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Recent Daily Dish

Alexa Ray Joel sings “Just the Way You Are”

September 16th, 2013

Back in 2007, I had the honour of interviewing Alexa Ray Joel for an exclusive Boutique Cafe podcast. I love Alexa’s voice and her music and have followed her career ever since. Now Alexa has beautifully reworked her Dad (Billy Joel’s) original hit “Just the Way You Are”, and also has teamed up with Gap for their “Back to Blue” campaign. Love you Alexa – Congratulations!! XO Daria

Snag Alexa’s gorgeous version of “Just the Way You Are” on iTunes here>>

Luv Chicken Booster Cushion

September 10th, 2013

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Check out this adorable and highly portable booster cushion from Luv Chicken! This mini booster is cute as can be, in wipeable and easy to clean vinyl. The bottom of each cushion is non-slip and there’s a handle to make it easy to carry, even your toddler can tote it along (and believe me they will want to). The soft and comfortable foam insert makes seating issues at restaurants a thing of the past, now your child can sit up at the table at the proper height. If your child is past the highchair phase, but not quite tall enough to join the family at the table, the Luv Chicken boosters will help include them in family mealtimes together.

I love the idea of taking a Luv Chicken cushion to the movies, no need to worry about all the germs on those hard plastic movie theatre boosters. Bring your own and skip the germ stress, plus lets face it these are WAY cuter and far more comfy! Mermaids, Cars, Circus, Playtime, Dinos, Pirates, you can find all these themes and more from Luv Chicken.

Luv Chicken offers two sizes of booster cushions – Original in 4” thickness and Mini in 3” thickness. For comfort and {Adorability}, we love the Luv Chicken product line and encourage you to give yourself a boost and check them out!

You can follow Luv Chicken on Twitter>>
And join their Facebook group here>>

Boutique Cafe {Daily Dish} Sample Disclosure: The opinions expressed above are honest, accurate, and not encouraged anyway by monetary donations. A sample free of charge was received from Celebrity Baby Trend Expert, Rachel Florio-Urso.

Due Date Bags: One Diaper Bag to Rule Them All

February 22nd, 2013

Every once in awhile, a diaper bag comes along that hits all the marks and looks good doing it. For me, the Due Date Bags are the one diaper bag to rule them all!

Yes, it’s true that celebrity moms are snapping them up like hotcakes (cool mamas like Tori Spelling, Ali Landry, Jennifer Garner and Vanessa Lachey to name a few). So why are these bags so desired? Well, I was sent a gorgeous “metallic mama” bag to take for a test drive and what I discovered was the ideal blend of style, quality and function.

First of all, I’ll be honest – this is a big bag. It’s meant to have room for mom’s on the go to be able to tote along all they need for baby. I personally LOVED the size and amount of baby stuff, personal items and even electronics I could fit in to take with me. The next thing I was giddy over were the labelled pockets (yes that right, labelled). It takes what could be a mess of a bag, and turns it into a functional and organized tote, picture asking someone to hand you the baby wipes…now they can find it in a blink! Bingo, it’s genius.

Due Date Diaper Bags feature 3 “drop in” bags for cosmetics, snacks and a large one for extra clothing. The bottom of the bag is your own little changing station, featuring a changing pad and spots to hold diaper cream, toys, wipes and diapers.

The bags come in three styles: Metallic Mama, Midnight Mama and Red Hot Mama. For the ultimate little luxury you have have your Due Date bag monogrammed. What a treat for the expectant mom in your life! xoxo – Daria

To purchase your own Due Date bag visit DueDateBags.com
Join the Due Date Bags Facebook group>>
Follow Due Date Bags on Twitter here>>

Boutique Cafe {Daily Dish} Sample Disclosure: The opinions expressed above are honest, accurate, and not encouraged anyway by monetary donations. A sample free of charge was received from Celebrity Baby Trend Expert, Rachel Florio-Urso.

Christmas Movies = Family Fun! (GIVEAWAY!!)

December 20th, 2012

The past few days leading up to Christmas we’ve spent snuggled up watching some of my favorite Classic Holiday movies. This year I was sent a “treasure”, the box set of beloved holiday TV specials now on Blu-Ray including the Rankin/Bass “Frosty the Snowman,” “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer,” “Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town” and “Frosty Returns.” My Christmas was never complete without watching them as a child, and now I love to share the experience with my own little ones. Our 100% favorite show will always be Rudolf the Red-Nosed Reindeer, its full of wonder and the magic of Christmas as a child. Be on the hunt for The Original Christmas Classics collection this season, they’ll be available wherever Blu-rays are sold.

Then to add even more merriment and excitement to our family video nights, we also had a chance to watch and enjoy the VeggieTales Ultimate Christmas Collection! My children love VeggieTales (including my 18 year old son who laughed his head off watching with us). Now your own family can enjoy classic holiday shows The Toy That Saved Christmas—a lesson in giving; The Star of Christmas—a lesson in how to love; Saint Nicholas—a story in joyful giving; It’s a Meaningful Life—a lesson in being content; and The Little Drummer Boy—a story about hope, love and forgiveness. Also included in the collection is the VeggieTales: Christmas Sing-along Songs DVD and 25 Favorite Christmas Songs! CD. We really enjoyed the chance to watch some new VeggieTales Christmas shows together, I recommend a family pj party and lots of caramel popcorn!! You can snag your own copy of VeggieTales: The Ultimate Christmas Collection DVD’s for approx. $19.99 and they are available wherever DVD’s are sold.

*******GIVEAWAY! The Morris + King Company for Classic Media and Big Idea are giving away a copy of each set collection to 1 lucky Boutique Cafe reader!!

To enter, leave a comment telling us you’re favorite Christmas movie or TV episode.
Additional entries: You can do as many of these as you’d like. Each one is worth one entry into our giveaway; please leave a separate comment for each one you do:
• “Like” Boutique Cafe on Facebook and leave a comment telling us you did.
• Mention this giveaway on Twitter (with @BoutiqueCafe in the tweet) and leave a comment with the URL.
• Update your Facebook status with a link to this giveaway and leave a comment telling us you did so.

Include a valid email address for our drawing. We’ll draw the winner from the comments and contact her via email. Deadline: December 23rd (midnight). The winner will have 24 hours to claim her prize or a new winner will be chosen.

Winner Update! Congratulations to Ronald Oliver who has won the drawing!! I will be contacting you via email to arrange shipment of your new video collections.

Making Moms Organized in a Sugar Snap!

December 5th, 2012

Oh my friends! Every once in a while a product comes along that is so useable, so genius, so well made that I am literally bursting to tell you about it. Today I’m thrilled to introduce you to Sugar Snap files, they can change a nightmare of a diaper bag (like mine) into an organized and functional system in a SNAP!!

