Category Archives: City Mouse + Country Mouse

News about my children Macy and Hudson

The One Second I’ve Waited Two Years For

I have so much to share in this post.  This post is not about sweets or interiors or even ballet.  Its about being a proud parent and an exciting event in my daughters life.  Its a post about that one time (of many more to come maybe) Macy was in a movie!  It is info, picture & video heavy because Ive been saving it up for two years, not joking.  And Im really using this post as a personal web log to save and cherish, I hope you enjoy reading along.

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In April 2012 as Macy prepared for her 4th grade state tests we receive a call from her agent that she had been “booked” for a feature background role in a movie.  Macy had been going on auditions for about 9 months with a couple of call backs and a lot of disappointment.  Im no stage mom and I hardly knew what was going on half the time or what we were getting ourselves into but I understood the word “booked” and it was a big deal.  Macy didn’t audition for this role, in fact I had blacked out her week for state tests, meaning I told her agent she was unavailable.  We really couldnt believe that of all weeks this would come up on this one.  But it seems that the director had hand picked Macy from her headshot and she was guaranteed the part, we just had to say yes.    So we did what any parent would do, we freaked out.  4th grade state tests are super important in NYC, the results are sent to middle schools when the application process happens in 5th grade.  We thought we were pretty crazy for allowing anything to disrupt Macy concentration but fortunately the filming took place in the afternoon after the tests.  So it was actually possible for us to let her do this without any conceqences.

We weren’t told much about the movie, just it was a pre-production flash back scene for the character “Young Marie”, it was set in 1960’s Brooklyn and called Blood Ties.  I was able to find out other info just because the movie already had an IMBd page.  It was a crime thriller and full of well know names, squeal!    The cast includes Clive Owen (Chris), Billy Crudup (Frank), Marion Cotillard, Mila Kunis, Zoe Saldana, James Caan & Lili Taylor (Marie).  It is directed by Guillaume Canet a french director and husband of Marion Cotillard.

Macy was to have a wardrobe fitting on Monday and the filming was on Wednesday, so we handled it like this:  We told Macy that she had won the part but it wasn’t until Friday so there was no point in getting all excited until after the tests were done. We went to the monday fitting but we surprised her and pick her up at school early on wednesday afternoon after her test was finished. Heres a video of me picking up Macy from school and telling her she was doing the scene that day:

<p><a href=”http://vimeo.com/90596255″>surprise news</a> from <a href=”http://vimeo.com/user26485187″>Nikki Berry</a> on <a href=”https://vimeo.com”>Vimeo</a&gt;.</p>

The wardrobe fitting was fun, it was in Williamsburg (Thats Brooklyn FYI) and Macy tried on three 60’s era outfits.  The costume department went with a vintage white peasant top, jeans and blue keds.

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We were to report to a Little Italy address for the filming.  The location was the production offices where we met the other two children that were in her scene and the kids were dressed.  The scene would include a Young Frank played by Eli Tokash and Young Chris played by Austin Williams.  I got to chat with the other parents while we waited, Young Frank had taken a  red eye bus from Virgina and Young Chris lived in NYC, he was a seasoned child actor who worked for 6 years One Life to Live and also had roles in Michael Clayton and The Good Shepard.

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Young Chris, Young Frank & Young Marie In Blood Ties

 

Since this was a pre-producitons scene there wasn’t a lot to it.  It wasn’t like the trailers and cables and crew that we run across in NYC everyday. No catered food tables (darn!)  It was just a small crew and the scene was to be filmed with a real Super 8 camera as it was to be used as a home video that one of the characters watches in the movie.

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We loaded up in a van with the director, crew, the other kids and their families and they took us to a gritty park in the Lower East side, I think they intended for the kids to just play baseball there.  We waited around for a while while the crew and director discussed the location.  It wasn’t to the directors liking, he envisioned grass.  So they loaded us up again and took us to Central Park.  I took a few videos while we were waiting and watching.  My favorite is the part where the director is talking with the kids and shows them the vintage gloves they are to use.  Macy tells him hers isn’t good, it has no laces.  I wanted to be mortified that she was giving him any grief but this is typical Macy, she’s not really trying to be difficult she was just letting him know.  He does seem to mind though, he just gives her another one.

