks and our darling MJK Knits Letter Sweaters!

 

Thanks for the love, SLM!


Tips for Becoming a Kindergarten Mom

August 9, 2012 09:49

by our guest blogger: Susan Etter

It happened. My little baby girl has grown into a Kindergartner!! Since that makes me an official Kindergarten Mom I’ve been busy preparing for that all important day, the first day of big kid school. In these final days before school starts I’ve been filling out endless paperwork, scheduling a last minute physical, and gathering fab but functional school supplies. All the while that little voice inside my head keeps reminding me…this is a REALLY BIG DEAL!!

Since it’s time to step up my mommying game, I’ve gathered lots of wisdom from those who have gone before me. Here are some of my favorite ideas, straight from Twitter:

  • “Give a big confident smile when your child steps away to his/her 1st day of “real” school (i.e. Don’t cry!)” @mymomtweets
  • “Do a school day morning before the actual first day of school! Practice getting dressed, backpacks, etc.” @myselfbelts
  • “Yes, bring a box of Kleenex! It’s a bittersweet moment.” @HappilyDomestic
  • “If kindergartner rides the bus, I always put them on for 1st day by followed bus & met it at school to walk child to their room.” And “Make a plan to meet with other moms with kids in the class after dropoff. Share your feelings. Very emotional day.” @RobynsWorld
  • “Take pictures, of course! Read The Kissing Hand if your child is nervous.” Kristen from @mastermombrain (btw, our founder Cindy will love that book...it features raccoons!)

I’m not quite sure how moms made it before the Web, but I’ve been having a lot of fun finding ways to preserve this moment:

  • I love using Animoto to create lasting video memories in a flash. Check out their tips for “Creating a First Day of School Video”.
  • Pinterest is my new best friend for finding creative back to school ideas. Check out these smarty pants kids Pins.
  • It goes without saying that Makaboo Personalized Gifts has been my best source for fab back to school preparations. From practically impossible to find personalized nap mats to uniform friendly monogrammed polo shirts, adorable organizers and more, Makaboo makes back to school prep easy!

Makaboo personalized Large Stephen Joseph Backpack and lunchbox
My little one designed her very own Makaboo backpack and
lunch box online! She loved being included in the school prep.

Makaboo personalized Bella Bliss boys tie
For little ones wearing a school uniform this fall, help them stand
out from the crowd with a personalized kids belt or
a personalized children's tie!

Stephen Joseph Nap Mats personalized at Makaboo
Finally! Cute personalized nap mats with a handle perfect for little
ones to carry! The removable plush pillow makes
Makaboo nap mats extra cozy.

Now let’s hear from you! Share your first day of kindergarten adventures with comments here, Pins, Tweets and Facebook posts with us!!

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Susan Etter is Director of Marketing at Makaboo Personalized Gifts and proud mom to an official Kindergartner.


Bringing Home Baby In Style with Pickles & Ice Cream Baby Planning

August 6, 2012 13:06

By our guest blogger: Erin Meckfessel

If you live or ever have lived in St. Louis, you know that many of your friends may swear by the philosophy, “if it doesn’t move, monogram it!” As an IBPA certified baby planner and owner of Pickles & Ice Cream Baby Planning, I believe that one of the best ways to make this motto come to life is to personalize your baby’s coming-home outfit! When packing their hospital bags, moms can’t help but imagine that special day when they finally get to take their little one home for the very first time. It’s that very first outfit that you choose for your baby that will be something you come to always cherish! It’s the outfit that you will pull out of the bottom drawer or attic one day and look at in disbelief that your little baby once fit into such a tiny newborn outfit. So make sure this coming-home outfit is special – you don’t want to be stuck looking at something and thinking “I put my child in that!?!” Make it cute with some personalization, and when baby gets too big you can frame it for some precious nursery décor.

Personalized Baby Gifts, baby hat and converter gown

After months of waiting (seven-and-a-half, to be exact), my sister-in-law announced my baby nephew’s name via text message with a picture of him wearing a monogrammed beanie that read “Felix Calhoun.” While this is one way to do it, I have also seen a client announce her new arrival on Facebook with a sweet picture of her little girl in an adorable onesie reading, “It’s a Girl!” If you aren’t sold on a name before your baby arrives you can always personalize with a last name on the outfit, too. Then the item can double as a family keepsake that gets passed down to siblings as well – how cute! Personalization is also a must for twins! Not only are look-alikes sporting their names on their clothes helpful to parents (it’s ok to admit it mom and dad – differentiating can be tough!), but it’s also great for your friends with whom you share photos of your newborns via text, email, and Facebook. Call it cute distinguishability!

