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LETTER

from the Editor

Cover

ON THE

On Ellie: Gathered Waist Twirl Dress, Sophie Cardigan, Pom Headband & Tights. On Max: Lightweight Vest, Poplin Shirt, Iron Knee Classic Fit Jeans. On Jack: Faux Fur Trapper Hat, Zipper Front Cardigan, Poplin Shirt, CashTouch Scarf & 5 Pocket Cords. Believe Sign: World Vinyl

Gratitude. It’s been the word of the year in my home and in my work. When it comes to gift-giving, I'm taking the less is more approach. The items that do make it under the tree will be special. As you'll discover, this guide is as much about carving out magical moments with the kids as it is about shopping. We worked hard to curate a gift guide that will take some of the stress out of gift-giving--with a few clicks, you'll be able to spread joy and get back to the best part of the season, making memories with your family. Warmly,

Nicole

Momtrends & The Shopping Mama Holiday Gift Guide Momtrends Media CEO: Nicole Feliciano Editor & Layout: Kate Marsh Lord Sales: Michelle Spreckels Graphics: Patti Murphy Š Momtrends Media, 2015


Welcome!

Here’s What’s Inside The very best gifts For Kids 2015 Hot Toys 3 STEAM Toys 6 All About These Books 8 Toys that Wow 10 Under $25 11 Breakout Toys of the Year 12 May the Force Be With You 12 Stocking Stuffers 13 Baby’s First 15 Tweens & Teens 16 Our Favorite Subscription Deliveries 20

& For the rest of us Must Have Family Gadgets & Gear 17 Hanukkah Gifts for the Whole Family 21 Food for the Holidays 22 Toast the Host 22 Sparkle & Shine 26 Make Time for You 27 Gifts for Gals - $30 or Less 29 What To Give the Man That Has Everything 30

Make Your Holidays Happy

Design the Perfect Holiday Card 5 Holiday Style 6 5 Tips to Entertain Like a Pro 23 Christmas Sangria Recipe 24 Take Better Pictures This Holiday Season 31 Ultimate Holiday Breakfast Recipe 33

Trendsetter Q&A

s

Rebecca Minkoff * 9 Courtney Slazinik * 14 Sarah Michelle Gellar * 19 Heidi Rausch * 28 Carly Dorogi * 34

Holiday Photo Tips 31

What Moms Really Want 25 What Moms Really Want

Christmas Sangria 24


ten Hot Toys

for the holidays

2015

Hess Truck 2015

stuffed anim a whole new als on level

VTech Action Camera

Play All Day Elmo

FurReal Unicorn

3

Smart Toy Bear


Classic LEGO Box

Imaginext Ultra T-Rex

American Girl Truly Me Doll

Osmo Gaming System Zoomer Kitty

4


4 Tips for the Perfect Holiday Card from Minted 1. Make it completely custom.
 Send something unique to loved ones this holiday with a completely custom letterpress or foil-pressed card. Minted will take your child's drawing and transform it into a personalized design.

2. Instantly see your photo in many designs. Upload your photo using Minted's Find it Fast™ tool and see it in all of Minted's cards in seconds.

3. Try different greetings. Easily switch between Christmas and New Year greetings to find your perfect fit for your photo and family.

4. Let Minted address your envelopes for FREE. Choose from matching or coordinating fonts and styles.

a few of our favorites 5


Style

Holiday

We’re mad for plaid! (No secret - it’s on the cover!) Lands’ End brings this classic pattern to modern silhouettes for the entire family.

Family photo tip: don’t shy away from patterns! They add interest and dimension to family photos. See our cover!

PJs All Day!

Lands’ End sweaters are winter essentials and we love the variety for kids. From embellishments to cashmere to cardigans and pullovers, there’s something for everyone.

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full S.T.E.A.M. ahead

Science. Technology. Engineering. Art. Mathematics.

