Best Gifts for Tween and Teen Boys

Best Gifts for Tween and Teen Boys

After sharing my Tween Gift Guide for Girls, I received a lot of feedback from my readers about a gift guide for boys. So I consulted with the experts, my friends and readers, came up with this list of Best Gifts for Tween and Teen Boys. These toys can cross over for girls too because we have a good selection of these at home for my tween daughter and me! So dig in!

// This post has Amazon Affiliate Links //

It’s a great list with a mix of techy fun, outdoor play and more. We have a few of these products and others have been tested by my colleagues and friends. So all products are reviewed, played with and legit recommended. Have fun shopping! I also have a Tween/Teen gift list on Amazon that has a lot more ideas. So hop over to the Gift Guide for Tweens and Teens! 

Go Pro. I have a Go Pro and Love it. I literally throw it in my pocket when we travel for capturing video and images on the go! You can download an app to your smart phone and import images immediately to your phone for social sharing. The accessories for the Go Pro are also pretty amazing and kids will love creating new grids and ways to rig their go pros!

Under Armour is THE brand for the tween and teen set and these joggers are a classic must-have. Parents will score serious cool points if these pants show up under the tree this season. Additional colors are available but I love classic black!

Lily, my 12YO, has this Razor Hoverboard and it’s SUCH a hit in the neighborhood. So here is the deal about Hoverboards. You have to pay money for the real ones. The cheaper Hoverboards, the can potentially blow up, are made with a cheaper battery. The Razor is the highest quality and made with a strong lithium battery that costs money. So pay or it, get a great product and have fun! This hoverboard is not just for kids… adults can rock it out too. soooo fun!

Anki Overdrive Starter Kit is a MUST this season. This is a super high-quality race track with built-in techy goodness that will not let the car fly off the track. You are going to love this set and again… another one for parents and child to enjoy together.

A Bumper Bubble Ball... YOU NEED THIS! This is a great outdoor toy that brings the sense of silly play to “too cool for everything tweens and teens”. These balls come in various sizes and can fit adults as well. Family Game Night just got uber awesome!

Longboards are a must for outdoor play. We are a skating family and even the newly 5-year-old knows how to skate. There are tons of options for skateboards with various price points. You don’t have to spend a lot on a beginner board. We love the graphics on this longboard and the smooth wheels make for easy learning.

LEGO Technic. Have you discovered LEGO Technic yet? You are missing out. These huge sets are a great challenge for older kids with moving parts. It’s building and circuitry in on awesome LEGO toy.

Crazy Socks. A simple fun dose of whimsy, crazy socks are all the rage with the tween/teen set! You can find tons of variations of these socks online and in stores everywhere A great stocking stuffer.

XBOX One. The hottest gaming accessory this season! If this finds it’s way under the tree… you win!

Laser X Laser Tag Game. Take your Laser Tag game anywhere! This two-person Laser Tag game has realistic sounds and a receiver vest that you can blast up to 150 feet away. This can be for outdoor or indoor use and your kids are going to looove it.

Nintendo Switch. Another great gaming system that was rolled out earlier this year. We love the switch and it allows you to play on the game console included or unattach the controls to play on your home console. You get all the power of Nintendo for a take-along experience!

Sky Viper Drones. This is one of my favorite drone brands. The Sky Vipers are durable, lightweight and come at various price points with lots of extras you can opt for. You can get them for under $100 and up depending on what fancy drones needs you have. That’s‘ it kids! My big Gift Guide for tween and teen boys… have fun! 

 

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Best Gifts for Tweens

Best Gifts for Tweens

Tweens are one of the toughest age groups to shop for. But not to worry, I have my own resident tween who is not afraid to tell us what she wants. And this year, I think we have hit the jackpot with these gifts. I secretly want these for myself! Don’t tell her because then it won’t be cool. Lily helped me with this list and she hand-picked all of these gifts. I think these are definitely the Best Gifts for Tweens this year.