<p><a href=”http://vimeo.com/90589812″>Macy filming blood ties in NYC</a> from <a href=”http://vimeo.com/user26485187″>Nikki Berry</a> on <a href=”https://vimeo.com”>Vimeo</a&gt;.</p>

The kids played tag, baseball and climbed on the natural rock formations in Central Park, the director acted as the “Dad” filming the kids with the Super 8 camera, directing them to do what kids do, including picking on the little sister.  There was no real acting or lines.  It was very casual and fun for Macy and it didn’t take more than an hour.  After we were done we returned to the production office and Macy changed.  And that was it.  Then the anticipation began!

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We over heard a lot of information just waiting for this scene to take place, such as the filming to end in July, so I knew it would be a long time to wait before the movie was released.  I assumed it would be at least a year.  So we tried not to get too excited because this  didn’t seem like a very important scene and we all know that scenes get cut from movies all the time.  We also knew that we wouldn’t be told anything about the movie before it came out or invited to any pre-release screenings, it just wasn’t that big of a role.  So we kept the news about it all very low key, only telling our family.  As the filming got started I was able to see press on the other scenes being filmed all around NYC, a lot were in Brooklyn and Queens.  Here are some press shots.

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Then in May 2013 we got really excited, the film was shown at Cannes International Film Festival!  Release dates for other countries started showing up but there wasn’t any US dates!  Something obviously was going wrong with the distribution in the US, it was killing us to know that the movie was done and we couldn’t find out if Macy’s scene was in it!

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So here it is March 2014, nearly 2 years after the scene was filmed and Jake and I run across Blood Ties on iTunes.  I could say that we were a little disappointed that it didn’t make it to the big screen.  We honestly don’t know why, it had all the right names to make it there.  I really wanted to see Macy’s head 10′ tall and scream out “thats my daughter” to a bunch of strangers in a dark theater.  But at least it was finally available to watch.  Then the real suspense began.  At this point I almost didn’t want to know, I didn’t want to know for a fact that the scene was cut.  We already knew that Macy wasn’t listed in the cast on the IMBd page.  Young Frank and Young Chris were, but I also knew that the boys had a bigger scene to film together that didn’t include Young Marie.

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So we didn’t tell Macy, we put the kids to bed and we watched it with very low expectations.  The movie is 2 hours long and we both liked it. It was a good story about brotherly love, hince the title Blood Ties.  One brother is a cop, one is a criminal that just can’t be good.  They don’t get along very well but do what matters most for each other.  So at 1 hour 54 minutes into the film Clive Owen (Chris) sits in his living room with a projector and watches old family movies.  Jake and I jump up and run to the screen.  Its like 5 seconds tops but it shows the boys climbing the rock formations and at the last second MACY COMES RUNNING AT THE CAMERA SMILING AND LAUGHING!!!!  We scream, its midnight at least but we don’t care what the neighbors think, OUR BABY GIRL IS IN A MOVIE!!!

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So here is the scene, don’t blink because you’ll miss her!

<p><a href=”http://vimeo.com/90596023″>Macy’s scene in Blood Ties</a> from <a href=”http://vimeo.com/user26485187″>Nikki Berry</a> on <a href=”https://vimeo.com”>Vimeo</a&gt;.</p>

When we told Macy the good news she reacted the way most people would, she jumped up and down in excitement.  Big or small it was an experience that she enjoyed and also even thought she wasn’t in the credits (double darn!) she can put it on her resume.  We do plan on getting her name on the cast list on IMBd, there are several extra actors that have attached themselves to the list that are uncredited, we think Macy deserves that just as much.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Filed under Brooklyn Love, Celebrations, The Chic Tween

Nautical Stripes and Sugar Sequins Cake

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If you’ve followed along with my blog for a while you probably notice this pattern: I have several posts and then I wont have any for weeks.  My silence is not laziness, during those weeks that I don’t post I am always super busy making the beautiful sugar works that I share!  I wish that I could be more consistent and always have a regular MWF blog but it’s just a lot of work when the majority of my content is all my creations.   If you would like to see sneak peaks of my day-to-day creations you can follow me on Instagram (my live feed is in the sidebar).   If you do follow me, then you have seen the beautiful cake I made for my daughter’s 11 birthday.