Lakeshore GEars

Smithsonian Rock & Gem Dig Set

Circuit Building Set

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Roominate amusement park

Hop on the hottest trend in jewelry with Klutz. The Charm Bracelet Studio provides fool-proof, step-by-step instructions to paint your own gold charm bracelets. It’s never been easier to craft your own standout style.

Tegu Stunt Team


we’re all about these BOOKS,

about these

BOOKS

for kids

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Rebecca Minkoff fashion designer, @rebeccaminkoff TSM: What’s on your wish list?

Rebecca: Spending time with my family.

TSM: Favorite holiday song?
 Rebecca: “All I Want for Christmas.”

TSM: What are some ways you give back during the holiday season?

Rebecca: Giving back and being philanthropic is a huge part of both my personal and professional lives. I’ve done numerous collaborations over the last year which all give back; including Every Mother Counts, Baby Buggy & Honest Co.

TSM: Favorite holiday treat? 
 Rebecca: Pumpkin bread; I make it every year!

TSM: Any special traditions you've started with your kids? Rebecca: We play Spin the Dreidel.

Our Rebecca Minkoff Wish List wallet on a chain

Bucket Bag palm cuff

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sneakers

Jacket


CELEBRATE THE

magic

OF THE

season

Dash & Dot Robot Wonder Pack

Personalized Mermaid Sleeping Bag XBOX ONE The LEGO Movie Bundle

Trixx Xtreme Stunt Scooter

All-in-1 Kitchen & Play Appliances

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world puzzle read my list game

Worry Eater

perfect for emotional kids

Buddy balloon launch tea set

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Breakout Toys of 2015

We tapped zulily’s resident toy expert Kenji Yoshinari for a few of the year’s breakout toys. Visit zulily’s Holiday Shop to find a great selection of products every single day. • TEGU Classroom Kit – Unique block kit combines art and education for a great gift. • Green Toys – Teach your child to care for the environment with these ecofriendly toys. They are easy to maintain, dishwasher safe and don’t require batteries. • B u i l d - Y o u r - O w n (Customizable) 18” Dolls from Madame Alexander – This toy combines a customizable experience and hands-on building--two top toy trends. • Razor Crazy Cart Spinning Go Kart & JoyBay Pink Swing Car – These toys are perfect for kids on the go.  • FINIS Mermaid Swim Fin – A fin-tastic choice for kids who love the water!

May The Force Be With You

(of awesome gifts)

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STOCKING STUFFERS

Lace Locks® are the brand new, one-of-akind fashion sneaker accessory that easily clips on and off your sneakers without having to unlace them. Style that "Speaks Your Sole"

DIY FlipBook Kit

Personalized Yo-Yo DC Comics Figures

Ninja Blocks

Sleeping Queens Card Game

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Courtney Slazinik PHOTOGRAPHER & BLOGGER, @clickitupanotch

TSM: What is on your holiday wish list? Courtney: We are big into "experience" gifts. My husband and I found that we have enough stuff. We typically surprise each other. But, I always hope for tickets to a performance or musical. This year, we got my parents on board and they are gifting our whole family tickets to the Nutcracker when we are in town visiting them. I know my girls will remember going to the ballet with their grandparents and parents more than a toy they will forget about.

TSM: Do you bake anything special at the holidays? Courtney: I’m not known for my baking skills. However, last year I found this amazing recipe for candied pecans that we love. My kids are even fighting over it. Plus, it makes the house smell amazing!

TSM: Favorite family holiday tradition? Courtney: As a child, my dad read us “The Night Before Christmas” (a pop up version he got my mom when they were first married). My sister, brother and I would sit on the couch around him while he read it fighting over who got to move Santa up the chimney. One year my dad was gone for Christmas but he recorded himself reading the story on a tape for us to listen to. Now, he reads it to my children. We don't live near my parents so we aren't always able to listen to it in person, but no matter where we live my parents video call us so my dad can read the book to my girls.

