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Curbing Summer Boredom For Kids

July 18, 2016

Summer vacation is having it’s last gasp, and you’re starting to hear those dreaded words from your kiddos: “I’m boooored.” Before you threaten to put them to work scrubbing toilets, inspire their summer play with this bag of tricks.


Stuck inside on a rainy day? Assemble a good old-fashioned fort with chairs, pillows and blankets. Or set up a ready-made teepee and play a card or board game inside.

>>Canvas Teepee, $59.99

>>Finding Dory Guess Who, $16.99

>>Shopkins UNO Game, $5.99


Channel your artsy side with sidewalk murals. Encourage your kiddos to draw out your hometown or a garden in bloom, or to sketch their own waterpark or roller coaster. Or channel your competitive side by drawing hopscotch, four square or tic-tac-toe.

>>2 Holder Frozen Chalk Set, $2.49


When temps are soaring, head outside and cool down with water toys. Launchers and rapid fillers make the summertime classic of water balloons that much easier and more fun. To up the ante from your usual water guns, look for water tag sets to add an extra element of competition.

>>Water Tag Set, $19.99

>>Rapid Fill Balloon Pumper with 250 Balloons, $8.99

>>Bunch of Balloons and Launcher, $12.99


Recruit your little ones to dig into the garden with you. Plant flowers in a hanging basket, pull weeds from your flower bed or harvest produce from your vegetable garden together. Or assemble a fairy garden with the help of super-cute miniatures.

>>Minnie Mouse Shovel, $2.99

>>Cars Toy Rake, $1.99

>>Leafy Fairy House Statue, $12.99


Sometimes a new prop can inspire an entire afternoon of make believe. Bestow a wand upon your fairy prince or princess or furnish a toy safe with alarm for modern-day spin on cops and robbers.

>>Disney Frozen Wand, $1.99

>>Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Battle Shell, $14.99

>>Steel Safe with Alarm Toy, $16


Family Party & Event Ideas

6 Ways To Keep Your Kids Active This Summer

June 29, 2016

Summer break is upon us and even though your kiddos are ecstatic, we all know it will be approximately one week before you hear the dreaded phrase, “I’m bored!” Sure, you can set limits on screen time to help keep your littles off the couch. But then what do you do next? Here are our top picks for active summer fun.

Go for a bike ride

Strap on a helmet and get peddling! Whether you pick a destination near or far, a bike ride of any length is a fun summer activity. Cruise to the local ice cream shop, take a leisurely ride along the local bike trail or roll on over to your closet friend or relative’s house for a visit. Involve your kids in the preparation by having them help map the route beforehand.

Get splashy

When the temps soar, cool off by hitting the waves–what kind is up to you! Set up a sprinkler or play with water balloons in the backyard, take a mini-road trip to a nearby beach or lake or sign up for a pass to your local community pool or waterpark.

Have a dance party

Indoors or outdoors, this one is fun for all ages: Just crank the music and bust your best moves! Have your kiddos create the playlist beforehand by electing their favorite songs and putting them in order for the party’s beginning, middle and end.

Discover a new playground

If your whole crew has grown tired of your local playground, plot a trip to a new one in an area you’ve never been to before. Discovering a new set of slides, swings and playtime friends is sure to make a usual activity more of an adventure.

Make an obstacle course

Challenge your children to create their own obstacle course with toys and gear that’s hanging around the house. For example, you might jump rope for 1 minute, hula hoop 50 times in a row, complete a full game of hopscotch and then balance a frisbee on your head while standing on one foot …. the options are only limited to your imagination, really!

Step up and volunteer

Volunteering your time for a local cause is a great way to get out of the house and stay active. You can walk dogs at your local animal shelter, sort donations at a food bank or walk in a famly 5K to raise money for an organization with a cause that you care about.

>What are your tried-and-true ways to keep your kids moving during the summer? Share in the comments below! And when you’re spending time outside, don’t forget to keep your skin safe from the sun.

Ways to keep kids active in summer!

Summer fun ideas for kids!

Décor Family Food Party & Event Ideas

Yay USA! How To Get The Americana Look

June 23, 2016

With Independence Day on the way, the time is right to give your home decor a dose of Americana. Ready to bring a little red, white and blue through your front door? Here are four easy ways to set the scene with USA pride, just in time for the July 4 holiday.

Hang spirited signage

Decorative artwork can bring a touch of patriotic flair to your front door or living room wall. If you’re short on wall space, prop a box sign up on a desktop or counter. Go for the classic primary color combination, or look for rustic designs with softer, more muted variations of red and blue. Either way, the sentiment will be heard loud and clear!