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Macy loves nautical striped shirts, first it was just the plain navy ones, then J.Crew started making ones with sequined hearts & anchors.  She has striped dresses and skirts, all mostly in navy.  In general navy is a neutral for all of us.  We often go out as a family looking very stripey, bluey and coordinated.  Not on purpose, we just all like it!  Ok, Hudson doesn’t really know what he likes but we like it on him (currently his favorite shirt is one that we tie dyed, he calls it his “color shirt” it makes him very happy to wear it…with navy shorts of course).

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For the first time ever Macy didnt have a party for her birthday.  It was a break that had been decided when we planned on during the planning of  her Dylan’s Candy Bar birthday party last year.  So there was no disapointment for her or me, it just the decision that was made.  I still knew that I would make a beautiful cake.  In fact, I did plan to make several cakes (all fake except one for us) but I had too many other projects going on that it fell to the wayside.  Hopefully I can make the beautiful Nautical Suite of cakes that I sketched out,  I just have to make it a project on my list.

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I made Macy’s cake an extra tall 6″ round.  It had 2 layers of chocolate and 2 layers of vanilla cake with swiss buttercream.  I used brand new recipes for every bit of the cake and I am so happy with them!  Both the chocolate and vanilla cake recipes were suggested by Jessica Harris of Jessicakes, they are the sturdiest cakes Ive ever made.  They are definitely the type of cakes you need to get a flawless fondant finish.  If you are new to fondant and find it frustrating to get perfect, it’s probably your cake and icing that is the problem.  I know when I started researching the best tips and techniques I found my fondant skills were fine, my cake stacking skills were really bad!  So along with Jessica’s recipes I also used the upside down icing technique, (its crazy sounding but for small cakes it really works!!) and I’m a big fan of the wax paper transfer method for applying cake decorations.  With horizontal stripes this is the ONLY way to achieve perfect level stripes all the way around.  You will lose your mind and too much sleep any other way.  I will post links to recipes and tutorials at the end of the post.

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So the design was simple really, it mimicked the stripped shirt Macy loves (and now has 3 of).  The sugar sequins technique on the anchor was new for me, new in general really.  I had seen it somewhere on the internet and filed it away in my mind.  In going back to look for any tips or the example I had seen I could not find anything anywhere.  So  I winged it.  I pressed candy sequins into still soft fondant and let dry over night.  Then I painted on metallic luster dust.  It turned out beautiful but I’m sure there must me some other ways to cover the candy sequins more completely.  The thicker I painted on the luster dust the less definition I got on the shape of the candy, I tried the spray color too but it didn’t cover the colored sprinkles at all.

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Over all I liked the creation enough to make cupcake toppers for my etsy shop with this technique. These cupcakes were not for Macy’s birthday but I still had the nautical theme in mind when I combined them with stripped Simply Baked baking cups I purchased from Pick Your Plum ( you can also get them here  or here and on amazon)  I’ve listed heart shapes in gold or silver in my shop, but really the shape and colors are limitless!

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Although we didn’t party like rock stars, we did spend the whole day celebrating Macy, with a movie, dinner, stroll in the old neighb (Lower Manhattan) and she had a friend stay over.  It was a beautiful and unseasonably cool August day, we enjoyed our stroll on the Battery Park City Promenade as we always do.

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My chic tween rocked a new Target dress with an on trend origami bird pattern on her birthday, she added to it a glitter Crewcuts belt (the type that inspired the sugar sequins technique) and a brass whistle necklace she bought at the Brooklyn Flea, oh and a navy blazer, lol.

