In the City

Neighborhood Shop: Tea Collection Berkeley by Kate Brightbill

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Tea Collection created its first neighborhood shop! Local bay area friends can now shop Tea's beautiful products in person. I'm definitely the type of shopper who appreciates this. Though online shopping is my favorite, I also really like to be able to feel the fabrics and appreciate the prints in person when a new season is released.

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The fall collection is inspired by Japan. You can read about the inspiration from their travels on the Tea website, which is something so unique and lovely about Tea. There is always a cultural influence, and the influence is not simply imagined... it is experienced by the Tea team as they travel the world to see the destinations for themselves.

 Paper cranes in variety of colors in the window. 

Paper cranes in variety of colors in the window. 

The neighborhood shop is lovely, and I found some new favorites while browsing, so I obviously decided to share them with you, as well as 15% off of everything you shop at Tea with the code STYLESMALLER15. (new customers only, ends 9/1/16).

Stay tuned for a Tea Collection giveaway early next week as well! 

Tea Collection Neighborhood Shop @ Kid Dynamo: 2108 Vine Street, Berkeley, CA 

StyleSmaller || Tea Collection #teacollection

onetwothree | four | five | six | seven | eight | nine | ten | eleven | twelve

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Thank you to Tea Collection for partnering with me on this post. I receive clothing as a Tea Ambassador. All opinions are my own. 

Places We Love: Tutu School < & Tutu Du Monde giveaway> by Kate Brightbill

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Ahh, Tutu School, how I love you.

When Sophie was 2, she wanted to be a ballerina. We enrolled her in a local (unnamed) ballet school and did NOT enjoy it. She had sparkle tights, and the school required proper pink tights and black leotards only-- for TWO-YEAR-OLDS. It was strict and classes were cancelled on whims, and our experience was entirely unpleasant... We needed to switch things up asap. I called around and talked to THE sweetest lady over at Tutu School and was basically sold over the phone by what a stark contrast she was to what I currently had.. but still, I wanted to see for myself if it was that good.

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A totally free, no-strings-attached trial class is offered to any child who wants to get their ballet feet wet at Tutu School. Sophie attended her trial class in sparkly tights and pink slippers, and felt like a princess ballerina from the start. Tutu School gives girls their freedom to express their love for twirling, sparkle, fancy, AND get their start in true ballet fundamentals during their classes. Until children are three, the classes are "mommy (or caregiver) & me," meaning I was also pointing my toes and learning to tendu and pique with my girls (I was sore after more classes than one, ha!). It really IS that good.

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Maggie obviously followed closely behind-- as soon as she was old enough to join, she wanted to get in on dancing her little heart out weekly.

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Five years later, and both girls are still enrolled in Tutu School. It is THE BEST. They love it with all their heart, and it is their first choice of extracurricular every year. The format adjusts as the little dancers get older. Toddlers have far more free dancing and story time, and prep girls have more time at the bar learning proper balance, technique, and form. 

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Tutu School also offers camps and PARTIES. I recently attended a party (actually was honored to co-host!), and they truly make everything they touch special at these parties. The children are engaged with crafting, twirling, and enjoying their refreshments, and the adults can mingle and enjoy themselves and watching their children's eyes shine. 

Tutu School
Tutu School

Side note-- check out those gorgeous plates and cups created by my friends from Harlow and Grey! So pretty!

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I cannot keep talking about Tutu School without introducing you to the story behind the operation. Tutu School started on Bay Street in 2008 by my friend Genevieve. She is an amazing woman-- a mother of three boys (including twins!!), a former dancer and a teacher. She recognized that little dancers ages 8 and younger have beautiful imaginations and an appreciation for magical moments, but rarely are ballet classes offered that truly embrace the dreamy ballet experience.

She opened the doors to her San Francisco and Larkspur locations, and two schools have seen countless children come through their programs, wearing tutus of all colors, rainbow tights to sparkly black tights, fancy accessories, and tiaras on a Tuesday morning. It's all allowed and even encouraged.

Genevieve has had so much positive feedback and interest in her school that she was motivated to create a franchising opportunity for Tutu School. Obviously the franchising concept was hugely popular from its start-- it's a business which has appealed especially to mothers who love the idea of taking ownership of a beautiful program, but who don't necessarily want to start at square one. The franchises have taken off, and there are now 14 Tutu School locations! What started as a simple dream of owning a small business is truly blooming into a cross-country operation.

