If you’re a Harry Potter geek like me, you’ll recognize Mary GrandPré as the illustrator of the famous U.S. book covers and chapter art. So when I got the chance to meet and interview her yesterday, I felt like a bona fide fangirl.
GrandPré was in New York with children’s book writer Jennifer Dewing to talk about their new book, Goodnight Little Me, a dreamy bedtime book that can be personalized with your children’s names, ages, and birthdays.
The book, out later this month, is the newest title from I See Me, a line of personalized children’s books. What makes I See Me truly special is the unique way they integrate a child’s name and photo into the illustrations on each page. For Goodnight Little Me in particular, your child’s name can be seamlessly woven into a starry sky and the socks of dancing dogs.
Take a virtual tour of Goodnight Little Me — you’ll see how Dewing’s lyrical rhymes dance and propel the story forward and how GrandPré’s whimsical illustrations saturate and pop off the page. And note all the places where “Elizabeth” can be replaced with a different name.
Can’t wait for the book to come out? You’re in luck! You can now purchase the Goodnight Little Me book or Goodnight Little Me gift set (which includes a plush lamb). Even better, ISeeMe.com has provided Parents.com readers with an exclusive discount code that gives you 15% off your total order. So you can add Goodnight Little Me and other titles to your shopping cart.
Starting today, use the coupon code PARENTS during checkout to receive the 15% discount. The code expires on Sunday, December 15, 2013.
And stay tuned for my full interview with Mary GrandPré and Jennifer Dewing in the coming weeks!
If you love Etsy.com and you live in the New York area, stop by the Etsy Holiday Shop in SoHo. Your favorite online marketplace has become a pop-up store featuring a well-curated and wide selection of artisanal and vintage gifts: art, clothes, jewelry, home decor, and paper goods.
You’ll discover thoughtfully displayed items, meet shop owners giving demonstrations of their handmade products, and also learn what unique gifts certain tastemakers (like Martha Stewart and teen blogger Tavi Gevinson) love. You can also RSVP to free daily events and workshops with limited seating.
Parents.com attended a press preview this morning and couldn’t help falling in love with a variety of baby and kids items: tongue-in-cheek onesies from The Wishing Elephant, Gnome baby dolls from Warm Sugar, fox and bear jumpers from Wild Things Dresses, canvas teepees from House Inhabit, paper mobiles from Gosh & Golly, face pillows from Vintage Jane, and colorful ties and bow ties from Handmade By Emy. (We even met Emy and learned how she got started making matching tie and and bow tie sets for adults and kids.)
The store lasts for 10 days only, running from Thursday, November 29 through Saturday, December 8. Hours are 10 am – 10 pm. Even if you’re not in the New York area, visit Etsy.com/HolidayShop to see a list of featured of shops and items to inspire your holiday shopping. (And even if you don’t know what to choose, Etsy gift cards are always available!)
Even though Black Friday and Cyber Monday have passed, the holiday shopping season is still upon us.
For the past year, Parents.com has partnered with LearnVest.com to bring you resources on managing your family budget. To help you figure out how much you should spend, how much you can save, and how to utilize your credit score, LearnVest.com brings you these four helpful tools and calculators.
What to Buy When – a month-by-month tool that shows you the best items to buy (at a discount!) each month
The Purchase Appraiser – a rating tool that helps you determine whether purchases you have made (or are consideration) are worth the money
Editor’s Note:This guest post is written by Cheryl Lock, the personal finance blogger for Savings.com. Her features have also appeared on LearnVest and in Parents magazine. Visit her personal blog about travel at wearywanderer.wordpress.com.
With Halloween behind us, most people have moved on to planning for the next big holiday to hit us—Thanksgiving.
Although, let’s be honest, for savvy shoppers it’s the day after Thanksgiving, Black Friday, that really brings the thrills. With its promise of super savings and credit card friendly deals, Black Friday is a budget shopper’s dream.
Still, no matter how many times you’ve been through it before, there’s always something new to learn to get the most savings out of the day. “People are shopping on Black Friday for multiple items, typically, and it’s easy to get caught up in the frenzy of getting all the deals,” says Andrea Deckard, author of SavingLifestyle.com.
To keep from getting caught up in the frenzy yourself, follow Deckard’s preparation suggestions to get the most out of the biggest savings day of the year.
Your wallet will thank you.
1. Start your research online. Deckard suggests signing up for email newsletters from your favorite retailers now so you’ll be privy to the types of sales they’ll be offering on Black Friday. “When you’re on the retailer emails, you’ll learn about the sales and deals before the rest of the public,” she said. “This gives you a little more time to plan your strategy.
2. Make a strategic plan. It’s important to know which stores you want to visit ahead of time, as well as what items you want to purchase at each store. “This will ensure you are focusing on things you actually need, and saving the most,” Deckard said. “Savings Lifestyle even has a Black Friday price database that you can search quickly to find the best price on all Black Friday sale items as you create a shopping list.”
3. Scope the store out ahead of time. Deckard suggests doing a run-through of the stores you plan to visit on Black Friday before the day actually arrives. “Walk through and find the special Black Friday display sections for the items you want to purchase. Many times people make a mad dash for these areas because the most inventory is placed there. Don’t forget to check where the merchandise normally resides in the store, as well.”
