Have you guys finished your holiday gift shopping? Since so many of you have been asking what our current favorite things are, I thought I’d post them here to give you some gift ideas! Most of these items are favorite things of Joey who is currently almost 20 months old. I’ve also added a couple things for parents. 🙂
NAPTIME WITH JOEY BOOK:
I mean, c’mon. I have to throw this one in there because it’s kiiinda my book haha! No but actually I’ve been hearing they’ve been great gifts for expecting parents, grandparents, kids (they love the pictures and playing I-spy with them) and also for white elephant gift exchanges. You can buy them at most bookstores worldwide as well as through the links below:
OK, who wouldn’t want this? Joey LOVES music and singing so this was such a great thing to have especially when we went camping recently and she entertained everyone with Bruno Mars songs. Allen and I are big karaoke fans so it’s only natural that Joey inherited the same passion as well.
This toy was incredibly entertaining for Joey especially right after she turned one. We would take it everywhere (we still do!) on long car rides and airplane trips. These days, she been able to actually put the buckles together by color when she wasn’t able to do that. What I do from time to time is hide the toy for about a month and then bring it back so that it’s kinda like “new” to her again. I’ve watched her play with it in the car for about 20 minutes straight once! Trust me, if you’re looking for a “helpful” kid-friendly gift to give, GIVE THIS TOY.
UNCLE PAULS’ PLAYDESK: (for those who live in Southern California only)
I asked our dear friend who can build all kinds of amazing wooden structures to make us a play desk for Joey. This is what we came up with! There’s a magnetic board on it as well as a little cubby hole. The great thing about this is you can add whatever you want to it. Lately Joey loves to color with crayons so we just set up her paper and crayons on this desk so she could mark it up any way she wants. You can read my other blog post about how to order one by clicking here.
Joey loves watching me put on makeup and when she started reaching for my brushes and wanting to play with my makeup, I looked up pretend makeup toys and found this. I got it for our flight to San Francisco and it entertained her for a good 30 minutes! Some of my friends said that they bought it for their toddler for trips as well and that they it was the perfect entertainment for their kids too!
So many of you have asked about these flashcards that we’ve been going thru with Joey every day. We love them! What I love about these are the pictures are very simple and clear to identify. It says that it is from ages 1 and up but we started around 15 months because she was still chewing on everything. Mudpuppy who makes these cards also make other things like puzzles which Joey also loves to play with and also other types of cards.
I can’t say enough how much I love our Nugget Comfort. We have a play room for Joey where she likes to play with her toys, read books and lounge around and we had been looking for something just like this Nugget Comfort. It’s not only super comfortable to sit and lay on, you can move it around as it comes in four pieces. If you go to their website, you can see all the different ways you can set it up.
Joey is so interested in markers, crayons and pens but the bad thing about that is she obviously doesn’t know how to color in between lines and so it goes everywhere! She recently marked up our leather couch with a Sharpie! One of our dear fans gave us this at one of our book signings and Joey has been loving it. Best thing about it is, there is no ink involved. Only water! This was also something we brought with us on air plane rides and also when we go on playdates to someone’s house. The way it works is you fill the pen with water and you start coloring the pages and the drawings magically appear!
We have several of these now because we realized Joey can sit for a pretty long time by herself just putting these puzzles together. I couldn’t believe how quickly she learned how to put it together on her own without my help. It’s pretty amazing how kids absorb so much knowledge so quickly on their own. We love gifting this to our friends who have kids because it’s not messy or hard to clean up. I think it totally beats iPad sorting games!
This gift is obviously for the mamas and the papas. This is my go-to camera for all video related things. If you’ve seen the recent “Banana Talk” video on my Instagram, that was shot with this camera. I love that it auto-focuses and that it has a flip screen so that you can record in selfie-mode. This also has wi-fi tethering so that you can download the images and videos you shot right on your phone! This would make a great gift to someone who loves to take photos and videos all the time but don’t want to carry a big dSLR around all the time.
If you’ve been following my posts Instagram, you’ll know that I LOVE Easter Ahn’s jewelry line. I wear my custom Joey necklace, bracelet and earrings everyday. She also designed our wedding rings. I’m obviously a big fan of her work. Her pieces make the perfect gifts for your loved ones because they’re high quality real gold (comes in White, Yellow and Rose), they’ll last forever and you can personalize them with a name or initial(s)! Easter also does custom designs for all types of jewelry and can create gorgeous engagement/wedding rings.