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Check out my new Sugar Sequin toppers here.

My new favorite Vanilla Cake recipe for a dense sturdy cake here.

My new favorite Chocolate Cake recipe for a dense sturdy cake here.

Swiss Meringue recipe by Martha Stewart here.

Jessicakes wax transfer technique here and a video on icing a cake upside down here.

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Filed under Cakes, Celebrations, SugarCoated, The Chic Tween

2013 Ikea Doll House Furniture

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My 2013-2014 Ikea catalog was delivered yesterday and I immediately spotted a toy that I have to have…..I mean my kids have to have.  A set of miniature iconic Ikea furniture!  The Huset Dollhouse Furniture set is new this year and its already a hit in Europe.   I dont think I can get to Ikea fast enough and I have a feeling that it’s not even in our American stores yet, but Im going to see anyway.

IKEA HUSET Doll's House Furniture

Ikea Dollhouse furniture

IKEA HUSET Doll's House Furniture

The European bloggers are already having fun with this set, this blogger has set up a well designed barbie house with it, check out all the pictures here:

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I hope Ikea has manufactured A LOT of these sets, I definitely need two.  I have a feeling Macy wont want to share hers with Hudson and I think that its not specifically designed for girls, so he’s going to want it too.

I did a little looksie around the web and the idea of miniature ikea furniture has been introduced before, a New York Times article featured a dollhouse crafter that created her own modern furniture when she couldn’t find any available.  Check out some of her amazingly styled and handmade ikea dollhouse pieces: new-york-times-modern-miniature-dollhouse-ikea-bookshelf

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Many modern furniture enthusiasts collect miniature Vitra chairs, I thought about it myself but being they cost several hundred anyway, I’d rather just invest in the full size chair.

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Vitra Miniatures Source

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Vitra Miniatures Source

If you know me, you probably know that I have a little obsession with designer chairs and have a pretty good collection that Im proud of, but the miniatures are so cute and tempting, so big thanks to Ikea for making affordable modern miniatures for me (I mean my kids) to indulge in!ColourCheck: Proof Magnus G

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Filed under City Mouse + Country Mouse, Design 101

The Brooklyn Berrys

Scratching one of my oldest To Dos off my list today, I’m sharing a photo shoot from last fall!  My sister happens to be a rock star photographer and I’m lucky she likes to captured beautiful pictures of my family.  We love to have our picture taken in DUMBO, Brooklyn.  Its one of our favorite places to visit in the city and after we moved to Brooklyn it also became symbolic for us to have our picture made there with the Brooklyn Bridge in the background.  The first year we were back in NYC we took pictures their ourselves for our Christmas card! This past year my sister and her family visited for Thanksgiving and gifted us these amazing pictures.  Our Christmas card shot happened to be this one:

 

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A magical ride on Jane’s Carousel!  Such beautiful colors came through on that cold, dismal November day.  We cherish this picture so much, especially the experience of my sister riding the carousel with us to get it.  We put this picture on the back of our card:

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Another one of our favorites is this one inside the Jane’s Carousel building with the Brooklyn Bridge seen through the glass:

 

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How sweet are Macy and Hudson!  How beautiful is my family!!  We look like total Brooklyners (Brooklynites?) right?

We also went uptown to Lincoln Center since this spot is so important in our lives right now with Macy dancing at School of American Ballet.  Another Christmas card worthy shot!

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Here is one that is sweet to my heart:

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Swoon!  My husband and I celebrated our 12th wedding anniversary this year!

Although my sister is based else where in the USA she travels frequently to NYC ( Michigan and Tennessee) to visit.  If you are interested in an on site shoot for family pictures contact her HERE!

