My friends often ask what I do when I go to Blogger events, so I thought I would give you all an insider’s look as to what a day of events looks like in the life of a lifestyle and DIY blogger.
A 5 AM wake up call was in store to get to Sarah’s (from Finnegan and the Hughes) house in time to make our first stop – the Care Bears Brunch.
We got to the city, checked in, then headed to Currant for a colorful and inspiring brunch with our favorite bears and an impressive young philanthropist. We stepped in a few minutes late as a result of my bad directions once we entered the city (sorry, Sarah, my husband commiserates), but heard from young Zach Kaplan who told us of his latest goal to #ShareYourCare by getting new Care Bears into the hands of kids who could use a hug. After hearing from the speakers, we caught up with our other blogging besties – Devon, AKA Mama Cheaps, and her husband, Bob, of Dude with a Brew. Cheaps even snuck me one of her bags, which will totally go to the Farmers Market with us all summer.
After brunch, we headed out to our “party bus” where we got to try some Aquaball water on our way to the Empire State Building. (My son dubbed the AquaBall I brought home as The.Best.Water. And this kid likes water.)
I have been given some really special opportunities as a blogger, but my favorite so far might have been checking out the Kids Headquarters showrooms in the Empire State Building. This was my first visit to the Empire State Building and this country girl was a bit mesmerized by the hustle and bustle of NYC.
We entered the showrooms and they were gorgeous. Since my first academic love was in art and design, I was immediately drawn to the sleek white showrooms and the sneak peeks at the next few seasons’ styles. The gals that work at KH might be the sweetest ever, and they showed us the latest back to school styles. Since many kids in NYC (and other places!) have to wear uniforms to school, they made an extra effort to show us how we could send our kids to school with comfort, style, and quality with IZOD, Dockers, and Nautica. They also showed Under Armour, Quiksilver, and Tommy Hilfiger as after school looks – but without the restrictions of uniforms, my sporty kids will wear UA daily, both on and off the field.
Next, we were brought into the UA design room, where we got to see colors swatches and sample designs all the way through Fall 2016. I was fascinated to learn how Kids Headquarters, the company that designs UA’s infant to size 7 line, works with Under Armour in Baltimore to match fabrics to their adult lines.
We also learned how they design the infant to size 7 line as outfits, which I really appreciated as a parent. Two of my three boys are independent in the morning when the get dressed, though occasionally they will walk down in outfits I need to veto. My oldest went through a stage where he loved pairing orange pants with tie dye. Oh the fights we had when I made him change! With outfits, the boys can pair their shorts and shirts themselves without having to worry about what matches.
My favorite sneak peek was spying these functional leggings for boys. They came in adorable designs and will be perfect for fall soccer. We can never figure out how to dress the boys when it starts to get cold, because they need warmth, but sweats are too bulky to run in as the league gets more competitive. In the past, they have frozen themselves with bare knees and layered tops. But…guess what I am buying this season… You got it!
After lunch, we were going to head to the top of the Empire State Building for a little sightseeing, but time ran out, so we headed back to the party bus. Kids Headquarters so thoughtfully sent us home with outfits they selected specifically for our children. Don’t the big boys look handsome in their UA Armour Up outfits and the littlest in his Quiksilver shorts? My middle son has made me wash his UA outfit daily since first trying it on.
We got off the bus and headed into Sweet Suite at Blogger Bash. I am as into toys as the boys, so I LOVED getting a chance to chit chat with reps and try out the newest toys. There were so many really cool toys, that it is hard to choose a few favorites.
Once of the brands I was most looking forward to meeting was Skylanders. My boys are Skylanders mega fans, and I was super excited to check out the new Skylanders SuperChargers coming in Fall.
As I was talking to the rep about the new game (which includes really cool vehicles for the characters to ride), I found out I had won the Skylanders photo contest! To prep for the release of SuperChargers, Skylanders had hosted a contest for Blogger Bash attendees to submit photos of their Skylanders driving cars, riding the rails, taking flight, and sailing the seas. As a tornado was bearing down on our town, I was outside attaching my son’s favorite Skylander to a parachute and throwing it in the sky (and snapping pictures at the same time – not so easy). I guess the eerie sky made the photo, because the sweet rep told me they had loved it! After we receive the game, I will give you all a more comprehensive review!
I could have hugged the rep over at Playmobil, because I could not contain my excitement about the new Playmobil hockey rink. My kids love Playmobil and have been known to use orange track to create a hockey rink for their “guys” to play on. Well, Playmobil has just made this imaginative play 10 times more fun, because they have made the rink with working players and goalies who will be decked out in NHL gear!
Another hot toy for this holiday is definitely going to be the Fisher-Price Imaginext Ultra T-Rex. It moves its head up and down and has lots of stations all over it for Imaginext guys to have adventures. Imaginext is a top toy in our house and it helps my sons bring to life the imaginative worlds they have created in their minds.
At Hasbro I spied a handheld Scrabble Twist game that I am going to have to buy for my sons. It was really fun to play and I believe it actually is something that would be really effective in classroom literacy centers.
I think Tucker Toys is going to be a brand to keep our eyes on, as their toys really encourage kids to get active. Their Freestyle Board was really sturdy, and the baseball bat with strings like a tennis racket looked like it would help kids hit home runs. The most intriguing is possibly the ball that converts to a flying disc.
After Sweet Suite, we headed over to Raymour and Flanigan‘s NYC showroom for some wine, cheese, and conversation. I have been a huge Raymour and Flanigan fan since buying the world’s most comfortable couch there a few years ago. It was really interesting to see a NYC showroom because it is so different than our PA showroom. Everything there was for tiny spaces, where my store is filled with ginormous options to fill large, country homes. I love that Raymour and Flanigan produces affordable but high quality furniture that meets all kinds of living needs.
I fell in love with this club chair and might have curled up in it all night had I had a book and a blanket. The leather was so soft and the chair was the perfect oversized option for my-soon-to-be fireplace/sitting room.
I swooned over these ghost chairs, too, which were surprisingly really comfortable.
We met the cutest NYC bloggers that I hope we run into again at another event. These girls have style and passion – and are going places! After checking out the showroom, we stopped back into Sweet Suite for some desserts, candy and gorgeous city views, then headed back to PA – exhausted.
A week or so after the event, a “box of fun” came with some surprises from some of the Sweet Suite sponsors. I’ll mention these more as holiday season approaches, but a few of my favorites for the boys are pictured here:
I had a great day in the city with my friends and learned so much about the goals and the “heart” of the companies I met.