We now have a YouTube Channel! Now you see follow more of our family’s journey through weekly vlogs. If there’s anything you’d like to see us vlog about, let us know in the comments below! We’re kicking it off with Joey’s First Birthday Cake Smash and Doljabi. If you haven’t already and wanted to check it out, Joey’s First Birthday party blog post is up! Traditionally in Korean culture, the first birthday is a big celebration because before access to medical care was readily available in Korea many many years ago, it was a big deal for a baby to live past his or her first birthday. Hence the big celebration. Since Joey is mostly Korean, we decided to keep this part of her heritage included in her birthday party. We set up a doljabi which is a Korean tradition where the birthday child is placed in front of various objects that represents a certain future with respect to career or lifestyle. Typically the items represent things like Doctor, Lawyer, Scholar, Entrepreneur, Judge, Athlete or Performing Artist. We decided to pick unique occupations that were sort of inside jokes to me and Allen. Obviously this game is just a tradition and isn’t what Joey will end up becoming but we decided to keep the tradition but change it up a bit just to make it fun. We had a planet toy to represent Astronaut, an In-N-Out hat to represent the In-N-Out District Manager, grapes to represent Sommelier, dining utensils to represent Michelin Star Food Critic and an American flag to represent POTUS. She ended up picking the grapes first and then continued to pick up every one of the other items so I guess she’ll tackle all of those jobs?? 😉 Her cake smash wasn’t so much of a smash as it was a gentle massage of the dessert. She was so tired and out of it by that point of the party but she was such a trooper and stuck her hands in there and soaked in the moment. So fun to see her first bite of sugar! Thank you Uncle Paul for this video footage!
Allen and I have flown on Alaska Airlines quite a bit in the past because we live on the west coat and travel quite often up north and since we’ve only had good experiences on their flights, we decided book our flights with them when we took Joey on her first airplane ride when she was around 6 months old to Portland. We were really nervous about how she would do on the plane as any first time parent would. We had heard that it was best to take babies on plane trips from age 4 months to 6 months because they would most likely just sleep through the plane ride but the only time Allen got off work was when she was 6 months old so we decided to try it out. Turns out she’s born to fly! Alaska was so great about accommodating us with getting us on the plane first to unload and get ready. I nursed Joey during take off so that her ears wouldn’t pop with the altitude change and then she slept pretty much the whole way to Portland from Los Angeles. We were so happy! The plane ride back home was exactly the same way. We’ll never forget how sweet everyone was on Alaska Airlines and how quickly they offered to help us with our carry on luggage and didn’t make us feel like we had to rush.
So when Alaska Airlines contacted me to see if I would help them share about their new Elite Leave program for new parents and also dress Joey up as an Alaska Airlines pilot, I was more than happy to! Their Elite Leave lets new parents keep their elite status Mileage Plan™ benefits earned for another year. If you’re a new parent who’s a frequent flyer with Alaska Airlines, you can extend your status through the end of 2018 while you’re on parental leave! The idea first took hold when a frequent flyer reached out to Alaska because she’d just had a baby and was upset about potentially losing her MVP status. When the request made its way to Alaska’s leaders, they decided to implement this parental leave program. How awesome is that?
We are so overwhelmed at how amazing Joey’s first birthday party turned out. It wouldn’t have been possible if it weren’t for these amazing friends & vendors who generously contributed to this party out of just love for Joey. Wow, we thank you from the bottom of our hearts (and our bellies!).
A SPECIAL shoutout to Rekindle Creative Co. and Julia who runs the incredible team. They were were responsible for putting together every single detail including florals, decor, planning & coordinating. You ladies ROCK! Check out more of their work at rekindlecreative.com.
Another BIG UPSto Wayfare for hosting this party at their beautiful coworking space. This venue was just perfect! Thank you guys!
In Korean culture, the first birthday of a child is celebrated in a big way because long ago before medicine wasreadily accessible, many babies didn’t make it past their first year due to diseases. So when a baby turned one, it was a joyous occasion. The tradition stuck and so the first birthday (aka Doljanchi) is celebrated in this big way. There’s no way I can do this every year haha!
