Build-A-Bear Workshop Opens in FAO Schwarz in NYC!

Last Friday, my sister and I headed downtown to the newly opened Build-A-Bear Workshop at FAO Schwarz. I’ve actually never been to a Build-A-Bear before, so it was pretty exciting for me!

Build-A-Bear Workshop in FAO Schwartz in NYC

The Build-A-Bear Workshop in the FAO Schwarz store is actually their very first store-within-a-store, and is the only one in the US right now. Jules and I arrived early, before the ribbon cutting ceremony (check out pics from the ceremony here!) and were able to go through the complete experience.

Building a Bear

I love how interactive the whole experience was, and I feel like having the Workshop inside the legendary FAO Schwarz store adds a whole other layer of fun and really makes it a NYC destination experience not to be missed!

A Bear Named Sally

Jules ended up creating her very first Build-A-Bear, which she named Sally. She was able to add fun characteristics to Sally’s heart – for instance, she’s smart, strong, and loyal. Sally also has a beating heart and plays “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun” whenever Jules squeezes her left arm.

I really love how Build-A-Bear included a lot of NYC themed exclusive animals and accessories!

NYC Build-A-Bear Workshop

I’m definitely planning on making my own Thor bear – although I’d definitely like to see a Loki costume too!

Thor Build-A-Bear

We love the new Build-A-Bear store and are already planning a return!

The Creativity Comeback with Creative Can!

Did you know that children’s creativity test scores have been declining since 1990? A study of Torrance Tests of Creative Thinking has measured a steady decline in creativity and we could be facing a creativity crisis. To combat lack of creativity, Creativity for Kids  has introduced the Creativity Can. What it is is relatively simple, it’s a free program designed to put simple materials into the hands of children and challenge them to imagine, create, and share.

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I love the idea of the Creativity Can – and recently I put Jules to create something magnificent and creative with a Creativity Can of her own! Here’s what she created:

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It’s Rembrandt! We went to the MET about a year ago to see a special exhibit featuring Rembrandt and his works – and this is what she masterfully pulled together.

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I think it bares a startling resemblance, lol!

CreativityCan

To check out the Creativity Can program, click here. To find out where the closest participating retailer is click here.

I think programs like the Creativity Can have a lot of potential – and I feel like encouraging creativity and using kinetic learning is a worthwhile goal. However I did notice that while I was searching for Creativity Can distributors in the NYC area, the distributors existed primarily in more affluent neighborhoods, as opposed to the areas of higher need. I would recommend that Creativity Can would extend their program to more areas – I feel like such a wonderful program could really be beneficial to many children who lack creative stimulation.

* Update: Creativity for Kids has let me know that Creativity for Kids is using its existing channels of specialty toy retailers to distribute the free can and that no purchase is necessary. This effort is just the first prong of a multi-year campaign to raise awareness about the drop in creativity, encourage a national discussion and search for a solution. Creativity for Kids is looking to further expand this effort.

#WorldsLargestBakeSale with Sandra Lee hits NYC! #cbias

Content Disclosure

This past Wednesday I headed out to support No Kid Hungry and the Food Bank of New York City at Sandra Lee’s (Food Network) World’s Largest Bake Sale! The bake sale was being held in Vanderbilt Hall in Grand Central, and featured a slew of celebrity guests as well as about 30 of NYC’s finest restaurants and confectioneries  I knew it was going to be a hit, but I was totally unprepared for the crowds of people waiting to get their hands on some treats!

Worlds Largest Bake Sale NYC

The lined looked pretty daunting, but as in NYC, things moved surprisingly fast. You had to get stamped to get in, and every item being sold was $5 each – with proceeds going to the No Kid Hungry campaign and the Food Bank of NYC.

Worlds Largest Bake Sale NYC

Fat Witch Brownies and Guy’s American Kitchen and Bar were present!

You guys know I’m already a massive fan of Fat Witch brownies, so I was more than eager to get my hands on some. For $5 Fat Witch had a stack of three mini brownies wrapped prettily up in cellophane and ribbon.

Worlds Largest Bake Sale NYC

I also got my hands on both a passion fruit cupcake and a champagne cupcake – it was super crowded so I was thankful for the spill-proof packaging.

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My favorite purchase was probably the caramel s’more tartlette from River Cafe – it was so pretty, totally worth every penny, and tasted so good! I feel like this event was not just a great cause, but it also was such great publicity for all the restaurants involved – I’ve discovered so many great places, and am determined to at least take my mom to the The River Cafe!