TSM: Best gift you ever gave? Courtney: I think that will be this year. We are going to surprise our kids with a trip to Disney World. We will leave two days after Christmas and meet my husband's family there. The hard part now is coming up with a creative way to tell the kids. Scavenger hunt or balloons in a box?

TSM: IT gift for kids this year?

Courtney: We love open ended well-made imagination gifts. I don't know if this is new but I'm in love with the Grimm's Extra Large 12 piece Rainbow Stacker.

TSM: Real or fake tree? Courtney: I LOVE real trees. We lived in Japan for a few years so we had to do a fake tree but now that we are back in the States I love going to the Christmas Tree farm to select our tree and cut it down as family. The kids love it, great time to take pictures and the house smells awesome.

TSM: Are you on the nice or naughty list this year? Courtney: Let’s hope nice ;)

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first

baby’s owl rocking stacker noisy ball

hungry? TACO BOOTIES &
 Pizza teether!

happy heights chart

fold & go elephant

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AND

TWEENS

TEENS

Keep Collective Bracelet

OgoBild Animate

Boodle Box

JBL Speaker

The perfect holiday stocking stuffer. Inkblaat Insoles — brand new, smart, fun, functional and machine wash/dry that protects and refreshes shoes (along with egos, eyes and noses) from odor causing bacteria. The cushioning insoles can be trimmed to fit any shoe size and come in 24 fun designs. With a MSRP of $16.99 and a 30-day money back guarantee, you can’t go wrong. Made of 90% recycled content with a reusable pouch.

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must have Gadgets & Gear

Don’t sacrifice your style for f u n c t i o n . We l o v e t h e s e practical gifts for new families.

Maxi-Cosi’s Special Edition Sweater Collection Mico Max 30 infant car seat allows baby to ride in cosi comfort from 4-30 pounds. With Air Protect Side Impact Protection and an anti-rebound bar, parents can rest easy knowing every ride feels safer. Better yet, the seat pad is washer and dryer safe. Retails for $289.99 at Nordstrom.

Quinny’s lightweight and durable Yezz offers an ultra-compact quick-fold and an adjustable carry strap that transforms the unit for hands-free backpack-like carrying. Retails for $279.99 at Albee Baby.

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Cool eyewear, like Babiators! AC Lens, your online destination with everything for your eyes, has unsurpassed selection, the latest styles and superior customer service, all at the right price. AC Lens is the ultimate time-saving solution for everyone’s eyewear needs on your holiday list this season!


Bring joy to baby with the automatic, one hand switch sit-to-nap feature, which makes the transition from playtime to nap t i me u t t e r l y seamless. Simply pull the canopy over baby to bring him or her soothing comfort and calm. With its calming vibrations, electronic toy, and selection of nine musical tunes, the Cozy Rocker Napper is a must-have product for newborns and infants alike. MSRP: $124.99 at Babies R Us Totspot is a mobile shopping app for Moms to buy and sell their family's clothes, shoes and accessories.

Creative play. Keep kids clean at mealtime, playtime, or anytime with bibs kids actually want to wear! Printed with continuous, hyper-realistic design and true-to-life details, Suitables Role Play Bibs from Mixed Pears are 2-in-1 pretend play bibs feature long sleeves for full coverage, a flip-forward pocket for catching crumbs and dribbles, and a water- and stain-repellant coating.

Kids on the move. At the ideal height for little travelers, this children's rolling luggage from Stephen Joseph Gifts is the perfect companion on any trip. It has multiple pockets to keep your child’s most prized toys safe and an extendable handle for easy rolling.

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Sarah Michelle Gellar foodstirs chief mom, @Sarahmgellar

TSM: What is on your holiday wish list? Sarah Michelle: A vacation- somewhere I can lay on a beach and read (and maybe have a cocktail).

TSM: Do you bake anything special at the holidays? Sarah Michelle: Whatever my kids request (well, to the best of my ability).

TSM: Favorite family holiday tradition? Sarah Michelle: Getting our picture taken with Santa (I love seeing them all lined up year after year).