The Sugar Snap files are designed to fit right into you existing diaper bag…or purse…or any bag you want to tote around. I hope that my description can do them justice, as they are too cool! The Sugar Snap files consist of 5 pouches with easy to identify tabs such as: Lotions & Potions, Me & Mine, Dipes & Wipes, Shirts & Socks, Snacks & Supplies. All of them are attached to a ring but you can add or subtract pouches according to your plans for the day. I swear that they have the power to make any disorganized and frazzled Mommy look like an organized phenom! Lola and I were sent the Parker design (green pattern with orange trim) to try out and share with you. I have to tell you, I feel like a new woman. I absolutely love this product, instead of spending time digging and rummaging through my diaper bag to find stuff it’s all easy and accessible in those tabbed pouches.

If the labelled tabs aren’t enough, each pretty pouch has a mesh front so you can peer right in and grab what you need for your baby.

I’m so excited about Sugar Snap that it might just be my new “go-to” gift for all of my expecting mom friends. – XO Daria

Boutique Cafe {Daily Dish} Sample Disclosure: The opinions expressed above are honest, accurate, and not encouraged anyway by monetary donations. A sample free of charge was received from Celebrity Baby Trend Expert, Rachel Florio-Urso.

Emily Hill Blogger of the Week on KSL

September 20th, 2012

Now is truly my big chance to name drop! Emily Hill, KSL’s Blogger of the Week – I KNOW HER!! You can imagine my excitement in seeing my talented and dear friend featured on TV for something she’s just so great at. Emily is not only the beautiful wife, mom and blogger at Is This Really My Life, but she’s also been a key and integral part of Boutique Cafe for years as our Contributing Editor of the Daily Dish.

Through Is This Really My Life Emily blogs everything from recipes, to personal events, to local hot spots (all while being Mom to 4 kids, a wife to one truly great guy, and drinking ice-cold Diet Coke when necessary).

I highly recommend her blog as a must-read, its one of the stops I simply have to make each day. Not only is Em a fun, honest and skillful blogger, but Emily is truly a woman I admire. She is lovely heart and soul (plus she has great hair, and amazing shoes!).

I invite you to discover Is This Really My Life and enjoy her blog post as much as I, and oodles of avid readers do. Congratulations Emily, this is a well deserved honor. – XOXO Daria

Sila Boutique – a rainy day winner!

September 6th, 2012

I am always looking for great places to shop online. The online “hunt” is so much fun to me, and I especially love to find unique and adorable duds and cute accessories for my kids. I recently heard about an online shop called Sila Boutique that caters to the “Posh Tot and their Hip Mom”, that sounded right up my alley (after all I’m still hip right? right? I’ll wait until you answer yes).

Sila Boutique is a beautifully laid out online shop, filled to the brim with gorgeous gift ideas. They carry everything from clothing, to decor, to Birthday gear, and even drool-worthy cell phone cases. I was lucky enough to have an opportunity to try a product from their shop here at home, and it’s the PERFECT fit for my life here on the island! If you’ve ever been to Vancouver Island you know that it’s rainy…really rainy…like, much of the year. Sila Boutique sent a Pluie Pluie raincoat in the cutest floral print for Lola to sport around town. The raincoat is a much needed accessory here in our climate, but the best part is how incredible cute it looks on my baby girl! I love it! I’m so grateful for shops like Sila Boutique that stock their virtual shelves with great quality products, this jacket is so well made. The Pluie Pluie raincoat is European styled and made of a PVC-free material that will keep your kids dry in the rain. The outer fabric is cotton with a waterproof polyurethane coating.

Sila Boutique doesn’t just stop at one cute jacket, I love that they cover all the bases and carry the matching boots and umbrella too! Now that’s catering to the posh tot. – Daria

For gift-worthy goodies at a great price be sure to check out Sila Boutique right now! Don’t forget to join their Facebook group for deals and new products. You can also Twitter with @silaboutique

Boutique Cafe {Daily Dish} Sample Disclosure: The opinions expressed above are honest, accurate, and not encouraged anyway by monetary donations. A sample free of charge was received from Celebrity Baby Trend Expert, Rachel Florio-Urso.

Get {Styled by Tori Spelling} + Giveaway!

September 3rd, 2012

It’s time to Bring on the Bling! I’m thrilled to present the incredible Boho and Glam lines from {Styled} by Tori Spelling on Boutique Cafe! First of all, I want to mention that I absolutely adore Tori Spelling and greatly admire her passion for her family, love of crafting and zest for being a momprenuer. I also enjoy her incredible sense of style (and the fact that she has a chicken as a family pet). Love her! That being said, I was eager to showcase {Styled} by Tori Spelling for our readers, and of course to try it out myself.

The idea behind {Styled} is that by using “simple steps to style”, anyone can quickly and easily put together gorgeous statement pieces of jewelry in just minutes. {Styled} by Tori Spelling offers 4 collections of components (Boho, Glitz, Noir and Glam) including necklace tops and bottoms, findings,connectors to finish your necklaces, even pendants to refine your look. The beautiful part is that NO TOOLS ARE REQUIRED, absolutely anyone can pull together the elements and create a gorgeous design you’ll be excited to wear and showoff.

I was sent a glorious box filled with components from the Boho and Glitz lines. There’s a certain thrill that comes from knowing you are going to create something new to dress up your style. I started playing around with the pieces and findings and realized how brilliant this system is, it’s so easy to do that you can’t get it wrong. If you’re personal style is simple you might opt for using a basic necklace top, bottom and connectors – if however you want to dress it up and inject your own flair you can literally keep adding to the piece to make it special and standout. There are no rules, you can use components from the {Styled} by Tori Spelling lines and even attach things you already own such as vintage brooches with their nifty connectors.

I loved the ease of crafting my own {Styled} by Tori Spelling jewelry. The Boho collection is very much for the free spirit who loves mixed metals, medallions and fresh colours. The Glam line incorporates beautiful metals in gold and bronze, highlighted by ivory, coral and sparkling rhinestones. Glam is very much about the metals and textures. I loved how both lines could intermingle with each other!

There’s nothing more girly than wanting to dress up your look with the perfect piece of statement jewelry, and there’s nothing more crafty than making it yourself! That’s what {Styled} by Tori Spelling allows you to do, and with countless combinations of components you can wear an original piece each day.


***GIVEAWAY: Now it’s your turn to build your own “dream collection” of jewelry with {Styled} by Tori Spelling. One of our lucky Boutique Cafe readers is going to receive $50 worth of jewelry from {Styled} by Tori Spelling!! Here’s how:

Each person can leave up to five separate comments…increasing your chances of winning! One comment per task completed.

