Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Make it Personal with Hopscotch Tees

My boys are really into anything personalized right now. So I was excited to come across Hopscotch tees, which takes personalization to a whole new level.

Seattle mom and designer, Shana Perrina, has created an awesome collection of boys' tees that can be personalized with not only your son's name, but his town and even the year he was born! So even if you live in, say, a nondescript suburb like we do, having the name on a shirt will make it seem like a pretty fab place.

Our favorite is the Roboman, left, ($22-27 depending on size and sleeve length) but we also love the Tackle Shop tee. Hopscotch tees are available in infant sizes (the perfect baby shower gift!) up to adult!

Hopscotch tees are 100 percent cotton & made in the U.S. My unboring boy adores his RobomanNick shirt and wears it all the time. It washes up great, and it never fails to get a reaction when we're out and about. The shirts do run small, so I would order a size up to make sure it won't be outgrown for a while, since it will definitely become a favorite.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Just in Time for Warm Weather Adventures: Messenger Bags from Meeabee

If your boys are like mine, we can't leave the house without pockets-full of special toys and treasures, which invariably get lost between the car seats or left behind somewhere. That's why I just fell in love with these messenger bags from Meeabee. Not only are they practical and perfectly sized for little kids 3-5, they are an unboring alternative to backpacks!

Designer Jacqui has boys of her own (ages 3 & 8), so she carries an awesome collection of bags in boy-friendly prints like flags of the world and Beetle-bug cars ($30 each).

When I found out that Jacqui lived in Japan (she ships worldwide), I had to ask her what boys' fashion is like there. Read my interview below, plus find out how you can win one of her fabulous messenger bags!

Unboring Boys: What inspired you to start making children's messenger bags?

Jacqui: I wanted to do something creative and to start a small business. I looked at a few ideas and with the support of my blog readers I started sewing. I looked at the resources I have available to me here in Japan. Fabric was one. Then I looked at Etsy and thought there was a gap in the market for cute bags for kids. The messenger bag was one of my early designs since I wanted to make sure I always had plenty for cool boys. It's evolved into my best-selling item for both boys and girls. I LOVE making them!

Unboring Boys: How do you go about choosing certain fabrics, colors and prints?

Jacqui: I read a lot of online blogs and magazines to keep up with trends in fashion. When I see fabric I love, I buy it. Subconsciously it often fits in with the themes I have been seeing in fashion. Usually I just buy what I have a knee-jerk reaction to - luckily people seem to like my taste! Sometimes I hit the nail on the head. This was the case with an orange and green robot fabric which became my most popular and most-requested design. I knew that orange was predicted to be big that year from reading the Pantone Color Trend Report.

Unboring Boys: What are the current clothes styles and trends for boys in Japan? What brands or looks seem to be hot right now?

Jacqui: Fashion in Japan takes a lot of getting used to. We live in a small city about an hour out of town so it's hardly the epicentre of fashion. I personally find the styles to be very busy with a lot of writing and embellishment on them. The "mini-me" look is popular - dressing your kids in the same style as the parents. In Japan that's called "pair-look". Being winter we are seeing a lot of skinny jeans and black denim; boots are popular as are newspaper boy hats. The rock star look seems to be quite popular.

Unboring Boys: Here in America, the emphasis is on girls’ fashion. Parents don't spend nearly as much on boys' clothes as they do on girls' clothes. Is it the same in Japan?

Jacqui: I think that's probably the case here in Japan as well! However, the Japanese seem to like designer clothing so it's possible they've spent a lot more than you'd think.

Unboring Boys: What are you doing when you are not designing and sewing?

Jacqui: I do most of my designing and sewing late at night. One of my boys is still home with me every day (he's three) so I spend most of my days playing with him, doing housework, the usual mum stuff. My business can be all consuming and I decided I needed some balance. I joined the gym last year and now swim or do aquarobics three or four times a week. It does wonders for my mind and gives me such a lot of energy. It also counteracts the effects of all the baking I do for my home-based English conversation class.

Thanks Jacqui for taking the time to answer my questions! Just for Unboring Boys: We are giving away one boys messenger bag (winner's choice!) from Meeabee to one lucky reader! Just browse Meeabee's Etsy shop and e-mail with MEEABEE in the subject line and tell us which style you would choose should you win. Get extra entries for becoming a fan of Meeabee on Facebook at, leaving a comment below, subscribing to Unboring Boys, or following us on Twitter. We'll pick one lucky Unboring Boys reader at random April 21st. Open to anyone! Good luck!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Unboring Boys supports

Life is funny sometimes. Before I had kids, I worked at a national women's organization that focused on issues affecting women and girls--like the fact that there are way more male engineers than female engineers, and that not enough girls enroll in higher level math and science courses in school. Then I had boys. Even though, as a woman, I was still concerned about girls' issues, as a mom of two boys, I became aware of issues impacting their gender. There are far more boys than girls in special education classes, for example. Too many boys drop out of school. And boys are more likely to struggle with reading.

Reading is one of my favorite things to do, and so far, Nick and Henry enjoy it, too. My hope is that they will continue to love reading as adults, because I firmly believe that readers go far in life. So I want to take time this week to feature whose mission is to "transform boys into lifelong readers."

If you're looking for ways to encourage your little man to read more, is a great starting point. Their site offers a wealth of resources and ideas to encourage a love of reading, such as starting Reading Tribes (basically book clubs for boys) and using graphic novels to get older boys interested. It also has lists of suggested authors and titles--organized by grade level, that boys might enjoy, along with articles, a blog, an awesome logo tee (scroll to the bottom of the store page), sections devoted to writing, and TONS of useful links.