I'd just gotten back from a trip down to D.C. when my boss asked me to attend a training at Real Job's offices in NYC. Without even unpacking, I booked my next hotel, and since I thrive on deadlines, I also scheduled Anna's birthday party with friends for just a few hours after I'd arrive back home. Sometimes it's like I'm new here.
In the midst of working and listening to repeated presentations of Anna's wishlist during the weeks between D.C. and New York, a rep named Taylor from the PR firm for Kid Made Modern emailed me. I don't know if it's the season or what, but I'd seen an escalation in the number of crappy pitches sent to my inbox, including two addressing me by a completely different name — by the way Rachel, someone's looking for you. Taylor wanted to send me a few Kid Made Modern creative kits, and mentioned that the brand is the brainchild of fashion icon/dog adopter/photographer/author/entrepreneur Todd Oldham and his partner Tony Longoria. I got a million warm fuzzies remembering Todd, his connection to a time when supermodels were distinguishable, George Michael released the Freedom '90 video and all was right in the world except my hair.
I started browsing the many kits, grateful to have a couple of little bonus presents for Anna that I wouldn't have to shop for. Taylor emailed me again, asking if I was near Manhattan for a studio tour.
I said I thought my training schedule would be too tight while simultaneously online-ordering Dominos delivery for the party I scheduled to take place the minute I'd pull back into my driveway.
"Let us know if anything changes. Todd himself would give you the studio tour."
I spent the next week trying to figure out what to wear, how many hours I could skip sleeping and still function at my training session, and practicing acting like a totally normal but sophisticated but not too excited but definitely a fan but not a stalker who spent my entire 20s trying to figure out how to be Cindy Crawford. I also wondered how many cocktails it would be appropriate to order at the dinner Todd and Tony would surely invite me to after the tour.
I should tell you about the kits though. They're so clever. Each collection has a box or pouch or case, meaning that cleaning up after your kids is a little easier because no matter what some sanctimonious Facebook rando tells you, kids never clean up after themselves right. Everything is hands-on, and every activity is covered. There are comic books, journals, weaving, duct tape projects, crayons, felt, even a ukulele; there is blessedly no slime! Tony mentioned that parents of children with autism appreciated the Gem Jackpot crayons because their unique shapes mean there's no "correct" way to hold them.
Tony and Todd are so smart about these creations, so enthusiastic to share them and thrilled with the outcome of their hard work. There are great ideas in these boxes, and thought went into every single detail, including the decision to keep their names off of the very minimal packaging.
My whole trip to New York, including my day-long training, was a great way to start spring. The hour or so I spent with Tony, getting to meet Todd, having the man himself ask how many party favors I'd need for Anna's friends and alleviating my guilt about serving Dominos after returning from the pizza capital of the country (don't even try) were surely highlights. But even if I hadn't been able to go I'd want you to know about these kits, because they are brilliant. And since I'm not the kind of gal to brag about stuff without sharing, I have a couple things for you, too.
I'm giving away two of the On-the-Go Coloring Kits. Leave one comment on the Facebook post and I'll choose two readers using the scientific method where I have my 9-year-old shout out random numbers at me. Winners' names will be tagged Thursday at 8 a.m. ET. Good luck!