• Leave a comment here on Boutique Cafe with which Collection in the {Styled} by Tori Spelling line is your personal favorite.

ADDITIONAL BONUS ENTRIES:

Facebook about the giveaway and come back and leave a comment below saying you did.
Tweet about the giveaway using #ToriStyle and come back and leave a comment below saying you did.
• Jump up and down yelling “I need some {Styled} by Tori Spelling Jewelry!!” and email us a photo of you doing it to: boutiquecafe@gmail.com :)

Include a valid email address for our drawing. We’ll draw the winner from the comments and contact her via email. Deadline: Sept 29th (midnight). The winner will have 24 hours to claim her prize or a new winner will be chosen. Must be a resident of the USA or Canada for shipping.

***UPDATE:
Congratulations to our WINNER Tara Molnar who will receive $50 worth of {Styled} by Tori Spelling Jewelry! We are thrilled for you. Thanks so much to everyone for your participation, don’t forget to check out the {Styled} by TS jewelry at your local craft stores and online.

Hoode Baby offers Warmwear for Chilly Summer Nights

July 7th, 2012

Snuggling up your little tot has never felt so good! I was thrilled to discover a company called Hoode Baby which offers the most deliciously cozy Warmwear (and Rainwear) for tots of all sizes. I knew that in seeing the product images online their Warmwear would be soft, but I wasn’t prepared for the sheer luxury that Hoode Baby has crafted from beautiful high quality micro fleece and baby bunting. This isn’t just a blanket, but rather a chic hybrid mix of jacket and blanket elements.

Lola and I received the beautiful Teal Pom Pom version of the Hoode Baby Warmwear to review, and immediately my 2 year old laid down on the floor with it and rubbed her cheek against the soft fabric. It was an instant hit! They offer several lovely options for micro fleece patterns, it’s a cinch to find the perfect gift.

As evidenced from their clever company name, Hoode Baby’s products have a handy hood built in which allows you to bundle up, snuggle up and cozy up your little one against the cold or simply for comfort. I’m picturing chilly summer nights that Lola will be cozied up in her Hoode Baby on the beach with us behind our home, and feeling only the warmth of a hug rather than a chill of the air. – Daria

You can keep up with Hoode Baby on Twitter and Facebook
Special Thanks to Rachel of Rachel Florio PR – Celebrity Baby Trend Expert (aka -a lady who knows everything baby and beyond)!

Zip Up Your Kids This Summer!

June 13th, 2012

I’ve been waiting for a beautiful sunshine filled day here in Victoria to test out the adorable SwimZip rash guard that was sent for Lola to try out. It’s finally that warm day, and we snuck into the front yard for time by the pool together. I have never put Lola into a rash guard before, her swimsuits are so cute that it’s been hard to cover them up, but what’s not cute is the added exposure her little skin can get from the sun’s rays. Time to SwimZip her up!

SwimZip has created an adorable and stylish line of UV zip up shirts and swimwear for boys and girls 6m-4T to help block all those harmful rays, in fact each SwimZip is UV 50+ and blocks 99% of UVA and UVB rays. These sweet zips priced between $24.99-$29.99 are also Chlorine resistant so they won’t fade out over time. As a Mom I appreciate the beautiful quality of the SwimZip guard, they were tagless at the neck which is a big plus, and I LOVE the no-pinch zipper flap!

Now let’s talk style, I was sent the “Caribbean Dolphin” rashguard in a pretty pink hue with white accents. Lola loved the dolphins printed on it and commented “a fish! a fish!!” several times. After searching the SwimZip website I’m now convinced that she needs the “Sassy Surfer” polkadot ruffle swim set which includes a rash guard and bottoms. You must check it out! For your boys SwimZip has adorable options as well, my personal favourite is the “Surfer Dude” set in striking white and red. Dress your little ones in SwimZip this summer and feel confidence that they are sun protected, with easy-off functionality when playtime is through. I love this summertime essential! – Daria

Sewing Modkid Style – Book Review and Giveaway! Blog tour in effect

April 23rd, 2012

Guess what I have in my hot little hands? Why, it’s a copy of Patty Young’s new book Sewing Modkid Style of course!!

I happen to know Patty in real life and have featured her many times over the years on Boutique Cafe, so the experience of seeing her book come to fruition is an added thrill for me. However, even if I didn’t know my little firecracker of a friend, I would be racing to the bookstore or Amazon to snag myself a copy of Sewing Modkid Style – Modern Threads for the Cool Girl. That’s exactly what I’m going to recommend for you to do, but first I’m dying to share my thoughts on Patty’s first book.

When it first arrived I couldn’t wait to peruse the pages. Everything Patty touches is beautiful and I knew her book would be too! For her first foray into the book arena Patty focused on utilizing knits for girls. Some may think that working with knits would be daunting or difficult, but Patty takes you step by step along the way guiding you through the process and making it simple. You might wonder “why knits?” and the answer is simply that Patty is a Mom herself and believes that your children should look adorable but also be comfortable. Knits are the answer to “dressing the modern, active child.” These clothes will move with your children and allow them to romp, play and rule the world. Patty also understands how you don’t want to dress your children in clothes that are boring, knits allow you to showcase their style and sprinkle in some attitude in their clothing.

Inside the pages you’ll be guided through the process of identifying different knits and picking out the best quality for your precious projects. I personally loved chapter 1: guide to sewing with knits, with techniques, tools and hints on sewing with knits for the ultimate success.

You might be wondering how extensive the collection of patterns and projects is for this book, and Patty does not disappoint. You can bet on the maximum bang for your buck because everything is here from dresses, to pants, to shorts, to skirts, accessories and even a knit quilt!! I’m having a terrible time deciding which project I love the most, I honestly just want to get sewing. I will tell you that I will definitely be making up the Bloom dress, the leg warmers, the yoga pants and the quilt!

In the very front of the book (published by Wiley) is a darling pocket filled with your precious patterns. Obviously there are many patterns out there in the sewing world to choose from, but Patty’s patterns are easy to use and so well done! Can beginners use this book? You bet! Can people who are sewing stars use this book? Yes definitely!

What I love about Sewing Modkid Style is that it’s so perfectly Patty in every way, from the design elements, to the photos, to the patterns, to the fabrics, it all comes together in a beautiful cohesive book. Way to go Patty – this is a work of art! – Daria

Here’s our Mini-interview with Patty Young – I asked Patty a few fun questions and here are her replies:

1. Your book is called Sewing Modkid Style, can you tell us how you would describe your own personal style of clothing and fashion love?