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A Day of Ballet Class for Macy & Some Exciting News

nikkiikkin a day of ballet Our family’s schedule dramatically changed when Macy started attending classes at School of American Ballet last September.  It wasn’t a hard decision to accept her invitation to dance there, but we knew that we would also have to accept that ballet rules our life right now.  We are so proud of her and her diligent attitude in her dance studies.  She has come up leaps and bounds in her strength and ballet education since she started.  With only a handful of absences and almost zero complaining, this has been her life 4 days a week.  3 of which are right after a long day at school.  Our time everyday at SAB is more than just waiting the 90 minutes while she is in dance class, we have much more time invested in it than that.  I wanted to share our family’s nearly daily journey and the logistics it takes for Macy have this amazing experience.

MACY’S DAY AT BALLET

We made a decision early on that it was a waste of time for us to pick Macy up from school, walk home, wait 45 min and then walk back to the train.  So we leave straight from school pick up and get to SAB earlier than needed.

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It takes 3 trains for us to get to Lincoln Center.  Its not really a big deal, when you live in NYC, transferring trains is a just how its done.  Sometimes you get lucky and there’s no wait for the next train to arrive and sometimes the train runs late and you have a long wait.  Its sort of the way traffic is everywhere else, its out of your control and you have to be patient. On the plus side you have time to read a book while you travel, in Macy’s case she has 45 minutes to work on homework.  She usually uses the time to do her reading but sometimes she gets distracted.  Especially if a 6 foot tall transvestite with purple hair and giant boots is making a scene on the train.  Would anyone be able to pay attention with that going on?

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We dont always take the last leg of train, sometimes we walk from 59th street to 66th street.  It’s not much difference in waiting for the 1 train and making the 7 block walk.  I often use the extra time we give ourselves to run an errand at the Shops at Columbus circle, printing at Kinkos or to mail a package.

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There is always something going on at Lincoln Center.  We stumble upon events ranging from the opening night of the Metropolitan Opera, to movie premieres (we saw Leonardo DiCaprio and other celebs at the Great Gatsby premier last week) just going about on our day of ballet.  The area of Lincoln Center for Performing Arts is made up of several world renown organizations.  The New York City Ballet, Metropolitan Opera, The Julliard School, New York Philharmonic, New York Public Library for the Performing Arts  and School of American Ballet to name just a few.  Last fall a sky walk crossing over 65th street opened to connect the buildings holding Julliard and SAB to the main Lincoln Center buildings.  Which makes it easier for me to stroll Hudson over to the plazas where a fountain, a reflection pool and grassy lawn are, if the weather is good we often walk over to enjoy their beauty.

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At our earliest arrival to SAB we have about 30 minutes before we can order from the dinner counters at the Julliard & SAB Cafe.  We LOVE the cafe!  I honestly dont think I could handle all of the hours and days we have to spend doing this if I didnt have the cafe to eat and wait in.    Serving  just Julliard and SAB students, staff and families, it has a  grill, hot entree counter, soup and salad bars and sandwich counter, several drinks and luckily brews Starbucks coffee.   We spend a lot of time there and see many interesting performing arts students.  It really is the heart of these two performing arts schools, as students are not just eating there between classes before they go home.  Both SAB and Julliard have resident students that depend on it for meals that are healthly and full of variety.  We on the other hand eat mostly pizza, Hudson does at least.  Macy likes to eat salad and yogurt and I enjoy the fact that its affordable and I don’t have to cook dinner on ballet nights.

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The Cafe is located on the lobby level of the Rose Building, SAB is on the 5th floor.  Unfortunately the school has very strict rules about photography on the 5th floor.  Parents are not allowed to stay on the 5th floor while their child is in class, which is a new rule this year.  There is actually several seating areas with big comfy sofas up there, its a shame really that we can’t enjoy it during class time anymore.  We are also not allowed to observe classes, but twice a year there is a Parents Observation week.

Before each class, I get 20 minutes to help her get ready, not that it takes that long.  Some days she has a morning shower and we do her bun in the morning.  On those days her bun is high and more classic looking.  On dry hair days we do a low bun with a side part just before class.  Macy is getting good at doing the bun herself now, she likes to use a bun form to get a big showy bun, but in general she has pretty silky hair that goes into a bun easily without too many fly aways.