// this post contains Amazon affiliate links //

Best Holiday Gifts for Tweens
 

 Unicorn Onesie What tween does not like this right now? This unicorn obsession has gone from stationary to clothing and there is no shortage of super cute Unicorn Onesies for kids. ( and adults – I may or may not have bought myself a pair)

Tassles on your iPhone! This too is a super cute trend that I am secretly – not so secretly– coveting. You can find tons of variations on this fun accessory with variations on colors and hanging goodies.

Cat Ear Headphone I mean! Who doesn’t need gold cat headphones! Suuuper fun accessory for the tween who is always listening to the hottest tunes.

iPhone PopSocket Another great accessory for your phone. The Pop Socket allows you to hold onto the phone without the chance of dropping and is pretty great for getting that ‘just right’ selfie angle.

Bath Bomb Gift Sets We love bath bombs around this house. Lily has been making them and it’s such a little luxury in the bath. Total MUST and again… I’m getting some for me too.

Nailmatic  Nail Polish & Rollette Lip Gloss SetI love Nailmatic products. This French brand has custom colors and is water-based. The kids nail polish can easily be washed off with soap and water but if you want something that stays on longer, Nailmatic makes an adult line of polishes that stay on longer.

Maybelline Baby Lips Moisturizing Lip Balm
Remember a couple years ago when Baby Lips launched and it was sold out everywhere! While the craze is not THAT crazy, it is still a pretty popular option for a lip balm with the tween set. Maybe it’s the kitschy packaging or the soft scents or that it actually works, either way, it’s wallet-friendly and a cute something to add to stockings this year.

Fuji Instax Mini Camera
This is a classic gift for tweens and teens. The Fuji Instax takes photos and has a built-in selfie mirror. I recommend the bundle that is offered that includes a case, extra film with filters and more.

Minnetonka Junior Trapper Faux Fur Lined Moccasin
Super comfortable and can be worn indoors and out, The Minnetonka Moccasins are a great gift for the cold weather. These mocs come in various colors allowing you to choose from the classic browns or new pastels.The faux fur lined mocs are super cozy for the toes!

Google Home Mini – Chalk : Target
The Google Home Mini is a great gift for kids. There is SOOO much you can do with this gadget and it’s a great price point. Kids can have these in their rooms and parents can control the privacy setting of what they listen to or ask google.

 

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Favorite Small Stores for Small Business Saturday

Today is Small Business Saturday! This is a fantastic initiative by American Express to support your indie retailers. Whether it’s at stores that line your local towns or online maker shops, I encourage you to shop small today and support your local communities. I’m sharing my Favorite Small Stores for Small Business Saturday.

If you are unable to get out to go shopping at your local shops today, I have made a list of some of my favorite shops online. The best part is that I know these owners personally and love their creative energy, their beautiful product, and their business ethics.

Please shop small today and as often as you can!

Yellow Oak Studio Nualls, the owner of Yellow Oak Studio, made us a set of hand-painted nursery room prints themed around New York City. we love these cute prints! I met Nualla a few years ago and have loved her artwork ever since. You can grab cards, framed prints and so much more. All handmade in New York.

Madame Mathilde Jen Niles is a friend and a busy mom of three who makes stunning jewelry pieces that dress up any occasion. These pieces are made from vintage pieces, rhinestones, gemstones and antique chandelier crystals. You can get 30% off today by using code GIVETHANKS.

PiccoliniNYC I could not love Alex and her little store in Manhattan more. This is one of my most favorite stores and now with online offerings, it’s accessible to everyone. Our favorite pieces are Alex’s original design with a special take on the classic I Love NY logo. This store is a MUST for all the coolest kids and parents! Use code THANKFUL for 20% off this weekend.

OldNewHouse – After online success and a cult following, Melissa and her husband recently opened their flagship store in our small town here in the suburbs of NYC. Since the opening, there has been a constant stream of shoppers, fans, and locals who frequent this cute store for vintage finds. While they started out in authentic vintage rugs, their store now carries rare finds for kids decor, home office, gifts, furniture and so much more. Their online store has tons of goodies ready for the taking!