I'm so inspired by Genevieve- who also happens to basically be the same age as me. She put her dreams into action and has created something so beautiful... for herself, for little dancers and their families, and now for other entrepreneurs. 

Genevieve would like to offer the most amazing giveaway today to my readers (I've never wished to be a winner in my own giveaway quite so much, haha!): a Tutu Du Monde dress for a little ballerina, size 4-5, with a crown and a wand.

The tutu is incredible- what dreams are made of. Every inch of the it has unparalleled detailing and beauty. My girls literally gasped when I showed them what it is that one of you can win. This image doesn't even do it justice:

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Gorgeous!!

Here's how to win-- each is an entry, but the only thing absolutely necessary to enter is that you leave a comment below letting me know how many ways you have entered:

  1. Follow Tutu School on Instagram
  2. Follow StyleSmaller on Instagram
  3. Like Tutu School on Facebook
  4. Follow Tutu School on Twitter
  5. Pin an image above and tag @tutuschool
  6. Leave a comment below or on IG letting me know how many times you entered and your social media handle(s)! (essential for me to know how many entries I owe you. :)

Giveaway runs from now until Monday, June 20. Winner must be 18 years of age or older and will be chosen at random. I will notify the winner HERE on Tuesday, 6/21 (or by email if you prefer to leave your email in the comments), so be sure to check back!! xoxoxo 

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Tutu School Resources:

  • If you're interested in enrolling in classes, check out the locations HERE (top right)
  • If you'd like to enroll in summer camps, check out the schedules HERE
  • If you're interested in a Tutu Birthday Party, find the info HERE
  • If you'd like more info on franchising, please connect with Genevieve HERE
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* Classes were offered in exchange for an honest post about the program. I said yes in a heartbeat and all opinions and words are my own. I am so in love with Tutu School and all it offers. xoxo

San Francisco Kids: Peekadoodle Kids Club by Kate Brightbill

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This is the look of a girl who is confident in the kitchen. 

WHY is Maggie so confident in the kitchen, you ask?

Peekadoodle Cooking Classes. 

I joked when I signed her up for her first class that I want to train my kids to be amazing chefs so that by age 10 they can do all the family cooking. She was 2, and it seemed like a great extracurricular. Before the session even ended, I signed her up for another class... then another. Many many bus rides and beautiful walks around Ghiradelli square later, I'm finally writing about it... and based on how much and how often Maggie wants to cook with me, I'm actually starting to think my jokes may come true! 

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Let me tell you about this place...

Peekadoodle's location is IN Ghiradelli Square. Feels like a postcard. I love fresh air, and spent so much of my time during her classes taking walks around municipal pier, enjoying the waterfront and quiet foggy mornings in a peaceful neighborhood. I would buzz to get into Peekadoodle, drop Maggie with her adorable cooking teacher, then grab a cup of hot coffee in the Peekadoodle cafe... which I actually enjoyed HOT. What? I know. Normally my cups of coffee are lukewarm (or I just throw ice cubes in and embrace the cold coffee) because I'm chasing my kids and hustlin' around home or around the city. Peekadoodle gave me a moment every week to breathe and relax.

  Tiny Jack!

Tiny Jack!

Jack was tiny during Maggie's most recent session, so he sometimes would sleep and sometimes would look around and want to play in the section devoted to babies. Toddlers stayed on their side of the play structures, and babies safely can maneuver and scoot around their play area. Any tasted toys get put in a bucket and cleaned regularly, so we could be assured that babies are avoiding extra germs.

...Back to Peekadoodle cooking classes. I had all the perks of coffee and wifi and leisure, and calm times with Jack, but I promise-- Peekadoodle was more about Maggie. ;)

Maggie currently knows how to safely chop, how to mix without the mixtures flying out of the bowl, how to crack an egg (without any shells), and most importantly, she understands how delicious healthy recipes can be. All because of her classes.

The kids start class by washing their hands, putting their tiny adorable aprons on, and sitting down to prep their food. This is the bulk of the class time, but all the ingredients are prepped and ready for them, so it doesn't take longer than necessary. Watching the teachers work to teach groups of toddlers and pre-schoolers the basic cooking skills showed me that I can feel confident teaching my own children at home too. A huge aspect of not going totally crazy while doing so is PREP. Teachers have ingredients set aside but measured, and the kids can pour. As they get more experience they get to have more hands-on responsibility.  