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And here she is ready to go to class!

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After class, if we are lucky and Macy isnt socializing too much she can be dressed and ready to go in 10 minutes.  We don’t usually run any errands after ballet, we have about an hour commute and are just ready to be home.  If you are wondering about Hudson during our ballet days, he doesn’t go every time.   On most weeks, Jacob is home for 1 or 2 of the ballet days and  one of us stays with Hudson.  When he does go, he often falls asleep in his stroller on the train ride there and of course eating dinner and watching some netflix is part of his day anyway, he just has to do it away from home.

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And now for Macy’s exciting news!  During the year SAB students are asked to fill childrens’ roles in ballets at New York City Ballet.  This being Macy’s first year learning ballet so intensely we have not auditioned for any of the open calls, but some of the ballets roles are chosen directly by the Children’s Ballet Master……

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Macy has been chosen to perform in the ballet Firebird with the NYCB for 4 nights in May at David Koch theater!   It really was a surprise to us that she was offered this experience so soon, we are so proud of how hard she has been working. This week she begins rehearsals and of course we plan to attend all 4 performances.  I cant wait to she my baby girl on stage at Lincoln Center!  I will certainly have more to share as it happens, so stay tuned.

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Filed under I heart NY, The Chic Tween

Hudson’s Superhero Party featured on Amy Atlas

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Amy Atlas is internationally know as “The Sweets Stylist”.  Her blog Sweet Designs is full of dessert tables for which Amy has set the standard for.   She is so supportive and encouraging to other aspiring stylists in the events industry.   Beautiful guest dessert tables from around the world grace her blog pages, it is always an honor to be excepted as a featured guest.   This  submission is my third party to debut on Amy Atlas and there will be many more to come as I celebrate my children each year and as friends and family allow me to create for them.

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Check out the rest of Hudson’s Superhero Party on Amy Atlas HERE

Now that the party is out of the bag, I cant wait to fill you all in on some great DIY tips about the crafts and display.  I will be introducing my first free printable as well as sharing how you can do a cake like this one at home!

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Filed under Celebrations, City Mouse + Country Mouse, SugarCoated

The Chic Tween {Holiday Wish List 2012}

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My daughter Macy is 10 years old, she straddles the age between child and teen that we call tween.  Fortunately she is not the type of tween that is into annoying mainstream fads.  She’s classic and on trend, she has style and I call her my Chic Tween.  This Christmas my husband and I started shopping early for her, we wanted to have plenty of time to pick just the right gifts. I secretly got my husband a set of wooden watches, I know he will be so happy, now I can focus on the others. I have put together a fabulous board of gifts that speak to me of Macy’s style.  She’s getting about half of what is on the board, thats why its a wish list, I wish we could give her all of it!   Luckily she doesnt look at my blog unless I share it with her so, SHHHHH! don’t tell her what Santa might be bringing her :)

Harajuku Mini  velvet dress -Target

1/2 pound gummy bear – giantgummybears.com

Star headband – Giantdwarf on Etsy

Military Jacket – Johnie B 

Initial bracelet – C Wonder 

Glitter Tote – Crewcuts 

Gold ballet flat – Gap

Resin rings with gold flakes – Daimblond on Etsy

Hersey Barbie – Barbie collector 

– Shirt Dress – Zara 

– Daisy Chain necklace – Anthropologie 

Mini Edie glitter bag – Crewcuts 

– Sequin sweater – Target 

– iPad Mini – Apple

– Clog Boots – Gap

Toothpick Cords – Crewcuts

Peter Pan collar necklace – LittleBunga on etsy

Viscid Watch – Anthropologie

– Lomography Camera – Urban Outfitters

Singer sewing machine – Target

– “Be What You Want To Be” print – by Neryl Walker via LLK-C

I hope you see something that might make your Tween’s eyes sparkle!

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Filed under Holiday, The Chic Tween