Brooklynn Roese  Celebrating the creative essence of childhood and life is Brooklynn Roese designs. These gorgeous clothes for moms, kids, and baby do not shy away from color or creative design.

Edwards Shoes Edward starting making shoes a few years ago and has quickly become a favorite among shoe enthusiasts. His handmade shoes use materials made in the US and are all handcrafted by him. Clients get a hands-on experience with custom-made shoes that fit their specific feet.

FancySchmancyBaby – For the baby born with high couture in their blood, my neighbor and friend makes the cutest clothes. Lauren upcycles T-shirts into rompers and makes her own designs for the little. Her kids are always dressed in the cutest prints, rompers, and pants that don’t sacrifice comfort for fashion!

 

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Hottest Toys for Holiday 2017

IT’S HERE! THE NEW YORK MOM’S HOLIDAY GIFT GUIDE 2017 – TOYS! Hottest Toys for Holiday 2017

I have compiled my favorite toys that the kids have been playing with for months… some since February and they still have life in them. These are our hand-picked toys that we absolutely love. The quality is great, the educational and fun factor is high and the prices are for every budget. So sit back, and start tackling that Holiday List. I’m updating this list daily so please check back often for more additions. I have included my Amazon Affiliate Link so you can easily access the Black Friday Deals on Amazon!

If you are like me, you have yet to start your holiday shopping. Not to worry the big Black Friday shop is a couple days away and I’m sure your kids are busy circling their favorite must-haves from all the store catalogs.

As you know I have been working as toy and baby gear expert for the past 5 years and know my fair share about this market. I know which toys are worth the money and which ones are duds and marketing gimmicks!  So this year, I’ve made it super simple for you by making a full list of must-have toys. Each and every one of these toys have been tested by me and the kids… and yes, most of these are in the house and some we have had since February! So after much testing and reviewing and playing with these toys I’m sharing my favorite toys for all ages for Holiday 2017!

There are building blocks and STEM toys, dolls and Hotwheels, Crafty things and even stuff for tweens and teens. I’ll be adding to the list as I go so be sure to swing back to check for updates.

My curated Tween/Teen Guide is coming up because as any parent of this age group will tell you… it’s a different beast of toys and tech gadgets!

Shop the list —> Hottest Toys for Holiday 2017!

Happy Shopping all!

 

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Matt’s Favorite Picks for Amazon Prime Day!

Amazon Prime Day is here, and it’s like Cyber Monday without the pressure to buy gifts for others.  All to say: great deals to buy the stuff you want for yourself.  Matt picked all of these and they are all on his wish list!

This post contains affiliate links.

Here are our picks… and we are keeping it low tech:

MiiR Stainless Steel Insulated Growler Bottle

A great growler is a gift that keeps on giving.  Sharing is optional, but with growler filling stations popping up everywhere from breweries to convenience stores, having a growler at the ready is an invitation to enjoy great brew whenever and wherever.  With Prime Day, this tipsy tipper will only set you back about $20.

By the way, keep it cool with this insulated cover:

Timex Quartz Brass Brown & Blue Weekender Watch

 

An Apple Watch is great, but there are times when analog is the way to go.  This simple, classic Timex watch is reasonably water-resistant and easy to wear.  Appropriately called the “Weekender,” this is a great way to unplug, if even for a moment.  Replacement straps are cheap, easy ways to change it up.  $42 on Prime Day.

Jack Spade Industrial Messenger

Jack Spade is truly my bag, and if I had to pick one, this industrial messenger ($108 for Prime Day) is the perfect combo of industrial and tailored, professional and casual.  Honestly, there are dozens of great choices with tremendous deals for Prime Day.

