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18 Oct '18

Introducing Winnie, Lola, and Jane

Posted by Annie Messing in Behind the Scenes, Product Reviews

When people find out I own an online toy shop, they invariaby ask how I source things for Brimful. I usually reply with a grin, because I love telling the stories behind each of Brimful's products.

Trade fairs are the traditional way retailers like myself would typically find brands, but I prefer doing my own product hunting. Sometimes I scour the online catalogues of little European toy companies until I find something really unique. Other times I have a particular new item I want to add to the shop and then research from there.

In the case of Winnie, Lola, and Jane, the new cloth dolls just introduced to the shop, it was a combination of pure happenstance and one late night of research.

My family and I were in the Seattle area this past summer, walking to pizza along a cute street with a variety of eateries and boutiques. All the shops were closed, but when we passed one nicely styled window, a doll in the front display caught my eye. I stood and looked for a long while - it was so cute and had such lovely simple details! Exactly the kind of doll I had been wanting for Brimful. 

Through the window, I couldn't see any information about the doll, but I returned after dinner and took a photo of it. We were leaving early the next morning to fly back to the east coast, so unfortunately I couldn't go back and ask more about the doll. After my children were in bed that night, I must have spent a good three hours researching online to see if I could find the doll's designer. Nothing came up that night, but I got a few good leads. The next morning, as we were waiting for our flight - I did one last quick Google search on my phone - and found it! Gosh, what a great feeling that was.

Not too long after, I emailed the doll designer (Carman) and we set into motion the small-batch production of "the Brimful girls". I am so pleased with how they turned out and hope you will love them too. Handmade dolls can be pretty pricey, especially if they are made here in the US. What makes these dolls special is they are at a price point accessible to everyone - each one is truly one-of-a-kind. All three dolls come without removeable clothing, so you can feel safe gifting it to a little one of any age. And, because Carman has triple-stitched all the seams - you can be assured that these dolls can take quite a lot of loving and still stay in good shape over time.

So, that's the story behind Winnie, Lola, and Jane. I hope you enjoyed this peek behind the scenes to how I curate the shop.

 

02 May '18

10 Sure-to-Please Gifts for Mother's Day

Posted by Annie Messing in Gift Guides

It's been awhile since I posted a blog post - but with Mother's Day just around the corner, I thought it would be fun to share ten easy gift ideas! These are all favorite things I've picked up over the years - things I cherish and bring me joy.

Mothering is a rollercoaster of high and low emotions - and in those "lower moments", I find a pretty dress or a favorite sweet can be such a good pick-me-up. Paired with a solid night's sleep, you may just feel like a new woman - ready and renewed to continue on the marathon that is motherhood.

1/ This dress is so comfortable yet stylish and I love that it's ethically made right here in the US. For those of you interested, here's a $30 coupon!

2/ The spinach pie from the Moosewood Cookbook is a family favorite we make quite often - it's so yummy! If you're looking to add more vegetarian dishes into your diet, this cookbook is perfect for that.

3/ I have a pair of very similar earrings (no longer available) that add just the right amount of "allure" to an outfit. This would make such a sweet gift for a jewelry-loving mama!

4/ With short hair that doesn't get nicely coiffed very often, a hat is a must for me! I love this military cap style - it goes with everything.

5/ L'eau De Issey by Issey Miyake has been my go-to scent for almost 20 years! I don't wear it as often as I used to, but when I'm in the mood for a refreshing scent, I still use it and love it as much as when I was 18.

6/ My sister introduced me to this beautiful plant last year and I've so enjoyed how pretty it looks on my bedroom dresser. It takes a little learning to care for it well, but now that I've gotten the hang of it - I've even propagated a few of the strands with success. Perhaps I'm not such a black thumb afterall!

7/ On more than one occasion, Dustin has brought home a box of macarons for me - and he knows I'll immediately respond with a squeal of delight. I especially love these ones from Olivia's, a local DC macaron confectionery. You can also order them online! Every flavor is amazing.

8/ This spring, I've been using this rose face mask - and wow, not only does it make my skin feel soft and wonderful, it smells so so good. Not sure if it will work for you? Ask for a sample first!

9/ Writing thank-you cards is not my forte, but I've gotten a lot better at it since discovering this adorable booklet of thank-you notes! Paired with a little piece of chocolate, it's just the right touch of appreciation.

10/ When I went in to get another tube of my go-to Nars lipstick, I was sad to hear it had been retired! Of course this one has been featured in fashion + beauty magazines for years, but I've never thought to try it. Well, one application at the beauty counter and I was completely sold. I now understand what all the fuss is all about! If you don't already, I think you'll love it too.

Happy Mother's Day!

 

16 Oct '17

5 Picture Books Every Toddler Will Love

Posted by Annie Messing in Brimful Favorites
With my older three children in school full-time this fall, I have been enjoying a lot more one-on-one time with my three year old. He's a very busy little guy and has never been one to sit still for very long. Up until now, he'd last for just a few pages of being read to and then scamper off to play with something new. But just recently, I noticed his attention span is finally holding long enough to read an entire picture book - hooray!
I am thoroughly enjoying this new phase - we've been snuggling up every day before nap and reading a few picture books together. These are currently Shiloh's favorites, so I thought I'd share them here in case any of you are have toddlers who have reached the same phase. Happy Reading!
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19 Sep '17

Seven Autumn Picks for Mama + Child

Posted by Annie Messing
It's been almost five years since I bought a pair of jeans...and well, I've come to accept that my current pair isn't fitting me like it used to. (I have gravity, age, and a surprise c-section to thank for that!)

I think we can all agree that jean shopping is notoriously annoying...so many different fits and fabrics. So to my surprise, I found these jeans to be exactly what I was looking for...and it didn't take 20 pairs and half a day of shopping to find them! I'm pleased that even after several wears, the jean material hasn't stretched out and the high-waist feels very comfortable. Paired with this lovely cotton top, I feel comfortable and stylish while chasing my little 3 year-old around the house.

Speaking of being around the house, these children's pajamas/loungewear from Mabo are a real favorite for my 5 year-old right now. She comes straight home from school and puts them on...I imagine she'd wear them day in and day out if I let her! The high-quality cotton fabric paired with the classic polka dot design makes playtime at home very cozy and cute.

The fall season hasn't quite hit us here in DC, but I'm stringing up an autumn-inspired garland and dreaming of apples nonetheless. As my children spend more time playing indoors, I've brought more blocks out for them to play with. Blocks are rather like an ever-changing modern art installation, don't you think? (wink)

I just finished curating all the new fall/winter toys + books for the shop, including the milk-loving knit cat you can spot in this post. The new products will be arriving in about a month - Happy Fall!

 

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28 Jun '17

Fantastic Gifts for Little Fox Lovers

Posted by Annie Messing in Gift Guides

SaveSave My five-year-old daughter LOVES foxes. I can't quite recall how it all started, but ever since she was a baby, she's always pointed out anything with a fox on it. Of course her favorite is when we spot the real red foxes that roam our neighborhood - oh the excitement!

Needless to say, Mei-Mei's love of foxes has endeared our whole family to this scruffy animal. With that in mind and summer being the most popular season to have babies, here's a fun round-up of gifts for all the little fox lovers out there.

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