My Home Sweet Home Map Box Art, $9.99

Life Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness Plaque, $10

Every Heart Beats True Box Sign, $5.99

Set the table

Switch out your everyday dinnerware for Americana-inspired pieces. Think table linens (placemats, napkins, tablecloth or table runner) in eye-catching stars or stripes, plus plates and platters in bold reds or blues. Or just start your day with a fresh splash of USA pride in the form of a cute mug for your morning coffee.

Americana Stripe Table Runner, $7.99

Barberware Dishware Set, $49.99

Americana US Heart Logo Jumbo Mug, $4.99

Perk up the patio

Your backyard or front porch is the perfect place to incorporate classic Americana colors without changing your whole interior color scheme. Add cherry red cushions to your existing wicker furniture, perk up a rocking chair with a printed pillow or hang an oversized metal star from your fence.

Enterprise Outdoor Pillow, $9.99

Kane Geo Outdoor Cushion, $29.99

Rustic Metal Star, $6.99

Party in retro style

Hosting a barbecue for July 4 weekend? Channel the heart of Americana with accessories that look like heirlooms plucked from your grandmother’s kitchen. Look for a pristine white deviled egg dish or cake stand for an old-fashioned dessert display, or pour lemonade or punch into Mason jars filled with ice.

Deviled egg dish, 9.99

Mason jar coolers, $9.99

Pedestal cake stand, $11.99

With a touch of patriotism inside as well as out, all that’s missing is a slice of oh-so-American apple pie. Happy 4th!

pillowamericana pillow americaoutfits


Décor Family Food Party & Event Ideas Shop

Host A Hot Summer Soiree

May 25, 2016

Whether it’s to celebrate Memorial Day, graduation or no reason at all, hosting a shindig under the sun is a fitting way to kick off the summer. Some careful consideration when it comes to eats, drinks and ambiance will go a long way to make sure a good time is had by all.


Music makes the difference between just hanging out and a true celebration. A portable outdoor speaker is an easy alternative to a full-out outdoor sound system; just connect your smartphone via bluetooth and click your favorite party tunes. Or fake an impromptu speaker by putting your phone inside a bowl (the shape will help amplify the sound) and pressing play on Pandora. Whatever you do, just make sure your playlist features Justin Timberlake’s “Can’t Stop the Feeling,” already a slam dunk for the song of the summer.


Look to lighting to set the mood. String lights are a fun and easy way to make your space feel festive. Try stringing a set or two along your deck railing or twist them around a tree trunk. Lanterns provide a subtle glow and instant ambiance; light a real candle inside or sub in a LED-powered pillar or votive to up the safety factor.


Refreshing drinks are the centerpiece of a successful bash, but you’ll want to spend your time having fun with your guests, not playing bartender. The key to a low-maintenance drink plan is prepping ahead of time for self-service. Fill a galvanized tub or cooler with ice to hold sodas, and juice boxes and beer. Use easy-to-pour pitchers or spouted coolers for lemonade or fruit punch for the kiddos (or spiked for the grown-ups). In the wine department, look for screw-top bottles so guests aren’t left hunting for a corkscrew.


For a fun alternative to the usual barbecue menu of hot dogs and hamburgers, try veggie and meat kabobs on the grill. Prepare steak, chicken or shrimp skewers ahead of time and have guests assemble their own veggie kabobs with sliced pepper, cherry tomatoes, onion wedges and zucchini chunks. Staples such as potato salad or coleslaw are classic side dishes, but serve only if you can confidently keep them cold for the whole day. (Nothing like mayo in the hot sun to tempt the food-poisoning gods!) Fruit salad, corn on the cob and vinegar-based slaws and salads all hold up well over the course of an afternoon and don’t need to be reheated for latecomers. Cookies, popsicles or brownie squares leave guests free to grab their sweets as they like without having to ask for help slicing and serving.

 With all the essentials accounted for, the guest list is up to you. Cheers!

summerparty2 summerparty3

Family Fashion Party & Event Ideas Shop Uncategorized

Last Minute Spring Break Plans

March 7, 2016

Just because a big trip isn’t in the cards doesn’t mean you can’t have a pleasure-packed Spring Break with your family this season. Make the most of your time off together with these ideas, all easy to pull off with limited planning.