PizzaQue Deluxe Kettle Grill Pizza Kit

Did I tell you about the year I spent working next door to one of New Haven’s great pizza places? Perfectly charred crust from a brick oven filled the air.  While I cannot pretend that I will reach the standards of Sally’s, but with the PizzaQue, I’m going to try! $54 on Prime Day.

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Ok… there’s some pretty amazing high-tech deals, too.  Here are my top five:

Electric, foldable bike (because it’s uphill both ways!)

WiFi Video Doorbell: Who’s that at the door? and lock/unlock it remotely: with this!

Add a revolving art gallery to your living room wall:

A robot that draws pancakes… the future is here and it’s delicious!

Time to hit the road… take your tune with you with the best portable speaker

———– and there ya have it! Matt’s List for Prime Day!

There are also some amazing deals to be had for baby products... like boring stuff… diapers and wipes! But you can also find some pretty awesome toys and baby gear!

Swing by AMAZON for deals rolling out all day today!

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Craft Kits for Tweens and Teens

Craft Kits for Tweens and Teens
It’s almost time to have all your presents neatly wrapped under the tree. Are you done with all your shopping?? We aren’t! Thomas is super easy to shop for. As a newly minted 4-year-old, he loves anything and everything! Dinosaurs, Superheros, trains, trucks and paints.
Lily being a tween is tougher to shop for. As kids get older the choices dwindle down and gifting is a challenge.
I have found a few crafting lines that are perfect for the tween and teen set. They offer really unique craft kits like – foosball table kits or dream catchers and even a DIY speakers kit.
Here is a great list of 6 Craft Kits for Tweens and Teens.

This is a great gift for older kids. When finished this is one fully functioning foosball table!! Super fun!

Ukulele Kit Kid Made Modern
kidmademodern.com
For the music lover in your home, The Ukulele Kit from Kid Made Modern is a MUST. This kit comes with glitter stickers, paint and everything you need to make and decorate your Ukulele.

This dream catcher kit is easy to follow and comes with feathers, beads and the pom poms. This makes for very cool room decor.

Jam out to your music with speakers you made yourself! This kit comes with foldable speakers, paints stickers and basically everything for you to create you jammin boom box!

Journal Kit Kid Made Modern
kidmademodern.com
If you have a tween or teen you know that journaling is total THING! This journal kit includes a 250 page book paints, stickers, glitter tape and more. It’s a one stop journaling shop!

I have been a loyal follower of Handmade Charlotte and not their craft kits are available at Michaels Arts and Crafts. These unique crafts include everything from chandeliers, to framed art.
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5 Weeks Until Christmas and 5 Toys You Need Now!

 

We have a little over 5 weeks before Jolly Old Saint Nicholas is going to come sliding down the chimney to drop off lots of toys for your kids! I’ve come across some really fantastic toys for this season that will appeal to kids of all ages and maybe even adults… can you say… LEGO DISNEY CASTLE! It’s stunning!

These are few of the favorites that are Thomas and Lily approved. As you know, most if not all of these toys have been tested by me and my crew… AKA Thomas and Lily… and usually Jonah gets a hold of something  and after clawing it out of his jaw… we write about it.

Disney Castle LEGO

Disney Castle Playset – LEGO – $349.00 I don’t know about the kids, but I WANT THIS. The Disney Castle play set has 4080 pieces and builds an amazingly detailed Disney Castle. This is a MUST for Disney Fans. Get it while you can… it’s selling quick!

Torch Blazin Dragon

Torch My Blazin Dragon – Hasbro $65 It’s not the Game of Thrones Khaleesi Dragons… but it’ll do for the kids. This dragon blinks and breathes fire and even “toasts’ marshmallows! Also a hot item this season… so grab it!