Doljabi is a Korean tradition where the birthday child is placed in front of various objects that represents a certain future with respect to career or lifestyle. Typically the items represent things like Doctor, Lawyer, Scholar, Entrepreneur, Judge, Athlete or Performing Artist. We decided to pick unique occupations that were sort of inside jokes to me and Allen. Obviously this game is just a tradition and isn’t what Joey will end up becoming but we decided to keep the tradition but change it up a bit to make it fun. We had a planet toy to represent Astronaut, an In-N-Out hat to represent the In-N-Out District Manager, grapes to represent Sommelier, dining utensils to represent Michelin Star Food Critic and an American flag to represent POTUS.
Any guesses on what she picked?
Guests were given raffle tickets to place into the bucket of their choice. Joey picked the winning ticket and the winner received my favorite tote bag made by my friend Eunie. You can buy it here. Scroll down to see which item Joey picked!
I couldn’t believe my eyes when I walked in and saw this. The backdrop was designed by Rekindle Creative Co. and built by Outsource It. Outsource It can design, built and install incredible woodwork. Check out their Instagram for more of their work here.
The venue came with tables which we used so we just rented white folding chairs from Create-A-Party Rentals. We decided to buy the table linens because they ended up being cheaper than renting them. I love throwing parties so I figured why not just buy them? Here’s the link to where I bought them.
We had a kid station with a color-in-playhouse which we also had at our wedding. Julia included some Minted artwork on the wall and a baby ball pit by Scandiborn. She also created a photo booth wall with a beautiful cactus wallpaper by Anewall. Click here to see more gorgeous wallpaper.
Balloon installation was done by Wild Child Party. How awesome is that?? If it were me, I would be popping them every minute putting it together and then I would give up. Luckily there’s talented people like Wild Child Party who can do it so perfectly. Check out more of their balloon installations here.
Okay so can we talk about this incredible front table for a minute?
Desserts were made by Merely Sweets who also made my wedding cake. These cakes were the same as the one at my wedding which is the Merry Berry Cake, my FAVORITE at Merely Sweets. They make everything from cakes to french macarons to cupcakes and even cake pops. If you’re in the Brea area, check their brick & mortar out here. You have to try their banana pudding! Here’s some more delicious eye candy for you.
In lieu of gifts, we asked for gift donations to the children of Olive Crest, a foster care and adoption agency based in the West Coast area. They are dedicated to preventing child abuse, treating and educating at-risk children and preserving the family. They are able to continue their work through donations and so this was the least we could do to show our support. California has the highest number of children in the foster care system in this country. Everyone can help and support even if you can’t foster or adopt a child. To learn more about how you can help, visit OliveCrest.org.
Rekindle Design had these beautiful custom logo signs made for our vendors.
Every party needs a little caffeine don’t you think? Especially if you’re a parent! We had En Route Coffee Co. come with their beautiful mobile coffee cart to serve us gourmet coffee all day. To book them for your event, visit their website at enroutecoffeeco.com or their Instagram. Thank you Eric & Hanna!
PopdUp+ served their delicious and unique seasonal iced drinks: Strawberry Shiso, Hibiscus Agave, Thyme Orange and Gooseberry Marigold. It was such a hot day so it was such a treat to have PopdUp+ there. We first found out about them at the LA Smorgasburg and fell in love with their drinks. You can find them there every Sunday at 10:30 AM – 6:00 PM. Go check them out!
Amazing right?? Amaze Bowls came and served us their beautiful and delicious acai bowls as an alternative healthy dessert option. I couldn’t stop staring at how beautiful the coconut bowls were. If you’re looking for them to cater your event, visit their page here. You can also find them at the LA Smorgasburg every Sunday.
Of course, we had to have In-N-Out. We only eat it like every other week.
We had the most amazing balloon artist and face painter for the kids attending. I’ve never seen anyone make balloon art as well as David makes them! If you want to book them, contact David Laura at eliteentco123[at]gmail.com.
We want to say thank you so much to all of our friends and family who have loved on our family, especially this past year, during Joey’s first year. It’s been such a rollercoaster of a year and we’re so thankful that we have such a supportive community. It really does take a village! Thank you also to our amazing vendors who generously donated your services to make this party happen. We don’t know how to thank you enough.
What a year it’s been. We blinked and then Joey turned 1. Allen and I are so humbled and truly grateful to be first-time parents and we thank God for every moment we have with each other, especially with Joey. Our words can’t even express just how much we love Joey and we pray that with all the love that she’s received, Joey will grow to extend that love forward and be even more generous, kind and gracious than those who have been for her and our family.