You can fake a beach day even if you’re nowhere near a seaside destination. Locate your nearest body of water, whether that’s a lake, waterpark or even an indoor pool at the park district or YMCA. Load up an oversized tote bag with towels, toys and snacks, and don’t forget the SPF if you’ll be under the sun.

What to wear: A swimsuit, your favorite cover-up, wide-brimmed hat, sunglasses and sandals.


Be a tourist in your own town and spend a day at a museum. If you’ve visited your major metropolitan museum umpteen times, look for a smaller one within driving distance that has a regional or topical focus. You’d be surprised how many smaller towns have history museums that could teach you and your kiddos something new (or old, rather) about your hometown’s past.

What to wear: A drapey cardigan, cotton tank, jeans and walkable flats or sneakers.


Pop some popcorn or order a pizza and gather the whole family for an all-day film fest right in your living room. Start early and make your way through multi-movie series such as “Harry Potter,” “Toy Story,” “Back to the Future” or “The Hunger Games.” Or pick a theme for a double feature, such as toys (“The Lego Movie” and “G.I. Joe”), dinosaurs (“Land Before Time” and “Jurassic Park”) or dance (“Center Stage” and “Save the Last Dance”).

What to wear: A cozy hooded sweatshirt, leggings and slippers.


Give back to your community by volunteering as a family. Contacting a local volunteer organization for suggestions on a one-day opportunity such as assisting at a local senior center or animal shelter. Or lead your kids in collecting pantry goods or unused clothing and toys that are still in good condition to donate to a local organization.

What to wear: A lightweight blouse, skinny jeans and booties.

Food Party & Event Ideas Series Uncategorized

Leonardo DiCaprio Themed Oscar Party

February 25, 2016

It’s award season! Who doesn’t love the fashion, the drama, the movies, the parties?? It’s a great excuse to get together with friends to eat, drink and make merry during these last few dismal weeks of winter.

Hosting a great Oscar party is all about making the evening fun and relaxing for your guests, and being organized and prepared so you can enjoy the evening watching the show instead of slaving in the kitchen. When inviting people to an Oscar viewing party, it’s also important to emphasize that you don’t have to have seen any of the films or know anything about the event to still have a great time.

That being said…

Can we all agree that it’s Leo’s year to win??? Just give the man the award. One more year seeing his fake-smile-congratulatory-towards-his-fellow-nominees reaction might make us weep. It’s been established that he’s pretty talented. He’s been nominated a million times, right? It’s time celebrate these facts with a new, different, (and slightly obsessive) Leonardo DiCaprio themed party Oscar Party!

How to do it: Plan the menu and décor around themed delicacies all in homage to Leo’s dapper mug. Plus, include framed photos from his famed movie appearances next to each dish or drink to help guests make the connection.

Check out these super easy themed menu items that are simple to make and can easily be prepared in advance.

The Revenant – Gummy Bears: Is it too soon? To joke about bears? (This joke may only be relevant to those who have seen this movie…)

Django Unchained – Candy of any variety: What better way to play tribute to a character named, Candy, than with an awesome assortment of sugary treats. An assortment of theatre candy in colorful dishes is always a crowd-pleaser.

What’s Eating Gilbert Grape – Grape Parfaits: This is a fantastic, make-ahead, fancy-looking delicious treat that could not be easier to make. Use your favorite yogurt parfait recipe and substitute grapes for other fruit mentioned. Assemble the dessert in festive wine glasses for a very upscale, Oscar party-esque look featured within the buffet spread.

 Gangs of New York – New York Style Hot Dogs: Wanna get fancy? Wait for it…take little smokies and carefully cut standard hot dog buns to fit their tiny size. They become delightful little handheld savory snacks to balance out other sweet items on the menu.

The Beach – Seaweed Dip: Make your own favorite dippable concoction, or pick up your favorite from the store and pop it in a pretty bowl so you can take all the credit. If you’re near a Trader Joe’s grocer, they have a great Spinach Artichoke Dip that is inexpensive and delicious.

The Departed – Boston Crème Pie Bites: This is the only menu item that has any significant baking or prep required. You can plan to make this the day before and chill until ready to serve. Check out these super cute mini desserts on House of Yumm and was delighted with how easy they were to put together.

Titanic – My Heart Will Go On Cocktails/I’m the King of the World Celebratory Champagne: Just print your favorite “Jack” photo and paste onto your favorite bottle of bubbly. If he doesn’t win? Save it for your next personal victory, goal achievement or career success – and you’ll feel like the king of the world.