Thomas and Friends Mini Playset

Thomas and Friends Minis Twist and Turn Stunt Set $20  This entire line in on my Thomas’s wish list. He can’t get enough of these minis. They twist and turn and spiral back up. Thomas and Friends Minis Playset also have a whole new DC Superheros line… Thomas as Batman… believe it!

sky-viper-remote-control-hover-ptru1-23893606dt

Sky Viper Hover Racer $99.99 This hover craft is #1 on Lily’s list. It’s tough to find toys for kids as they get older so I was super excited to discover the Sky Viper. It’s a great, sturdy quality, that can handle rough play and a giant dog going after it!

Love-2-Learn-Elmo

Love2Learn Elmo HASBRO $59.99 – Just when you think you have outgrown the Elmo stage… they reel you back in. This is the new 2016 version that is bluetooth compatible. Imagine Thomas’ surprise when Elmo said his name! There is soooo much this new version of Elmo does that I could write a whole piece on it. It helps with learning alphabet, numbers, colors, silly phrases and songs… so much more! PJ Masks Headquarters Playset

PJ Masks Headquarters Playset – $69.99 Thomas is WISHING for this playset. We can’t find it anywhere!! PJ Masks – which is NOT TJ MAXX –  I thought he was saying this all along… anyway PJ MASKS is Thomas’ favorite show and if you have a toddler/preschooler then you know what I am talking about. This Headquarters Playset is all he wants and it’s sold out practically everywhere. It’s such a fun toy that has spinning parts a slide and whatever else magic that Thomas is into. No really though… if you have a PJ MASKS fan… this HAS to be under your tree. Along with every PJ MASKS toy made!

There is so much. SO PLEASE keep stopping by. I want to have short gift guides this year so as not to overwhelm anyone. We have DIY guides, Craft, indie… all sorts of guides coming up and soooo many toys!

One more thing… from my soapbox… PLEASE try to shop local… I know that some small toy shops don’t carry these toys ( but some might). If you do shop online, please link your shopping spending to a charity many places like Amazon and Target allow you to do that.

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5 things Moms really really want this Mother’s Day.

at the risk of losing every single one of my followers and getting a scolding from my mom…

i’m writing this “come to jesus” type piece about what Moms really really want this Mother’s Day and every Mother’s Day until the end of time. because as much as we love a bottomless brunch or a “my mom is the best” coffee mug… sometimes ya gotta dig a little deeper to give mama what she really wants.

massages and jewels are great… but lets skip the niceties and get to it shall we.

Best Mom Ever

I’m writing this at 1AM with one child in my bed on my right taking up “my side of the bed. The other child under my armpit which is fine because his head makes the ideal arm rest and a giant beast under my feet to offer some skeletal alignment while I type. 

Moms really REALLY want:

  1. a whole day to themselves to just sleep and watch Netflix and order chinese food that they don’t have to share and just stay in bed with no noise except the hum of the television and whatever binge watching madness goes on.
  2. a clean house. like a spotless house -like the kitchen is stunning with no dishes,counter has no stuck on cucumber peels… nothing… just out of a magazine, the bedroom is totally clean with not a single lonely strewn garment in sight, clean sheets and clutter free dresser,  the bathroom is clear of bathtoys, dirty clothes, no toothpaste spots on the walls, a nice smelling candle… and maybe a bubbling hot bath. without kids!Basically I want to be able to walk through my home without stepping on legos, choppiness, spilled yogurt…etc.
  3. a new closet full of brand new clothes! because your mom clothes have run their course and there are really only so many scarves you can wear to cover up that stain.
  4. the laundry is DONE… completely done. not a single garment in the laundry shoot or laundry basket. everything neatly in drawers or hangers… done.
  5. a dinner with my husband. last year Matt did this whole thing where we went to brunch to one of my fave swank restaurants. not even half way through – Thomas started throwing all the ceramic dishes across the room, then he moved on to the cutlery, then he started screaming… because brunch time is not toddler time. Lily was not having any of this either and Matt spent most of the meal outside with Thomas while I stayed inside scarfing down my brunch and chugging my mimosa with a 10-year-old who was negotiating screen time, candy and whatever else.