Patty: My own personal style is all over the place. The remnants of a 90’s Goth Girl in me still loves black and gray with all of her heart, while the new, more confident, 21st-Century-Mom part of me gravitates towards bright colors and bold prints. As I looked at my closet this morning I saw pinks, reds, oranges, citrons and turqs amidst a whole lotta black and gray. Clean, modern lines, with not a lot of frill, is what I love in a silhouette.

2. Was it fun for your daughters and husband to be included in the making of this book?

Patty: This was definitely a family project. My girls are so used to modeling for me that I’m sure they didn’t see much of a difference between this project and previous ones (pattern covers, catalogs, website, etc.) except maybe that there were more models involved, which was definitely more fun for them. My dear hubby, as I mentioned in my acknowledgments, pretty much took over and ran the household while I worked on this book and I will be forever grateful.

3. What did you learn about writing a book that you didn’t know before?

Patty: I learned that I can let go of my OCD/control freak tendencies and let others help. I was so used to being a one-woman-shop that I didn’t think I could ever let go of some of that control. But I learned quickly that when you’re working on a time-consuming project like this one, while still managing a whole company and trying to be a good mom and wife, you have to let others help you. It was liberating and refreshing!

4. Will you create patterns for women in the future? Please!

Patty: The future of women’s patterns for MODKID is still uncertain. Although our previous women’s pattern got a very warm reception from our fans, they are definitely not our best sellers. A recent report ran by Jon showed that girls’ clothing patterns outsold women’s clothing, purses and accessories by a large margin. This is not to say that we will never do them again (never say never, right?), because we still have some wonderful prototypes floating around the studio that beg to be made into patterns… but it definitely won’t be our focus anytime soon.

5. If you could say anything to your fans and supporters right now, what would you tell them?

Patty: That I definitely wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for their love and support. I so enjoy reading their comments and emails and I gain so much experience from constructive criticism. I live for looking at their photos on my Flickr groups and when I see shares on FaceBook or Twitter, my heart swells with pride and joy. Thank you so much for all of your support!

***GIVEAWAY: Win a Copy of Sewing Modkid Style!
The wonderful people at Wiley are giving one of our lucky Boutique Cafe readers a copy of Patty Young’s new book Sewing Modkid Style!! Aren’t you excited?!

*To enter, leave a comment telling us why you want to sew with Patty’s new book, Sewing Modkid Style

Additional entries: You can do as many of these as you’d like. Each one is worth one entry into our giveaway; please leave a separate comment for each one you do:
• “Like” Boutique Cafe on Facebook and leave a comment telling us you did.
• Mention this giveaway on Twitter (with @BoutiqueCafe and @pattyyoung in the tweet) and leave a comment with the URL.
• Jump up and down yelling “I NEED This Book!!” and email us a photo of you doing it to: boutiquecafe@gmail.com :)

Include a valid email address for our drawing. We’ll draw the winner from the comments and contact her via email. Deadline: May 5th (midnight). The winner will have 24 hours to claim her prize or a new winner will be chosen.

Follow the Blog Tour:


Monday, April 2: Wiley Craft Blog

Wed., April 4: A Sewing Journal

Friday, April 6: Pink Chalk Studio

Monday, April 9: Melanie Dramatic

Wed., April 11: Stop Staring and Start Sewing

Friday, April 13: Generation Q

Monday, April 16: Lil Blue Boo

Wed., April 18: True Up

Friday, April 20: Paige Hill

Monday, April 23: Boutique Café

Wed., April 25: The Long Thread

Friday, April 27th, 2012: Sew Pretty Dresses

Monday, April 30: Prudent Baby

Wed., May 2: Our Busy Little Bunch

Friday, May 4: Fat Quarterly

Monday, May 7: Making It Fun

Wed., May 9: MODKID blog

PHOTO ENTRIES:

Gyl of Rhembein Photography sent in a few pictures of herself jumping up and down shouting “I NEED THIS BOOK!!”, I seriously LOVE that she chose to enter in such a fun way. I was laughing and loving this entry. Good luck Gyl.


I’d be giddy to have more photo entries – just do it! :)

*************WINNER UPDATE*****************
Well believe it or not, our winner is Gillian by random generator! Her comment that won this giveaway was:

“I would love to win this book and sew with it because (a) it is impossible to find in Canada – as you know Daria, ordering online is our only hope… OR WINNING IT!! and (b) I have always ONLY sewn my own creations and I would love to try some of Patty’s, having always been a fan.
~gillian”
Congratulations Gillian! And thank you to everyone for your support and participation on our Website, Facebook and Twitter. I have some new giveaways coming up soon so keep coming back, I want you all to win! :)

Boutique Cafe {Loves} Pinterest

February 17th, 2012

Pinning is such an easy way to show you care! A “Pin It” button has been added to each post on Boutique Cafe.

Now our sweet readers and viewers can Pinterest to your hearts content, and easily reference the HUNDREDS of product reviews, designers, crafts, projects and podcasts we have shared over the past 7 years! Yes sir, we sure LOVE you guys!

We are currently working on a complete Pinterest Board with links to each and every review we’ve ever written in our Daily Dish! That’s hundreds of amazing products that we have loved, tried and shared with our readership. We’re excited for you to rediscover some of our past faves, or perhaps stumble across something new.

Thanks for sharing the {LOVE} of Boutique Cafe by Pinning what you love from our site. XOXO - Daria

P.S.
Follow all of our pins and boards here—>

Bill Harley’s “High Dive” gets a high five!

February 2nd, 2012

My kids love a good story, and usually it’s their father whose sharing them, but last night we popped in Bill Harley’s High Dive and Other Things That Could Have Happened into the CD player as we headed to a school function and by dang if that CD didn’t have us all smiling. Heck, we even laughed out loud a few times!

I really shouldn’t be surprised. We loved Harley’s The Best Candy in the Whole World CD. (You can read my review of that CD here.) And I’m not a big fan of “books on tape,” but Harley has made me a believer.

We were sent a copy of Harley’s High Dive but had yet to listen to it. I wasn’t sure if my kids would sit through 12-minute and even 20+-minute stories, but they totally did. In fact, they wanted to sit in the car when we  pulled into the garage just so they could finish hearing the end of “Field Trip.”

Entertainment Weekly has called Harley “the Mark Twain of contemporary children’s music,” and I believe that to be true. His “High Dive” had us all laughing and giggling through the entire story and a certain line about a certain goat in “Field Trip” had Nathan chuckling long after Harley had moved on with his story.