Finally, one of our favorite elements of a good Oscar Party is the ballot for guessing the winners. Each attendee is provided a sheet of the nominees and places their guess on who will win before the show starts. For some categories, people may have a good guess, but things like Best Sound Mixing and Best Animated Short Film are anybody’s game. Each category is worth a different number of points and a winner is recognized at the end of the show. It’s always fun to have a small prize like a movie theater gift card to gift to the winner, however the bragging rights of walking away as the winner are more than rewarding. Download your own party ballot with this year’s nominees and may the best person, (LEO), win!

Guest written by Gordmans theme-party Queen, Beth. 






Family Party & Event Ideas Shop

Volunteering With Your Pet

February 17, 2016

Donating your time to a cause you care about is a win-win situation, all around. Why not get the whole family involved, your pet included? These creative volunteer ideas will open your mind to the ways you can give back to your community with the help of your pet. Options vary by location, so contact your local animal shelter or nonprofit humane society for local leads on the following volunteer opportunities.


Up the ante on your daily walk by signing up for a dog-friendly 5K walk or run. Races benefit a wide variety of charities, ranging from pet rescues to cancer research. Browse a list of dog-friendly races all around the country at



For a child learning to read, dogs can provide a non-judgmental, morale-boosting companion. There are myriad organizations around the country—SitStayRead in Chicago, Illinois, and Bow Wow Reading Dogs in Austin, Texas, to name a few—that connect owners of well-behaved dogs with school-aged kiddos in need of a four-legged reading friend. Therapy Dogs International has a presence in all 50 states and is a great place to start.


Blood drives can help people undergoing medical procedures, and the same goes for animals. If your pet is in good health, donating blood may be an option. The next time you’re at your local veterinarian’s office, ask about dates for upcoming blood drives.



Pets of all kinds and their owners can get involved in service programs to benefit other members of your community. Perhaps your poodle could visit a senior center, your parrot could lend a wing during an elementary school’s science lesson or your golden retriever could assist with physical therapy tasks (like fetching a thrown toy from a patient recovering from an arm injury) at a rehabilitation facility.

Before certain pets can be eligible for adoption, they may need a temporary home and caretaker. If you’re willing serve as a host and your current pet is friendly, he or she can help socialize a foster pet for a few much-needed days or weeks before moving on to a forever home.


>>Don’t have a pet yet? Consider volunteering your time or donating items such as food, litter or cleaning supplies to your local humane society or animal shelter. Don’t be afraid to ask what special needs that a charitable pet organization currently needs. You might be surprised what skills you have that could be of use, from photographing pets for adoption to helping promote events via social media.

>>HELP US CELEBRATE NATIONAL PET DAY – Saturday, February 20th Gordmans will be celebrating National Pet Day at all it’s stores by letting you bring your furry friend in to shop! There will be free treats, photo stations for you and your pet and a chance to win fun prizes. Find out more HERE!


Fashion Party & Event Ideas Shop Uncategorized

Alternative Valentine’s Day Plans

February 5, 2016

A romantic candlelit dinner may be the most popular way to celebrate February 14 with your valentine, but that doesn’t have to be the default. Let this list of alternate date ideas be your guide to mixing up the usual routine this year.


The couple that sweats together stays together, right? Pick an activity you’ve never tried before and enroll in a class or workshop together. Kickboxing, pilates, indoor rock-climbing, trapeze lessons … the options are only limited to what is offered in your area.

What to wear: Leggings, a comfy athletic top and your favorite pair of sneaks.


Bring out your competitive sides with an afternoon of game play. Try indoor mini-golfing or bowling, or go to an arcade and see who can rack up the most points in pinball or score a toy from the claw machine. This one is sure to bring back some early dating nostalgia.

What to wear: Army jacket or vest, colorful top, scarf and jeans.


It is entirely acceptable to order takeout and watch TV for Valentine’s Day, provided you mix up your routine from an ordinary weeknight. Order delivery from a restaurant you’ve never tried before and press play on a fresh series that you can binge-watch together from the beginning.

What to wear: Cozy sweatshirt and knit pants.


Stroll the grounds of your local zoo and get your fill of cuddly pandas, kooky chimps and regal tigers. If there’s not a zoo nearby or it’s closed for the winter, visit the local pet store and prepare for cuteness overload with a walk through the puppy department.

What to wear: Cable-knit sweater, jeans and boots.

Grab a sled or tube and hit the closest sledding hill, or lace on ice skates and glide hand-in-hand on a frozen pond or outdoor rink. If winters are warmer in your neck of the woods, go to an open skate night or curling night at an indoor ice rink.