TSM: Best gift you ever gave? Sarah Michelle: Well, I think you would have to ask the people that received it. I know my greatest gifts are my children.

TSM: Favorite holiday movie? Sarah Michelle: “The Nightmare Before Christmas”, “Love Actually” (all the Bill Nighy parts) and “Home Alone”.

TSM: IT gift for kids this year? Sarah Michelle: Foodstirs Baker Club.

TSM: Real or fake tree? Sarah Michelle: Real, but from a socially responsible tree farm where the trees are grown on sustainable land.

TSM: Are you on the nice or naughty list this year? Sarah Michelle: The nice list, of course!!

Foodstirs foodcrafting kits & premium baking mixes are a unique & wholesome cooking experience for the family. Get busy & stir up some fun!

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our favorite SUBSCRIPTION BOXES Koala Crate ages 3-4

Junior Explorers ages 5-12

Foodstirs all ages

Bring the magic of the winter season into your home with our Brownie Snowflakes Kit! Kids and adults alike won’t be able to resist the gooey brownie topped with mini-marshmallows and chocolate chips.

! o o t , s p u n w of r gro

Nerd Block Jr ages 6-11

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Hanukkah Celebrate

Gifts for the whole family: a latke! apron, mezuzah necklace, handprinted dreidel, brainy cube, personalized Hanukkah countdown, American Girl holiday outfit & Hanukkah doll set.

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Season

Taste of the

Brookside crafts extraordinarily delicious dark chocolate-covered snacks with intriguing combinations of ingredients and fruit flavors. Experience a sophisticated, extraordinary, and enticingly delicious taste experience with each intriguing combination of Brookside chocolate.

Hickory Farms, America’s most famous holiday food gift brand, has been an important part of family holiday traditions for over 60 years. This year, Hickory Farms introduces the new Simply Hickory Farms™ line of gifts and products made from all-natural, wholesome ingredients containing no nitrites, artificial flavors or colors. Simple Ingredients. Simply Delicious.

Toast the Host “Bottoms Up” Oar Stirrers

City Map Glass

Linen Wine Bag

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5 Tips for

Holiday Party Success

By: Kim Stoegbauer, Founder/Creative Director The TomKat Studio

The holidays are hands-down my favorite time of year for many reasons; one being all the amazing parties that are planned and thrown during the months of November and December! To help you channel your inner holiday hostess, I have put together a list of tips for holiday party success. They’re guaranteed to make all of your celebrations merry and bright! 1. Plan ahead – Easier said right?! I know time can get away from us all with the hustle and bustle of the season, but planning ahead is the biggest key to a successful holiday party. I would start by picking a date, make sure all your friends know when the best holiday party is going to be! 2. Pick a theme – If you follow The TomKat Studio you know that I love a themed party! The biggest reason is that themes not only make planning easier, but they also effectively set the mood for all of your guests when they arrive to your party. Don’t know where to start? Our blog has tons of inspiration if you need help narrowing down a theme or be sure check out our Pinterest account for tons of inspiring pins! 3. Make your list and check it twice – There’s nothing worse than running out of supplies in the middle of a party! So make a list of what you need and grab plenty of extras so all your guests can sip and snack in style all night. If you’re looking for festive plates/cups/utensils for your next bash, The TomKat Studio has got you covered! Check out our fun supplies! 4. Have FUN! – The food is out, the music is going and now it’s party time! So go grab yourself a cocktail girlfriend and enjoy the beautiful celebration you created! 5. Take the party home – Give your guests the gift of memories from your holiday party by sending them away with a favor bag or box with goodies inside!

We are obsessed with the brand new TomKat Studio PartyBuilder™

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This innovative tool presents hand-picked items designed to make your gathering beautiful and effortless. Kim says: “I wanted to create something that would help you easily choose the pretty party supplies you need for your next celebration! You can use this tool to shop by party theme or color and it will reveal everything you need to create a gorgeous tablescape!”