Comments heard from the back seat:

“That is the awesomest!” ~ George

“No, that is super fun!” ~ Olivia

“My cheeks hurt from smiling so much!” ~ Lauren

My cheeks totally hurt—I was smiling for the 15-minute drive to and from the school event. We finished up the CD the next day and George asked to play it again from the very beginning. Sadly, we had just pulled into the garage and I’m unsure of the van’s battery life. We’ll just have to go on another family drive!

Bill Harley’s High Dive and Other Things That Could Have Happened is available starting February 14th. You can read more about it here and check out Bill Harley’s on Facebook too.

Ribbon barrettes make a stylish comeback {GIVEAWAY}

January 26th, 2012

Don’t act like you don’t know what I’m talking about when I say “ribbon barrette.” You’re totally picturing metal barrettes with multicolored ribbon woven through them and long strands accented with beads.

You know. Kind of like this:

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My Ribbon Barrette Maker


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That’s my Lauren sporting a ribbon barrette she made using the new My Ribbon Barrette Maker by Choose Friendship Co., the makers of the original My Friendship Bracelet Maker.

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My Ribbon Barrette Maker


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The kit comes with everything you need to get started: ribbons, barrettes, beads and of course the actual ribbon barrette maker. The company sent us one of the kits so the girls could take it for a test drive.

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My Ribbon Barrette Maker


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After reading a few instructions, Lauren was well on her way making that green and purple barrette pictured above.

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My Ribbon Barrette Maker


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And then she had to make one for Livi—in pink, of course!

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My Ribbon Barrette Maker


My Ribbon Barrette Maker


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Lauren totally loved the My Ribbon Barrette Maker and can’t wait to make more for her friends. (I’m kind of wishing I had long hair so I could revisit the 80s for a moment.) I think what I like best is it’s one of those projects that keeps your child busy—and quiet—for a good stretch of time. I’m always a fan of kits that provide hours of educational entertainment. And I’m a fan of craft kits that store all their parts in nice, little compartments and can be put away easily. MRBM scores major points for that too!...

And now you can provide your daughter with her own fun and productive quiet time!

Choose Friendship Co. is giving away one (1) winner’s choice of either My Friendship Bracelet Maker or My Ribbon Barrette Maker!


To enter, leave a comment telling us you’re favorite thing about the 80s. Was it the acid wash jeans? The super high bangs? Do tell!

Additional entries: You can do as many of these as you’d like. Each one is worth one entry into our giveaway; please leave a separate comment for each one you do:
• “Like” My Ribbon Barrette Maker on Facebook and leave a comment telling us you did.
• “Like” Boutique Cafe on Facebook and leave a comment telling us you did.
• Mention this giveaway on Twitter (with @BoutiqueCafe in the tweet) and leave a comment with the URL.
• Update your Facebook status with a link to this giveaway and leave a comment telling us you did so.

Include a valid email address for our drawing. We’ll draw the winner from the comments and contact her via email. Deadline: February 3rd (midnight). The winner will have 24 hours to claim her prize or a new winner will be chosen.

ZAGGfolio case for iPad 2

January 23rd, 2012

I am re-posting this ZAGGfolio review on the Daily Dish because this case really is that cool. Trust me! Plus, the review is good for a laugh. You can tell I wasn’t cut out to be a tech gadget vlogger! Original review posted on isthisREALLYmylife.com.

Believe you me, this is about as far from a geeky technologically savvy review of the ZAGGfolio for iPad 2 as you can get. Not only did the video file of the final—and best—take go all corrupt and shut down my computer, I had to record the review in my bedroom for two reasons:

  • It was the furthest removed from the kids who were watching Mulan on full volume in the family room. (They were also fighting about something but I chose to ignore them as usual.)

  • My bedroom had more light than the office because Nathan had Scotch taped the light switch in the “off” position. Apparently it was powering his hard drive and if we flipped it, Armageddon would ensue.

Trust me, you don’t want to mess with the light switch when it’s controlling something in his half of the office. Been there; done that; barely survived.

It’s all quite sad because this beautiful red beauty…

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Zaggfolio red iPad 2 case
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...and its accompanying wireless keyboard…
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ZAGGfolio wireless Bluetooth keyboard
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...should get a shout-out equal to their awesomeoness.

If I had it my way, my video review would look something like this (except those would be my hands and the fingernails would be painted in OPI’s “Yodel Me on My Cell”):








...
Instead of a marketing team and a professional studio, I had a 14-year-old videographer, a badly lit bedroom (but not so badly lit as the office in which I’m currently straining to see the keyboard) and not nearly enough caffeine and chocolate.

You’ll also notice I could’ve used a bit more practice sliding the ZAGG wireless Bluetooth keyboard into the ZAGGfolio case. I find it easier to leave it in the case—just slip in the iPad 2 and go—so I rarely remove it…except for the occasional video review. Madison got it right on the first try; obviously I have issues. It truly IS simple to slide it in and out of the case no matter how I make it look on the video.

Again, not enough practice (and not enough caffeine).

Also, I’m an idiot.

Speaking of my video review of the ZAGGfolio for iPad 2, here it is in all its non-scripted glory. Hopefully you can see past me and catch how cool this case really is. Because it’s really, really, REALLY cool.

Yeah, good luck with that.








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Yep, I said “criminey.” I was channeling my grandfather. Sadly he knows even less than I do about sliding a wireless keyboard into the case.

And I just realized the link at the end of the review is wrong. Let’s hope those watching the video review over on YouTube are smart enough to search my site once they that “404: Page Not Found” error pops up. sigh

You can check out the ZAGGfolio for iPad 2 keyboard case and all its colorful options on ZAGG.com. You’ll also find all those super techy specs I failed to mention in my review.

At $99, which includes the wireless Bluetooth iPad 2 keyboard, it’s a steal.

Just don’t steal mine. After the night I’ve had, I will hunt you down and make you watch Mulan with my kids.

P.S. I’ve checked out “real” reviews on the ZAGGfolio and it’s received some seriously high marks including quite a few “Best of” product awards.

P.P.S. Buy one. Your iPad 2 will thank you.

P.P.P.S. Couldn’t resist including this super short gag reel. Enjoy. (I promise I won’t be doing any more video tech reviews any time soon.)








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Disclaimer: I received the ZAGGfolio in exchange for this review. All opinions, thoughts, videos and their accompanying subtitles are mine. I totally claim ownership of it all (except for the official ZAGG video, of course).

Girl’s World Valentine’s Day + Giveaway!!