Worlds Largest Bake Sale New York City

Many of my family members have altruistic professions, and my mom brought me up believing that you absolutely must give back. I love to volunteer and donate regularly – so helping to support a worthwhile cause like that of No Kid Hungry and the Food Bank of New York City – which is to combat childhood hunger – was a no-brainer, especially when all I had to do to show my support was to purchase loads of sweet treats, lol!

At the Worlds Largest Bake Sale I ended up spending $45 on everything from cupcakes to macarons and brownies. While that may seem like a small contribution, $5 is equivalent to 50 meals, and in a country where an estimated 16 million children go to bed hungry every night – even our smallest efforts can make a difference.

I loved how many fellow NY’ers turned up to support No Kid Hungry, now you can show your support too! From now until May 31st, Kmart will donate $1.00 to Bake Sale for No Kid Hungry (up to $10,000) every time you spread the word on Facebook and Twitter, or share a Sandra Lee recipe card with friends and family.

To find out more about how Kmart and Shop Your Way are supporting the Bake Sale for No Kid Hungry, check out the links below:

*I am a member of the Collective Bias®  Social Fabric® Community.  This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for Collective Bias®  and Kmart and Shop Your Way for Sandra Lee’s World’s Largest Bake Sale.  #WorldsLargestBakeSale #cbias #SocialFabric

Playing Football on Top of the World and Making it Epic : My Zamzee Review

This summer the whole family has spent a boatload of time being active outdoors. But getting out and about while the sun is blazing is never an easy task. In fact, most kids (and adults) would prefer to spend their time chilling in a room being blasted with air conditioner. But to get the kids- and by kids I mean my awesome younger sibs who will be hereafter known as Juliet and Shawn- excited about moving I turned to Zamzee!

What is Zamzee? The Zamzee is a meter that measures physical activity, and works with the website to monitor and provide kids with an interactive online experience that makes moving a fun and rewarding activity. Which basically means that your kids (or nieces, nephews, younger siblings, etc.) get a meter, join the Zamzee website, create a profile and avatar, wear their meter, track their progress, and can actually earn rewards towards cool prizes!

Juliet and Shawn were really excited about their Zamzee’s- and had a blast creating their avatar’s. Minutes after opening the package, we had their accounts successfully set up and their Zamzee’s fully running- which I was really pleased about. If you’ve ever struggled with removing a Barbie from her box on Christmas morning, or pulled out your hair over complicated packaging, start-up instructions, or a million get started steps, then you can understand how invaluable a really easy seamless set up is.

I really wish I had one of these as a kid! Juliet and Shawn insist all the time now for me to take them out to the library or park, and to sign them up for challenges, and upload their Zamz. They are determined to score something really cool from the Zamz store!

Zamzee was established in 2010 by HopeLab, a nonprofit research organization that uses the power and appeal of technology to improve the health of kids. The goal for Zamzee was to create a profitable business, while also achieving their social mission of getting kids and families moving more. Zamzee targets an audience of kids mainly between the ages of 9 to 15 – that rough spot where physical activity begins to decline, and kids are forming lifelong habits.

Click the image above for access to my Zamzee Britely book!

I really admire the idea of a company whose product is designed around an admirable social goal. I’ve found that the Zamzee’s appeal to the competitive and fun-seeking nature of kids. They want to run more, they want to go out, and they want to work towards their own goals. Here’s what Shawn and Juliet had to say about the Zamzee meters:

Juliet:

“I liked it because I got to customize my avatar, and when I exercise I’m working towards getting something. I also like that you can get awards and become “friends” with other kids on the Zamzee site- what can I say? I’m a social butterfly!”

Shawn:

“I like the rewards, it gives you something to work towards. I also like making Whamz whenever I upload my points- you can make really cool ones like ‘Football on top of the world and making it epic’.”

The Zamzee is definitely the most favorite accessory in my home right now. I would definitely recommend as a birthday, or Christmas present, or even as a tool to start getting your kids excited about moving!

For more information about the Zamzee, their history, and how it works – click here! You can also follow them on facebook or twitter. If you have any questions about the Zamzee or our experience with the Zamzee- feel free to leave a comment below, I promise I’ll answer ASAP!

Update: The super kind folks at Zamzee are now offering a discount code to my readers (that’s you!) that will take 25% off your Zamzee purchase on the website! Just use the code “LUVZZ2012″ at checkout!

*Disclaimer: I received two Zamzee’s to review. No other compensation was provided. My opinions are always my own, if I didn’t love it I would blog about it – for more info on that check out my PR tab above. Thank you!