Photo Credit:Raquel Biana Creative

Christmas Sangria

Ingredients

1 Granny Smith Apple 1 Braeburn Apple 1 cup Cranberries 1 sprig Rosemary 1 bottle Pinot Grigio 1/2 cup White Grape Juice 1/4 cup Sugar 1 can Club Soda

Chop apples into small cubes. Combine all ingredients into a large pitcher. Mix well until sugar is dissolved. Chill in refrigerator for an hour before serving. Makes enough for one pitcher.

Recipe from our friends at Little Miss Party Little Miss Party Planner is a boutique party planning service in New York City. Co-founders Seri and Michelle met while working at J. Crew in the early 2000s. Their love for partying, planning, and all of the special details that go into creating a one-of-a-kind event inspired them to start their own business in 2010. They bring creativity, style and their trademark energy to each and every event they produce. Little Miss Party’s work has been widely featured in the NY Post, Hamptons Magazine, Style Me Pretty and Brides Magazine, to name a few.

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All I want for Christmas is 8 solid hours of sleep and a day at the spa!

We asked. Moms answered.

Ellen

“What do you really want for the holidays? Gosh, it is a toss up between someone to clean my house top to bottom, do all my laundry or get me organized.

Emilie

A personal chef that prepares super healthy yet inspired foodie meals & snacks 5 days a week = heaven!

Romy

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To wake up to a fabulous vehicle in my driveway that replaces my decade old, nearly dead, mini-van.

I want my kids to go for a full month or more without bickering, teasing, poking, pushing, testing, prodding, bothering, or annoying each other. Just peaceful, kind, harmonious, gentle, and loving all the time.

I want an unscheduled day to do the things I love - with no interruptions. Topping my list would be reading, working on a scrapbook and getting a long massage. Normally I fit these things into a busy schedule, but a day just for me would be a real gift!

Jessica

Janice

An urban yurt (for my creative woman cave).

Christine

Amy

My wish: to have the house to myself for an entire weekend. Oh, and that weekend needs to start the day after the cleaning lady comes.:)

Jo-Lynne

I want a personal yoga instructor and a standing appointment for a monthly massage.

Nicole


TK Tee Subscription

tud Rose S

D’Orsay Flats

Leota's fall/winter looks are vibrant and versatile - for the champagne brunch or the Christmas Eve dinner you've been waiting to host all year. T h e i r lu x u r i o u s f a b r i c s a n d stunning cuts are your go-to this season.

order ready made or knit your own kit Pavé Chevron Necklace Lil’ Snood Dogg

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you

Make Time for

The Amazingly Beautiful Collection consists of a Facial A.M. day face oil serum and P.M. evening face oil serum, and a body moisturizing serum. Every bottle of Amazingly Beautiful Facial A.M. and P.M. is personalized with the user’s name and makes a unique gift for Christmas or any other occasion!

York Photo has everything you need for the holidays! Wow someone special on your Christmas list with a custom photo creation that brings your cherished memories to life. From festive holiday cards to personalized photobooks, York Photo is your one stop shop for holiday decorating and shopping. Celebrate the season with York Photo.

books you will love

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Heidi Rausch founder, Belabumbum @belabumbum

TSM: What is on your holiday wish list?

Heidi: Cashmere and fancy bath salts. I come from a family of world class snugglers, and bathaholics.

TSM: Do you bake anything special at the holidays?

Heidi: My daughter and I take our cookie decorating very seriously. We make cut outs and stained glass cookies and decorate them for hours. My mom's chocolate chip meringues are my all time favorite holiday cookie, but she still makes them better than I do. :)

TSM: Favorite family holiday tradition?

Heidi: We prepare the Feast of the Seven Fishes for Christmas Eve in honor of our Southern Italian roots. For the last four years my  daughter  has been in the Three Kings performance at a local DC theater and I have been the stage manager. It's always a fun way to end the holidays.

TSM: Best gift you ever gave?