here’s what… i need time alone to truly enjoy Mother’s Day because guess what… i spend everyday with my little dragons!  and cleaning them up and throwing a bow tie on them does not make them any less dragony. i will also see them – the NEXT DAY…. and the day after, the day after…and. the. day. after.!  you get my drift. and besides they DONT EVEN KNOW WHAT DAY IT IS… so any day … everyday is Mother’s Day to them!

on Mothers Day… i would like a day off. total day off. i want a day to sleep, i want to watch TV, i want to write, i want to think, i want an uninterrupted shower and i want to be alone.

i know what you are saying… “how dare you say you want to spend the day without your cherubs, your angels that have been bestowed upon you by the lord god herself… a good mom would never want to spend a day that’s meant to honor her and say I Want To Be Alone.”

Well let me remind you… that after the good lord our God created the world… on the 7th day… she rested!! I too need to rest! Mother’s day is my 7th day!

It’s ok to want a day to yourself… it really is. It does not make you any less of a mother… it might make you a better mother because you get to hit the ‘ refresh’ button. and since this is the one time of the year we are gifted with something… why not ask for what you really want!

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13 Rose Gold Gifts for Mother’s Day

Everything's coming up roses this Mother's Day!

Everything’s coming up roses this May! Rose Gold is having a total moment right now… did you know you could get a rose gold crock pot… it’s sold out everywhere.. but how cool.

Rose Gold can be mixed up with pretty much anything, it’s a subtle metallic that plays nice with all your jewelry and closet must haves. In the home, rose gold adds a bit of fresh glam and is a modern alternative for gold or silver. So this Mothers Day… give your mama roses… Rose Gold…es..s.

  1. Marc by Marc Jacobs rose gold watch can do no wrong… this is the perfect accessory for going casual or dressy. www.LordandTaylor.com
  2. The ZUO forecast ceiling lamp from HOME DEPOT is an easy way to switch up your home decor. HOMEDEPOT.COM
  3.  This Rose Gold Bling Jewelry chevron ring can be bought in multiples and stacked.   BLUEFLY.COM
  4.  You don’t sweat .. you shimmer. So you totally need the S’well metallic collection stainless steel water bottle in rose gold! NORDSTROM.COM
  5.  Treesje Asymmetry Clutch is perfect for an evening out with your honey! BLUEFLY.COM
  6. Work on your fitness in style with the Tori Burch fitbit bracelet. www.saksfifthavenue.com
  7.  Even your work life line is in on the action with the brand spankin new MacBook from Apple. Fashion … meet function!  APPLE.COM
  8.   Lets bring back sparkly bobby pins with the Henri Bendel Petal Crystal Bobby Pin Set. HENRIBENDEL.COM
  9.  Alex and Ani friendship bracelet in rosegold… for our mama friends! ALEXANDANI.COM
  10.  These strappy sandals are perfect for the summer months, throw on a dress and sun hat and you are ready to go. BILLABONG.COM
  11. Even the nails have it! Nars nails polish in pastorale rose gold. SEPHORA.COM
  12. Revlon pro collection curling iron in Rose Gold. I mean… why not! JCPENNEY.COM
  13.   Rose Gold slip-on. why yes! Dress up a simple pair of jeans and tee with this flash set of kicks. STEVEMADDEN.com
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5 Mother’s Day Gifts

Mothers Day Gifts
Mother’s Day will be here before you know it. So I’m starting my gift guides early this year. HINT HINT!! Here are some of my hand picked pieces for the mamas!
one// katespade watch in this mint green is perfect for spring and summer.
two// these Alexis Bittar rough cut crystal earrings are a statement piece while also being really subtle.
three// a coal flap clutch from Nordstrom is perfect for busy gals on the go.
four// function meets art in this gold Jonathan Adler Muse D’Or candle. Who needs anything else for the coffee table when you have this stunnah.
five// i am obsessed with Amrita Singh and her gorgeous collection of Indian themed jewels. I also love an arm full of bracelets so it’s a win!
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