When the food goes in the oven, the kids have story time and letter practice, and they get to run around (in butterfly wings if they want!) outside. 

Can I just tell you (in case the pictures don't speak for themselves): Maggie thrived in her class. She would leave full of chatter and excitement. When we'd go to the grocery store, she would ask me to buy the ingredients from the recipes she made in class to make them for Brian and Sophie too. She could rattle off all the ingredients, AND the order in which she mixed them into her recipe. It's honestly amazing what a 2-4 year old can really soak in, and I am SO glad we invested into this program. She just asked me this week if we can make pear tarts because she made them in class a couple months ago. Kids are like fabulous little sponges.

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Peekadoodle's extracurriculars don't start and end with cooking. There is a full pre-school, as well as:

  • baby and toddler music classes
  • baby sign language  
  • art labs
  • build-it class
  • drama-rama class
  • imagination station
  • and more! 

Maggie says you should sign your kids up too! Registration is open for summer camps! WORTH EVERY PENNY. :)

Thank you for YEARS of fun, Peekadoodle!

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I'm so grateful to have had Maggie's most recent cooking class comped in exchange for becoming a Peekadoodle Ambassador. All opinions are my own, and I cannot rave enough about this program and this little school.  

Currently Loving: Hanna Andersson by Kate Brightbill

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Last night, I was thrilled to co-host the pre-opening event for Hanna Andersson in Corte Madera. The store is GORGEOUS, from the outside to every tiny detail inside. I definitely shouldn't have expected any different, considering their beautiful website. ;) The new store is having the BEST weekend deals, so if you're a local, GO! Snag some goods for the kids or the home!! 

Hanna is one of those brands that is really loved by the whole family (I'll show you in a few weeks how our baby boy is going to be loving his Hanna! Eeee, so excited!). The fabrics are soft and wash PERFECTLY. Hanna stands behind their products and allow lifetime returns because they guarantee good quality for every piece. With so many brands opting for 30 day strict return policies, this in itself is a breath of fresh air.

My budget was happy that I didn't bring the girls-- they literally would have wanted everything in the girls' section! Plenty of kitty and fox prints that they would fall in love with, cozy and practical pieces that have that extra special something to make them appealing for kids too (like a great neutral cargo jacket for school, made extra special with stars and a pink patch! SO cute!). I could not step away from the accessories sections: knee highs with dots and stripes! crocheted necklaces, or shiny heart necklaces (like my friend picked up for her daughter-- doesn't get much cuter!). Their sweaters and colors are brilliant- everything a kid could want for their fall wardrobes. 

StyleSmaller || @hanna #ilovemyhannas
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If you're not local, you can still shop your heart out-- online! I found my favorites for my kiddos (BELOW) -- soooo much cuteness, so much quality, and not too serious... Just like childhood products should be!! 

StyleSmaller || @hanna #ilovemyhannas

ABC Print | Pink Beanie | Dot Knee-highs

SweaterKitty Purse | Beanie

Striped Knee-highsClogs | Backpack

And one more picture of this kiddo that I absolutely adore... she sampled both of her dotty socks in one day because she's four, and making wardrobe changes is the story of our life, ha!:

Happy Friday!! xoxox

Squash and Bay Clubs by Kate Brightbill

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School starts on Monday, but we are savoring our last few days and remembering our summer fun!! One of Sophie's favorite weeks of the summer was her SQUASH CAMP at the ever-so beautiful SF Bay Club. She started the week barely able to throw her "magic ball" against the wall properly, and only hitting the return once, and by the end of the week, she could actually play a match with her squash coach Charlie! Since camp, she has been tossing a ping pong ball against our walls and use a ping pong paddle to return it -- not effective, but it's a valiant effort to keep the skills she acquired! (she tries to find walls without pictures, but since I've finally finished my gallery walls, it's a little trickier, haha!) We need to get this girl some real squash supplies. ;)

I actually took VIDEO during squash camp! I'm such a picture person that I hardly ever switch the lever to take video, but when your firstborn is in her first sports camp, you want the in-action video proof of the improvements she made! I'm so used to seeing princess Sophie, and fashion Sophie, and creative Sophie, but now we have Sporty Sophie too. I love sporty Sophie! 

SO. Here you have it... our video chronicling Bay Club squash camp! Enjoy!!