4. Conduct price comparison searches. While Black Friday historically has the best prices, consider doing a quick online search to see if you can find the item priced the same, or lower, than the Black Friday sale price being offered. “Knowing who has the best price will help you determine if the trip out is worth it,” says Deckard. Similarly, when considering what you’d like to actually purchase on Black Friday, think about the items that are offering the biggest potential savings and get to those first. “Would you rather save $100 on a gaming system, or $20 on the blender,” says Deckard. “Only spend your time in line, and online, waiting to get those items that can help you save the most.”
5. Don’t forget online shopping. “I’m a big online Black Friday shopper,” says Deckard. “Several years ago we contemplated going out for one of the doorbusters on Black Friday, but when we passed the store at 5 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day, the line was already entirely too long. I was willing to give up the $200 savings to not camp out the night before.” It’s important to consider the value of your time over money when it comes to these deals as well, and shopping online can be an excellent alternative to going in-person. Plus, as an added bonus, Savings.com can help you find exclusive coupon codes for retailers so you can save even more.
6. Stock up on discount gift cards ahead of time. If you know you’d like to shop at certain stores this season, consider purchasing discounted gift cards in advance from places like eBay Auctions, Plastic Jungle and Gift Card Rescue. Sites like these allow you to purchase the gift cards at anywhere from 5%-25% off the value of the card. Just check ahead of time that you can use the card on already on-sale items before planning to use them all up on Black Friday.
It’s that time of year again when your kid comes home talking about the dreaded F-word… FUNDRAISING. But raising money to support your child’s school shouldn’t be a chore. And thanks to a new initiative by Microsoft called Deals for Schools, it doesn’t have to be. You can save money on your shopping–and your school will receive a portion of your purchases. How? An outgrowth of Bing Deals, which is a shopping site that aggregates the best deals for products and services available in your area, Deals for Schools works in much the same way. The difference is that Deals for Schools allows non-profit school groups and organizations, like your child’s Glee Club or Math League, to earn a commission off of deals bought through the site.
Two ways to earn money for your school:
Recruit new vendors for the site and earn a commission off of every deal they sell.
Post a link to Deals for Schools on your social media accounts and websites and earn your organization money every time a consumer purchases a deal through your link.
Why not become the most popular parent at your next PTA meeting and suggest a fundraising campaign that everyone can be happy with. Sign up your child’s school group and say bye-bye to door-to-door wrapping paper and chocolate sales.
Resarch revealed the following information about these four gifter categories:
The Emotional Gifter: Forty-two percent of women identify with this profile and buy unique, thoughtful gifts for each person on their list to show they really understand that person, plan ahead, wrap their own presents and take the time to hand-write a card.
The Practical Gifter: Nearly a quarter, 21 percent, of women consider themselves to be practical gifters, often giving gift cards or cash, and prefer to allow the recipient to make the decision about what’s best to buy.
The Convenience Gifter: Sixteen percent of women identify with this profile, approaching holiday shopping with maximum efficiency, getting shopping done at one store or on one website. These women feel holiday shopping is something that needs to get done, rather than a joyful experience.
The Last Minute Gifter: Thirteen percent of women consider themselves to be last minute gifters, typically buying gifts close to the holidays. They don’t often plan ahead and hurry through the mall at the last minute.
70% of women feel pressure to find the perfect gift, but for 60% shopping brings more stress than joy. 76% also believe exchanging gifts in person is important. More surprising information revealed that Last Minute Gifters were composed more of Gen Y/Millenial women around their 20s while Practical Gifters were composed more of Boomers women around their 50s.
Has your kid outgrown a board game? Or is there a stuffed animal collecting dust in the corner? Instead of throwing them away or holding a garage sale, swap them this year or all year round on ThredUp.com.
ThredUp.com is an online exchange marketplace where parents can conveniently trade gently-used clothes with each other to save money on items their children no longer need or want. This holiday season, ThredUp.com is encouraging parents to swap gently-used toys along with clothes–this way, parents can save time on shopping, reduce their shopping expenditures, and go green by cutting back on wasteful spending.
Members of the website browse for a box of toys and/or clothes they would like from another parent, then pay a flat fee of $5 plus shipping to receive that box. ThredUp.com then provides a shipping label and schedules an home pick-up of the box to be sent. Or the box can also be mailed at the local post office. ThredUp.com wants to help budget-conscious parents save $500,000 this year through the toy and clothing swap.
Finally, you can get rid of that fire truck with the annoying siren and find a more unique (and, perhaps, quieter) gift to give your kids this year.
Still looking for unique Hanukkah gifts? We love the Hanukkah gift guide that GrowsUp.com has pulled together. Founded by a coterie of women and moms, GrowsUp.com is a new online marketplace that sells unique and affordable handcrafted, high quality children’s toys, clothes, and products from boutique artisans (some who are parents themselves).
Each product is carefully selected to be fun, educational, family-oriented, and environmentally friendly–think the indie appeal of Etsy.com crossed with the mass-market appeal of Amazon.com. Plus, GrowsUp.com allows you to create customized gift wish lists for your children according to age and gender, so as your children grow up, the lists automatically change to reflect their age.