January 23rd, 2012

Jennifer Paganelli and I have teamed up to bring you some fun Valentine Day Ideas using her “Girls World” book and patterns. If you’re thinking that a sewing project is in order for your special little girl for Valentine’s Day Jennifer has put together a beautiful book filled with 21 sewing projects for little girls. Utilizing your own sense of style and choices of fabrics you can make and remake these projects to suit any season, including Valentine’s Day.

What I love about Girl’s World is how Jennifer has designed patterns for every aspect of a girls world – fashion, accessories, decor…it’s all in here! Published by Chronicle Books, it’s a gorgeous feast for the eyes and is guaranteed to get those creative juices flowing just by cracking the spine. All patterns are enclosed and ready to go, inside the inner front cover pocket. The rest is an indulgent glimpse into the beautiful world of a little girl, and how you can recreate that in your own homes.

Now to Valentine’s Day – I would love to suggest a few projects that would be great bets to create for Cupid Day.

Sophie Glittered Apron

This simple tulle apron, would make a darling project for your little girl’s Valentine’s Day. Surprise her by creating this tulle apron with glitter ribbon. Then have her wear it over a sweet solid dress, the apron will totally jazz it up and look amazing! Don’t forget that you can always embellish with a simple heart pocket for a cute Valentine’s effect.

Gigi Ruffled Pillow
Check out the Gigi ruffled pillow! Isn’t it gorgeous as a throw pillow for a bed, or as an accent pillow? Perfect for the little girl who loves to cuddle up on her bed and tell you about the cute little boy she likes at school.

Valentine’s Day Banner
Project No.21 in the book is a Happy Birthday banner, but this project is so versatile you can easily work your magic and create a Valentine’s Day banner in a snap. Using pre-made felt letters you can mix it up and create a banner for any occasion or any name in your family!

Chloe Paper Doll Overnight Bag
This overnight sack is such a sweet way to say I love You to your little girl. If slumber parties are on the horizon, this would be a darling unique present that she can take along and know how much you love her. So sweet!

There is so much more that I can’t show you in one post (memory boards, pin wheels, canopy’s and dresses), you’ll have to run out and grab a copy to cherish. You can pick one up on Amazon.com too!

*** Giveaway! Jennifer Paganelli is giving one winner a copy of her book “Girls World”!!

Here’s how to enter. You can do as many of these as you’d like. Each one is worth one entry into our giveaway; please leave a separate comment for each one you do:
• “Like” Sis Boom on Facebook and leave a comment telling us you did.
• Visit Sisboom.com and leave a comment telling us what inspires you most from Jennifers collection of fabrics, patterns and books.
• Tweet about this giveaway and leave a comment with the URL of your tweet.
• Post in the SisBoom Facebook group and tell them you saw the review on Boutique Cafe!

Include a valid email address for our drawing. We’ll draw the winner from the comments and contact her via email. Deadline: Feb 3rd, 2012 (midnight). The winner will have 24 hours to claim her prize or a new winner will be chosen.

UPDATE: Congratulations to Shirley Clark for your Tweet:

January 30th, 2012 at 8:53 pm e
Tweeted the giveaway.
https://twitter.com/#!/embmimi/status/164194150307217408

You have WON the Jennifer Paganelli book Girl’s World! I have emailed you instructions for claiming your prize. Enjoy – this book is wonderful!

Thanks everyone for entering – more giveaways are coming so keep entering!

LOLA by Servane Barrau is Here! (+ Giveaway!)

January 13th, 2012

Big News! One of the most anticipated girls clothing lines in my world has finally launched and selling on www.servanebarrau.com. The girls clothing line is called LOLA (a name dear to my heart, as my daughter bears the same beautiful name). But the adoration is doubled by the fact that Servane was originally inspired by my own little daughter Lola to name her new collection and the results are adorable! What a thrilling thing to be able to tell my Lola as she grows up, that her little face inspired a collection of gorgeous clothes for girls around the globe. Pinch me please!

Click to view the Lola Pink Collection>>

When describing Lola Pink Servane says:

“The Lola line offers us this season bold colors, beautiful floral motifs, versatile designs and lightweight fabrics. This is also a partnership with a well known shoes Designer: Bear Feet Shoes. For this collection I took my inspiration from Asia, more precisely from Japan. All our unique and trademarked patterns/graphics are taken from nature or Kawaii inspired…”

Other elements used in Lola Pink include The Kokeshi dolls, which are wooden dolls from Japan. As well as the “Cuteness” aspect, which is a prominent part of the Japanese culture right now, from the noun kawaisa meaning “lovability”, “cuteness” or “adorableness”.

Express Yourself! Think Cute! Think Pink!

The Lola lineup will be rolling out in 4 collections – First on the agenda is the LOLA PINK Collection available right now on the website! Subsequent collections (ie: Lola Blue, Lola Exclusives, and Lola Essentials) will all mix’n match with each other as always, that’s one of the things Servane Barrau is known for. Be sure to watch Boutique Cafe over the coming weeks as each new collection launches, we’ll be sharing the details and offering great opportunities to WIN special pieces from this collection for your little darlings.

*** Giveaway! Servane Barrau Designs is giving one winner an adorable “Dotsy Dress” from the Lola Pink Collection!!

Here’s how to enter. You can do as many of these as you’d like. Each one is worth one entry into our giveaway; please leave a separate comment for each one you do:
• “Like” Servane Barrau Designs on Facebook and leave a comment telling us you did. **This step is critical in order to win!

Additional entries:
• Visit ServaneBarrauDesigns.com and leave a comment telling us which item from the Lola Pink Collection is your favorite.
• Tweet about this giveaway and leave a comment with the URL of your tweet.
• Post in the Servane Barrau Facebook group and tell them you saw the review on Boutique Cafe!

Include a valid email address for our drawing. We’ll draw the winner from the comments and contact her via email. Deadline: January 31st (midnight). The winner will have 24 hours to claim her prize or a new winner will be chosen.

update: Congratulations to Odessa Frey!! You have won the darling Dotsy Dress from Servane Barrau. I have emailed you instructions for claiming this prize!

Thanks to everyone who entered, more Servane Barrau giveaways will be happening soon!

So how DO you feed a hungry giant?

December 14th, 2011

Any time someone wants me to review a children’s book, I’m all over it. We are definitely bookworms in this family and enjoy any opportunity to add a new one to the collection…especially if it’s one my kids love reading over and over again. And that’s what happened when we were sent a copy of How Do You Feed a Hungry Giant? by Caitlin Friedman (illustrated by Shaw Nielsen).

How-Do-You-Feed-a-Hungry-Giant

We have read this book multiple times in the few days we’ve had it. George and Livi love it and it’s easy to see why. The illustrations are fun and colorful, the writing is clever (“You’re seriously not going to believe it.”) and the addition of lift-the-flap-style fun seals the deal.