ALSO! They have academic year classes for those of you who want to start getting your kids involved in sports regularly! HIGHLY recommend!

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  Coach Charlie!!&nbsp;

Coach Charlie!! 

* Post 2 of 2 in collaboration with Bay Clubs. We received complimentary camp and services from the Bay Club in exchange for writing about our experience. Post is NOT sponsored. ALL opinions are my own. The Bay Club is amazing, and I am recommending it to friends in real life as well as to you!

Weekending + Sun Safety by Kate Brightbill

StyleSmaller || LandsEnd

This weekend we hit some seriously high temperatures in San Francisco. Saturday was what I would call "weather perfection," with 70's low 80's... Sunday was basically unbearable for this pregnant girl, and I spent most of the day inside with windows open, dividing my day between crunching cups of ice and eating popsicles. SF doesn't really know about that thing called air-conditioning, because frankly- we don't need it most of the year, but those few days of sun rays beating on us and we all wonder if we should have invested in AC regardless of the fact that 360 days of the year we do not need it. 

We beached it up on Saturday for a couple hours. We were over by the bridge at sports basement on a hunt for the perfect backpack for my husband, and it only made sense to take ourselves to the beach if were were going to be out there anyway. My girls are beach bums... particularly Sophie. She would go all the way in the cold water if we let her, even on the chilly 50 degree days... she is a total fish! I love it. 

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*(though maybe not if I showed her the insane shark + surfer video from the weekend- did you see that??? SO glad he was safe!!! And another side-note: we debated at length whether the SF bay has sharks, and researched the answer- yes, small harmless bay sharks, not legit terrifying ones, phew) 

We packed a bag of only the essentials. Water- (because the girls love to chant 2-4-6-8 everybody hydrate!), my favorite beach towel ever (monogrammed with my initials because it seems every mom should be allowed to take ownership of at least a few little things in their life that little hands can't claim, yes?), sundresses, shades, hats (SUN SAFETY), and got ourselves cooled and sandy until we were all losing our charm.... then we headed home for some nice afternoon naps. Ahh, perfect. 

I'm going to be terribly honest and tell you that- though I'm super cautious with my girls and their hats and sunscreen, I can be a bit lax with my own application and other sun precautions. I don't burn (thank you, 50% Mexican blood for that!), so it doesn't seem quite so urgent to re-apply as often as I do for my family. I have, however, been humbled this pregnancy in more ways than simply adding numbers rapidly to the scale.... To my mortification, my skin has been getting some dark sun spots near the freckles on my cheeks. Aghhh! I know some of this will go away after the pregnancy, but it is SUCH an essential reminder to me: none of us are immune to skin damage and melanoma!! 

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Shortly after I noticed my new skin imperfections, LandsEnd reached out to me about spreading the word about MRA (Melanoma Research Alliance), and their summer sun safety awareness campaign... It was meant to be. I received the prettiest, extra-soft lightweight swim tee to protect my body- it can cover any swimsuit and be worn in-water or out. I love a good tan, but I love the idea of preventing splotchy skin spots and - for goodness sakes- melanoma- far more! The LandsEnd swim tees are recommended by the Skin Cancer Foundation as an effective UV protectant- they are a UPF 50 sun protectant. 

I don't know if it's because I'm in my 30's now and thinking more responsibly, but this REALLY matters to me these days. I do not want to become a statistic- are you aware that skin cancer has increased 30% this year? YES. I know. 

SO, what can you do? 

  • First of all- cover up! Slather that sunscreen on your children AND yourselves! And USE SWIM TEES (right now is the best time to buy because they're all on sale!!).
  • Grab some sun UPF products for yourselves... I will literally be wearing mine all the hot days of the year.
  • Share pics of you being sun savvy in your swim tees and tag @LandsEnd on Instagram and Facebook... for every picture tagged with the hashtag #LandsEndSunSavvy, LandsEnd will be making a donation to the MRA! 

Sun safety is kind of a big deal. Weekend away, vacation away, but be summer safe!!

Ps. LandsEnd swim tees are perfectly stretchy, so I recommend ordering exactly your size- no bigger, and if you're between sizes, size down! They're priced as low as $12.99. so it's seriously a no-brainer. :) 

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This post is sponsored by LandsEnd. All opinions are my own. Thanks for supporting the brands that support us! xx