Heidi: When I was growing up, my grandmother and aunts had these awesome gold rams head hoop earrings. Over the years they were lost and the company stopped making them. Last Christmas I found vintage ones for my mom and sister and we are all wearing them again-- it links us together like the wonder twins.

Over the years I have learned to appreciate the darkness of Winter as a chance to celebrate the light--so light a candle, and wear your sparkles! The

Holidays are the time to shine and let goodwill radiate.

TSM: IT gift for kids this year?

Heidi: My 7 year old is getting my collection of Snoopy outfits from when I was a little girl and a new Snoopy plush doll to dress up. I've been saving a box of them for her, and this year they'll be a BIG hit.  I love the Instax smartphone printer for teens. It prints cellphone images out on mini polaroid paper with an old school feel.

TSM: Are you on the nice or naughty list this year?

Heidi: I’m all about Peace, Love & Joy! Who's got time to be naughty?

Heidi Rauch launched Belabumbum with a college friend in 2001. Belabumbum was founded on and continues to operate on the belief that women should be able to afford luxurious, everyday pieces that make them feel beautiful and pampered and that those pieces can be produced in a socially conscious manner. Having launched originally as a women’s intimates line, Belabumbum soon found its niche market as a maternity brand where it continues to grow its wholesale and direct-to-consumer business. 

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From babysitter to BFF…

Gifts for the Gals

for under $30.

Stud pack $29

Horoscope Tote $20

Compact $30

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tee $20

monogram mug $8 Anna Naturals offers the ability to create your own gift basket! Choose three or more items and Anna Naturals will put it together in a cute white box with your choice of decoration along with a handmade gift tag and handwritten message. PLUS it comes with a 5% discount using the code GIFTBOX5 and if you spend $50 or more, they'll double your discount to 10% off with code GIFTBOX10. It's an opportunity to give the perfect, naturalicious present to that expecting friend, new mama, or just anyone who loves a natural, enjoyable product.


For the Man Who Has Everything (But these super cool gifts)

Microsoft Surface Pro 4

This season give a gift that will be talked about! Impress them with a fine art print of campus architecture from the college they love from University Icons. GoPro Hero 4 Session

Apple TV

Tommy John Undershirt

Phantom 3 Quadcopter

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Christmas P

HOTOGRAPHY TIPS Who doesn't love to capture the joy of the holidays, with the traditions, excitement and fantastic Christmas lights? Use the tips below to beautifully capture these moments. Please remember, this time of year is not about capturing the perfect moment while making everyone miserable to do it. Instead, it's about freezing those fleeting moments and then putting your camera down to enjoy them not through the view finder.

1. Christmas Tree Light photo First things first, turn all the lights off. Overhead lighting can affect the color of your image. You know that horrible yellow color you sometimes get in your indoor photos? That is from the indoor lighting. I recommend setting up a tripod to steady your camera. Ask, beg or plead with your children to stand perfectly still. Be sure to turn off the flash. We don't want that. We only want the light from the Christmas tree to illuminate your kiddos' faces. Then take the photo.

2. Christmas morning Open all the windows and turn off the lights. If you have early risers, then yes, feel free to have a lamp on. Stand by the Christmas tree or where the gifts are so you are ready to capture their expression the moment they come into the room. Take photos of their hands opening gifts, of their excitement and don't forget to step back and capture the whole mess that is Christmas morning. Those perfectly imperfect messy images are my favorite.


3. Outdoor lights Looking at Christmas lights in your jammies with hot chocolate is a favorite of ours. However, if you want to capture some of those beautiful light displays you need to go at the right time. Plan on looking at the lights 30 minutes prior to sunset. This allows the sun to set a bit without it being completely dark out. You need a little light in the sky to help keep the house or building bright enough to capture.

4. Decorating the gingerbread house Use your images to tell the story. Capture the small details like the candy in the dish or the icing dripping off the house. Again, open the windows and turn off the overhead lights. Shoot from different angles. It is not crazy for me to stand on a chair to get an above shot of what is going on at the kitchen table. If there is junk on the table that isn't relevant to the story, remove it. Just throw it on the floor out of the frame.Â

Happy clicking!