If you’ve seen the videos of Joey on Instagram and Facebook, you’ll know that Joey is such a curious gal these days, getting her hands on anything she can grab! And while she loves to play with her traditional toys, I thought it would be fun to get creative with some materials we had around the house. She already loves to go in the kitchen and pull down my hanging kitchen towels so I decided to go with fabric for this sensory activity.
I brought out a bunch of leftover fabric I had from her costumes for her to touch and feel. There were different textures from rough denim to soft cotton and scratchy sequin. Watching her notice the different colors, materials, and patterns on each piece of fabric was really entertaining. It was great to see her grab at the fabric, practicing her fine motor skills and strengthening her itty bitty hands. It seemed Jo loved the shiny sequin the most. 🙂
I loved how simple this sensory activity was. I forget how exciting it can be for babies to feel different textures because it’s all so new to them! This will definitely be an exercise to keep continuing with Jo!
Joey is eating more solids and purees these days and she’s been such a champ! One of her favorites lately is the spinach puree. We love that spinach is high in antioxidants, vitamins and minerals. It’s so simple and easy to prepare!
First, I wash the spinach and place it in the steamer in a pot of boiling water and cover with a lid. Depending on the portion size, I leave it steaming for about 5-7 minutes or when the spinach is tender and still vibrant in color. Once it’s ready, I add the steamed spinach in a cup or jar (Tip: Use a tall jar to avoid splashing), and use my immersion blender to puree the greens.
I’ve mentioned this before on my Instagram Stories, but the immersion blender is awesome for making purees! I know there are awesome products that both steam and puree foods all in one machine but for me, I wanted minimal cleaning and easy storage so the immersion blender worked for us. I don’t always use the blender however when I’m only making a tiny portion. After steaming, the spinach is so easy to chop up with a knife so I do that sometimes when I’m not making a larger batch to freeze.
Once the spinach is cool, it’s time to eat!
We are blessed that Joey is such a good eater and enjoys each meal time. She was all smiles and giggles eating her spinach puree! I hope this post inspires you to try new foods and flavors with your little one!
Throw the confetti and bring me some cake cuz the blog is finally live! YESSSSS. A very special thanks goes out to Madeleine over at The Daily Mark for setting this up for me. You are amazing Madeleine and congratulations on your babyyyy!
I’ve never really been the blogger-type but as I’ve been receiving so much mail from our fans, it’s been motivating me to get this going so I can connect with everyone. The blog will act as a journal with updates of what our family is up to as well as a place I can post about things I love and are inspired by. It’s been difficult keeping up with all of the fan mail everyday and replying back so I’ll be also using this blog to cover questions and topics that come up frequently.
So with that, here’s the first post! Like almost all mothers in America, I wanted to take Joey to a pumpkin patch this fall. Seriously though, what is it with mothers and pumpkin patches? UH EVERYTHING. After watching Joey get so excited about touching hay and feeling the different pumpkins around, I want to do this everyday! Man, I love October. I posted about the Miamily hipster carrier on Instagram the other day and I have to say, I love it. There was some concern about it being ergonomically safe and it totally is safe! It comes with a hip seat that supports the hips so that the legs aren’t just dangling. My favorite part about it is taking the top part off so that Joey can literally just sit on it like a chair and just explore her surroundings. We’ll most likely take it with us while trick-or-treating this year!
Joey’s Halloween costume is pretty much set but Allen and I still have to figure out ours! Stay tuned for pictures!
Location: Mr. Bones Pumpkin Patch | Baby Carrier: Miamily Hipster Plus 3D Carrier | My hat: Wallaroo Hats | Joey’s bonnet: Petite Soul | Joey’s dress: H&M | Joey’s moccasins: Freshly Picked | My denim jacket: Forever 21 | My romper: Urban Outfitters | Booties: Madewell | Joey’s age: 6 months, 4 days
About Laura Iz
Hi, I'm Laura Izumikawa. I'm a stay-at-home-working-mama to Joey and wife to the funniest guy I know. My photos of my napping daughter dressed up as pop culture icons became viral one day and now I blog about our lives because it turns out, people want to know more about us which is totally crazy to me! Thanks for visiting!
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