Makaboo Personalized Gifts is the ideal online boutique to get your baby’s monogramed coming-home outfit. Makaboo has compiled the best selection of onesies, converter gowns, hats and blankets that are oh-so-perfect for personalization! The best part about Makaboo is that you get to make the process extra personal by choosing your own icons, fonts, and thread colors on their website and see what it will look like before you purchase. Overall, it’s simply a fun way to show off your bundle of joy’s new name that you’re so proud of! When bringing home baby, why not put them in a personalized newborn outfit that is not only cute, but will become a keepsake that will be warmly regarded for many years.

Personalized Baby Gifts, peter-pan collard onesie

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Erin Meckfessel is an IBPA Certified baby planner and the owner of Pickles & Ice Cream Baby Planning – a company offering baby planning services in the St. Louis Metro and surrounding area. Pickles & Ice Cream’s services are designed to help take away some of the stress and confusion of preparing for the arrival of a baby. That way, expecting parents can relax and focus on enjoying one of the most remarkable and life-changing experiences of their lives. Erin is also an FSI Certified Child Sleep Consultant. Visit her website at PicklesAndIceCreamSTL.com, on Facebook.com/PicklesAndIceCreamSTL or follow her on Twitter @PicklesSTL.


The Art of Custom Birth Announcements with Cheree Berry Paper

August 1, 2012 07:12

By our guest blogger: Cheree Berry

Your baby has just arrived and you want the world to know! Spread the news with charming and chic birth announcements that you can send – gasp – via snail mail. Yes, Mr. & Mrs. Facebook, paper announcements still exist.

Wondering how to choose a birth announcement design that's just as perfect as baby? You've come to the right place. First, determine your budget. Naturally, custom designs are going to be more expensive than collection designs. Most stationers have a menu of designs that you can buy "as is" but change the colors and fonts. This is a great option that doesn't break the piggy bank yet still allows for a special design.

However, if you decide you want a highly personalized custom birth announcement, send us photos of your nursery and let us be inspired!! From the theme of your nursery to the baby's bedding or wallpaper, we can design an announcement that coordinates with baby! See a few of our favorite birth announcement project photos included in this post.

Design inspiration can also come from the baby's name. For example, Baby Sol = a sun graphic; Baby Elle = elephant!

Lastly, you can do something truly conceptual if it fits with your personal circumstances. We had a client who traveled all over the world for work when she was pregnant. A "passport" baby announcement was fun and appropriate. We called out all the places baby had already been before birth!

Pre-planning your custom birth announcements prior to baby’s arrival is ideal and will allow you to immediately share the joyful news. Let's face it, when baby arrives you're sleep deprived - Let us do the work!

Custom birth announcement design by Cheree Berry
It doesn't get much prettier than this nursery. We were inspired by the periwinkle and bright orange color palette and the butterfly print on the wall. The oversized script name on the birth announcement mimicked the graphic nature of the wallpaper. As for the grapefruit print liner? The mom ate grapefruits every day during her pregnancy!

Creative envelope design for birth announcement
The "envelope within an envelope" birth announcement is like opening a mini package. The first envelope print was inspired by the curtains in the baby nursery. The remaining envelopes were made of solid bright colors that revealed the story of baby.

NYC Theme birth announcement
We were inspired by this baby's awesome nursery mural! Teddy, a NYC newborn, had a birth announcement that visually represented her hometown. The stork was carrying the stamp on the outer envelope and a little circular photo of Teddy was tied to the "y" in gold thread.

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Cheree Berry is the CEO and Creative Director of Cheree Berry Paper, a graphic design company that specializes in creating beautiful, unforgettable stationery. Their bold yet whimsical and sophisticated custom designs are a must for your wedding invitations, baby announcements, or simply your personal stationery. Although the company’s focus is custom designs, CBP’s boxed collection is available at greerchicago.com. Look out for a new website to launch this fall: chereeberry.com


Makaboo's Expert Baby Style

July 30, 2012 14:30
Calling all experts! While here at Makaboo Personalized Gifts we love gracing our blog with news about the Boo, silly stories and gifting trend alerts, we think it’s about time we brought in some stylish baby experts with the inside scoop on all things baby. Cue our new EXPERT GUEST BLOGGER SERIES!

That’s right: we found the best of the best and convinced them to contribute to the Makaboo blog! Looking to get some tips on planning for your new arrival? Baby won’t sleep? Seeking savvy nursery decorating advice? Those are only a handful of the topics that our experts will be covering! So be on the lookout for new articles and happy reading! (oh, and be sure to still check back in-between for more Makaboo-isms)

While you’re at it...check out what’s new to the Boo! We just added so many adorable new baby gifts and are super excited about it: http://bit.ly/NewAtBoo


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