BY: Courtney Slazinik Courtney is the driving force behind, Click it Up a Notch, a Huffington Post Top 5 Blogs for momtographers. A former teacher who got into photography to capture her beautiful family, she is eager to share what she has learned over the past 6 years and open the doors to photography for other moms.

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photo credit: Party Bluprints

Holiday French Toast Ingredients

with Blueberry Lemon Coulis Instructions

1. Prepare coulis: add blueberries, lemon juice and sugar to a non-stick saucepan and stir, drop in cinnamon stick. Heat on low-medium heat for 20-30 minutes, stirring intermittently until mixture starts to thicken. Remove from heat and allow to set. 2. Preheat large non-stick pan or griddle on French Toast 1/2 loaf challah bread (sliced into 1 ¼” – 1 ½” pieces) medium heat. 3. Add eggs, milk and cinnamon to a glass pie 4 eggs 1/4 cup whole milk dish, whisk until thoroughly incorporated. 4. Dip bread slices one at a time into egg 1/2 tsp cinnamon Confectioners sugar mixture, making sure to coat both sides well. 5. Place coated bread slices on greased pan and Syrup cook until both sides are golden brown. 6. Top with blueberry lemon coulis, sprinkle with confectioners sugar and serve with syrup. Blueberry Lemon Coulis 1 cup frozen blueberries, thawed and drained 1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice ¼ cup sugar 1 cinnamon stick

Dawn Sandomeno and Elizabeth Mascali are Lifestyle & Entertaining Experts and Authors. Their mission is to share simple and special entertaining ideas. And their motto? There’s no place like home for a party. Find them on The Party Bluprints Blog.


Carly Dorogi Sticky bellies founder, @stickybellies

TSM: What is on your holiday wish list? Carly: A good night's sleep and jewelry roll for when I travel. I'm also a sucker for those cute handmade gifts my kids always do at school and can't wait to see what they'll do this year!

TSM: Favorite family holiday tradition?

Carly: Totally predictable answer but I love Christmas morning. Our girls open their presents/ stockings at our house as soon as they wake up and then we immediately head  over to their  cousins' house (still in our jammies) for more gifts and family time. My brother-in-law makes omelets and we all just hang out and watch the kids enjoying the fun of the season.  Another favorite tradition is singing Christmas Carols at a nearby retirement facility.  We go with a large group of friends and the smiles that our off-key singing brings are just priceless. The residents LOVE seeing the kids and getting lots of hugs after the singing. It's pretty adorable and a great way to spread holiday cheer.

TSM: Best gift you ever gave?

Carly: My younger daughter always asks "Santa" for something she's created out of her imagination that usually doesn't actually exist in real life. Last year she asked for "purple star shoes." I felt like I hit the jackpot when I found some adorable Pediped purple suede Mary Janes with silver stars on the toes. Every year it's a challenge to make her wish come true. I haven't been stumped...yet.

TSM: Real or fake tree?

Carly: Fake. I love real trees but our crazy December travel schedule means practicality wins over beauty.

TSM: Are you on the nice or naughty list this year?

Carly: I sure hope I'm on the nice list! I try to make everyone I meet just a little bit happier than they were before. A little kindness can go a long way, especially during the hectic holiday season. Slow down. Smile. Say thanks. 

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FOREST FLURRY HOLIDAY CARD BY LAURA HANKINS FOR MINTED.

Profile for The Shopping Mama

Momtrends & The Shopping Mama Holiday Gift Guide 2015  

The ultimate Holiday Gift Guide from the editors of Momtrends & The Shopping Mama. In addition to hundreds of hand-picked gift ideas, the Ho...

Momtrends & The Shopping Mama Holiday Gift Guide 2015  

The ultimate Holiday Gift Guide from the editors of Momtrends & The Shopping Mama. In addition to hundreds of hand-picked gift ideas, the Ho...

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