The book includes 8 fun recipes perfect for feeding a hungry giant, including the popular Pizza-Sized Cookie. We’re anxious to try the Ginormous Blueberry Muffin. (Perhaps that will be our Christmas morning treat!)

I love this Q & A with the author. If you’re still wondering if you should buy How Do You Feed a Hungry Giant, this will help you place it in your shopping cart.

Q: What was the inspiration behind the story?
A: Well…I would have to say my kids. They were six when I wrote this story…the age of the priceless questions. You know what I’m talking about…do your toes ever stop growing? Why do chickens have wings if they don’t fly? I am sure that there was some Saturday morning that Declan (Oscar in the book) asked me how much food a giant would eat.
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Q: How can parents use Hungry Giant to talk to their children about the importance of charity?
A: The story is about a little boy helping to feed a lonely, hungry giant he finds sitting in his backyard. Oscar has a big heart and so does his mother…and at no point are they scared by the giant’s size. I used this story and Oscar’s instinct to help to talk to my kids about the opportunities they have in their day to help those around them. I also talked to them about thinking a little bigger…yes, you can help the boy in your class pour his milk AND you can help a boy you have never met by donating a can of food. If you are lucky enough to have what you need then you have a responsibility to help those that don’t.
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Q: In what ways can families incorporate philanthropy into their {holiday} traditions?
A: Take a moment to talk to your children about the issue of hunger, take a moment to teach your children to be grateful for the food in front of them and the family around them. If you are lucky enough to have what you need then you have a responsibility to help those that don’t. You could even have your children start their own food drive. Little kids LOVE looking through cabinets and finding things to donate. If they feel a part of it and like what they are doing is making a difference they will experience the joy of helping others.

We love giving the kids books at Christmas time. In fact, each child will receive one book from us this year. How Do You Feed a Hungry Giant would make the perfect addition to your current collection of children’s books. The best part? You won’t mind reading it over and over again, which is a good thing because you’ll find yourself doing just that!

Gamewright’s GUBS & City Square Off

December 12th, 2011

We are huge fans of Gamewright games in our home. (For past reviews of Gamewright games, click here.) My favorite thing about these games is they’re fun for everyone to play. I can find Chutes & Ladders and Candyland a bit tedious, but I rarely tire of Dweebies and Take the Cake. The same goes for our latest two favorites, GUBS and City Square Off.

GUBS was definitely a game for 10 and up. It had a lot of different types of cards, and we had to refer to the guide quite a bit throughout the game. I’m not sure we’ll ever have everything memorized, but once we got the hang of it, we enjoyed the strategy and scheming. It’s definitely hard keeping those little GUBS safe!

Gamewright_GUBS

As for City Square Off, this was by FAR our most favorite game…probably are most favorite game of Gamewright’s to date. Even George, our six-year-old, loved it! Granted, he didn’t quite of the strategic forethought as the older kids, but he totally understood how to play. Think of it as Tetris meets urban planning. We played this one constantly over Thanksgiving break. It’s definitely a must-have for the kids.

Gamewright City Square Off

Both games are award-winning (as usual for Gamewright) and both are extremely fun to play. And both need to be under your Christmas tree this year. (At least make sure City Square Off is!)—Emily

Now Accepting Reservations for our 2011 Holiday Gift Guide

November 17th, 2011

Our Annual Holiday Gift Guide is just about ready to make it’s Grand Appearance once again! We love hosting this guide each holiday shopping season for our eager shoppers as well as offering this venue to sell for our outstanding friends in business. If you have a shop or website that would like to be included in the Gift Guide this year please email me directly at: daria@boutiquecafe.com for details and put “Holiday Gift Guide” in the subject line. You can pay quickly and easily but scanning our QR code on your smartphone and pay directly – we will then email you the remainder of information you need to get your ad up in our Holiday Gift Guide.

We make inclusion easy, affordable and fun for small business owners! After all, that’s what we love more than anything at Boutique Cafe, helping businesses get noticed and doing so shouldn’t cost a fortune. We’re here to help and we love supporting you.

Let’s make it an outstanding year once again! – Daria

Deck your halls with A Vintage Poster {GIVEAWAY}

November 16th, 2011

And by a vintage poster I mean the darling ones from the online store by the same name.

A Vintage Poster logo

We’ve lived in our home for over three years and I still have blank walls. With this home I’ve been a bit pickier about how I decorate, choosing pieces that have meaning or make me happy. (Don’t worry…there are pictures of the kids here and there.)

When A Vintage Poster asked if I would be interested in reviewing a couple of their posters, I checked out their website before replying. I wanted to make sure their collection had something I would want in our home. Funny thing is, I found a few things. The simple designs and beautiful colors were perfect and I had a hard time narrowing down my choices…such a hard time, in fact, they were nice enough to send me two for review: Star Struck and Bookworm.

A Vintage Poster Star Struck...A Vintage Poster Bookworm

Star Struck is the perfect fit for our basement home theater and Bookworm is going to look just right next to our large black bookshelf in the office!

I was going to wait to write the review until I’d found the perfect frames but again, I am picky and it would’ve taken me way too long. With the holidays around the corner, I wanted to spread the word about A Vintage Poster because they have a poster for everyone on your list, including yourself.

Here are a couple of my other favorites:

A Vintage Poster Batik...A Vintage Poster Tinkerbell

Along with illustrated and quotable posters, A Vintage Poster offers custom designs. You can put your children’s names, family name, child’s name with birth info (birth date, weight, etc.) or whatever your heart desires (as long as it fits on the poster).

And fit it should because size isn’t problem. They offer 8×10 ($12), 11×14 ($14) and 18×24 ($28) sizes (pricing is only a titch more for custom designs). With those sizes, the variety of colors and the amount of designs, the possibilities are pretty much endless!

Just think what a great gift this would be this holiday season! You’d definitely be the favorite if you aren’t already!

*** Giveaway! A Vintage Poster is giving one winner her choice of three (3) posters in 8×10- or 11×14-inch size! ***


Here’s how to enter. You can do as many of these as you’d like. Each one is worth one entry into our giveaway; please leave a separate comment for each one you do:

•   Visit AVintagePoster.com and leave a comment telling us which poster is your favorite.
•   “Like” A Vintage Poster on Facebook and leave a comment telling us you did.
•   Tweet about this giveaway and leave a comment with the URL of your tweet.

Include a valid email address for our drawing. We’ll draw the winner from the comments and contact her via email. Deadline: November 23, 2011 (midnight). The winner will have 24 hours to claim her prize or a new winner will be chosen.