What to wear: Puffy jacket, a hat and gloves! 

Family Party & Event Ideas

January Fitness Challenge

January 5, 2016

Still coming off of that sugar coma from holiday-haze 2015? We know the feeling. And while it’s nice to reminisce about those decadent cookie exchanges and delicious homemade meals, we can’t seem to stop January from trudging in and, (brutally), slapping us back to reality.

Living a healthy life is the goal. Let’s make smart food choices everyday, but not miss out on mouth-watering flavor. Let’s lace up those athletic shoes and get moving, but not doing something that bores us to tears and that we’ll quit in a month. Let’s make a change from crash diets and workout fads that lose their luster after the first few weeks of the year and leave us back in a Pringle-laden funk.

This year we’re going to kick things off with a little friendly competition through a company fitness challenge! That’s right, Gordmans team members at the corporate office, distribution centers and stores will be invited to participate in a fun and rewarding challenge that’s focused on getting moving in 2016, and setting habits we’ll be happy to keep up throughout the year.

We’ve included details below on how to recreate this challenge on your own. Make a plan jump start your heart with friends, family, co-workers or book-club buddies and you’ll have extra motivation to achieve your goals! May the best man EVERYONE win!

STEP 1: Pick your group. Find people who will help you stay motivated, and with whom you’ll want to spend some extra time laughing off calories! Gordmans teams may consist of up to 10 members, and will be competing against each other for fun prizes.

STEP 2: Set a timeline. A month is a good starting point, but if you know travel schedules or big events will make it difficult to get things done in 4 weeks, adjust accordingly for your team in both time and number of challenges to do. Gordmans team members will have 1 month to complete 100 challenges.


STEP 3: Get creative. The list of “Get Moving” ideas that we have are totally flexible! If you know that weekend playdates leave you breathless after chasing toddlers, include that in the mix. Whatever sound fun and motivates you to get off the couch is what should be written in those squares! Check out Gordmans list of challenges:

STEP 4: Be accountable. Not just for yourself, but for your team. The only way you’ll get through the challenge AND set habits that will help you stay healthy for the long term is to stay the course and make sure you complete the tasks assigned. Gordmans created a chart with all the challenges and everyone on the team must help cross off all the items before the end of the challenge!

STEP 5: Celebrate the wins! Changing your habits is HARD, so take the time to celebrate every win you have. Whether that’s taking the stairs at work every day for a week, or just cutting out that mid-afternoon soda, find someone to high-five over your achievements and you’ll keep that store of motivation perked up for the long term.

Remember to have fun and set achievable goals that you can keep. That way, the next time you get home from that memorable all-you-can-eat cruise, you’ll know just the way back to living a fit life!

Family Fashion Party & Event Ideas

What To Wear On NYE: 3 Party Plans

December 30, 2015

New Year’s Eve and all its countdown-counting, confetti-tossing, glass-clinking glory is almost here! Whether you’re going out or staying in, read on for inspiration on what to wear for the last night of 2015.



For a get-together at your friend’s home, you want to show your everyday personal style, bumped up a notch. An easy way to pull this off is by adding one special holiday accessory to basics already in your closet. Spice up dark denim skinny jeans and a striped long-sleeved boat-neck top with a jewel-encrusted statement necklace. Slip on an off-the-shoulder tunic and heeled ankle boots with your favorite black leggings. Drape a scarf with a glimmer of metallic weave over a simple sweater dress. For a really stand-out look, pair a worn-in graphic tee or your go-to chambray shirt with festive bottoms—think sequined pencil skirt, brocade cigarette pants or tulle tea-length skirt.



A little black dress is par for the course at a fancy restaurant or hotel party. You can also count on red and silver to be popular runner-ups. Stand out from the crowd by rocking a frock in an offbeat color such as turquoise, fuchsia or rose gold. A jumpsuit in a flowy fabric or a chic tuxedo with a shimmery top underneath also makes for a super-sophisticated look. It’s New Year’s Eve, so a touch of drama is always appropriate, whether that translates to a dress with a plunging back, glittery earrings or a glam updo.



If you want to steer clear of pricey valet parking and crazy crowds, movie night at home with your nearest and dearest sounds like just the ticket. That means you get to forgo the uncomfy high heels and dreaded strapless bra and suit up in your coziest gear. Go for a matching flannel pajama set or an oversized sweatshirt and leggings. Top it off with a cozy fleece robe and faux fur-lined slippers or sweater knit slipper socks. All that’s left to do now is pop the popcorn and press play!