Chelsea Baby Little Luxury Baby Shoes

October 18th, 2011

Oh those tiny little toes! Nothing is more delicate and adorable than your newborn baby’s feet. As a new Mommy, you have the brief opportunity to kiss those little toes and dress them up in the cutest shoes.

Chelsea Baby has the answer to cute feet couture, with their adorable high end baby booties. This is an eco-friendly line of luxury mini footwear sized 0-6 months and 6-12 months. Eco-friendly that is, because of the use of Sensuede, a beautiful stain resistant material that is “100 per cent green in the milling process”.

I personally had the delight of receiving a pair of their “Bucky” shoes pictured above. They came beautifully packaged in a clear plastic box perfect for gifting right away, but that’s not all…not by a long shot. The Chelsea Baby shoes are incredibly plush and soft, featuring cotton fabric on the toe and with a unique snap on bouquet for girls and a snap on bow tie for boys.

At Chelsea Baby the styling of each tiny shoe is an irresistible indulgence! You can follow the lady who started it all, Chelsea Geenen herself on Twitter to learn about promotions, deals and the latest from this fab entrepreneur.

For your next baby shower, wow your new Mommy friend with luxury and style for the tiniest of toes. – Daria

PROMOTION
Chelsea Baby currently is running a 20% off promotion on their website for a limited time. Visit Chelsea Baby and click on the “DEAL” button at the side of their page – then share the promo on Facebook for your 20% off code. Sweet Deal!!

Sipping & saving with SodaStream

September 21st, 2011

We don’t drink a ton of soda but we do keep our outside fridge stocked so we always have access to some in case of emergency (e.g., last-minute BBQ, movie night). Plus, you gotta have root beer with your pizza and a carbonated, caffeinated beverage around 11pm when writing product reviews. Those are givens!

I’ve been intrigued by the SodaStream home soda system ever since I first heard my sister-in-law rave about it, but I wondered if it really was worth the investment in the system, bottles and flavorings. Yes, it’s more environmentally friendly than cans, but if that’s it’s only selling point, I’m not sold. (Sorry, it’s true.) It would have to make really good soda—and a lot of it at a reasonable price—for me to place one on my kitchen counter.

Guess what? I now totally have one on my kitchen counter and we absolutely LOVE it!

SodaStream_Genesis

SodaStream sent us their Genesis Soda Starter Kit plus a selection of their flavorings to see if they could win us over…and win us they did. Here’s a video of us giving our SodaStream Genesis a test run. Yes, it’s about 10 minutes long but every minute is worth it because you’ll see:

  • Me trying to figure out how to put the thing together.

  • Me being a smarta** to Nathan.

  • Madison learning how NOT to shake a SodaStream liter bottle to mix the flavoring.

  • Madison and I learning just what the “buzz” sounds like when pressing the button.

  • Me trying to figure out how to open the single serving packet of root beer flavoring.

  • George equating his tasting the root beer to “living in heaven” or some such craziness.

The video had me laughing out loud when I watched it (and wondering why Nathan didn’t tell me my shirt was all tucked up in back). He’s never going to be a professional videographer at this rate!


Since our first test run, we’ve sampled quite a few flavors from the variety pack and enjoyed every one. I have yet to give the diet cola flavor a taste test, but Diet Coke is a hard habit to break. Of course the fact that SodaStream diet flavors don’t have aspartame helps. (They use Splenda.)

SodaStream offers 30 regular, diet and caffeine-free flavors. Oh, and their regular flavors contain no high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS). The lack of HFCS and aspartame makes me feel better about giving my kids diet soda for sure. Other benefits? No heavy cans or large 2-liter bottles to store in my fridge. (That means more room for string cheese, Slim Fast and yogurt.) This image pretty much says it all:

SodaStream


While we may not make the switch completely to SodaStream (I like my Diet Vanilla Coke Zero…what can I say?), we will definitely keep our Genesis home soda system cranking out carbonated beverages for family night, pizza night, movie night, had a great day at school night—whatever the special occasion!

My new favorite sunglasses for work & play

August 11th, 2011

And by work I mean driving four kids from Utah to California with a very sunny, very long stretch of Nevada between the two states. By play I mean long stretches of fun in the local pool. No matter the activity, my new go-to sunglasses for extended anything are from Ryders Eyewear.

Ryders has been around since 1986 when Brent Martin, on his way to becoming the first Canadian Mountain Bike Champion, wanted a pair of high-performance sunglasses at a budget-friendly price. Ryders Eyewear was the result, and Brent’s been making stylish, sporty, sport-friendly eyewear ever since.

We make performance glasses for human powered activities that get your heart racing. Fun stuff like mountain biking, trail running, hiking, road cycling. If you want to wear your Ryders for other heart pumping activities like rollerblading with your pals, streaking the quad or naked bike riding – please be our guests (and send photos!)

You gotta love an eyewear company with a sense of humor! My favorite thing they do? This:
Making sunglasses is not sending rockets to the moon. What we do is keep it simple, get out of the way of the sunglasses and let them do their job. We make great sunglasses at a great price so that our customers can get outside and perform at their best.

Ryders Eyewear sent me their women’s Solace sunglasses, a sleek, lightweight pair of sunglasses that combine sport and casual…a hybrid of sorts.

Ryders Eyewear Solace

With shatterproof, polarized lenses to reduce glare plus UV protection and a scratch-resistant coating combined with a thermoplastic frame making them durable, flexible and light, you can see why I love these sunglasses for the pool. And the 11-hour car ride. (Flying objects are not unheard of somewhere between the Nevada and California state lines.)

I’ve already mentioned one of my two biggest reasons for loving these glasses (they’re super lightweight). The other reason is the superior coverage. The lenses on the Solace sunglasses are nice and big without being too big. There’s no errant sunlight making it’s way into my eyeballs; my entire view is polarized and shaded and I love it!

Ryders Eyewear Solace

Ryders Eyewear has an awesome selection of women’s sunglasses, from the Drill and Nitrous to the more casual Duchess and Fray designs. Love them all!

As for price, they are right on target with Brent’s vision to design high-performance, stylish, durable sunglasses at a reasonable price. The Solace sunglasses are under $70—a great price for all the benefits this pair offers. You’ll find styles for under $40 all the way up to just under $90. Can’t beat that!

Now if Ryders Eyewear could cut out as much noise as they do glare, the 11-hour drive would be even less painful!—Emily

Fresh Produce: Beach life meets everyday life

July 27th, 2011

I don’t know about you, but I’m all for beach life meeting everyday life, especially when you live in a landlocked state like Utah. That’s why I love the look of Fresh Produce clothing and was super excited when they approached me about a review on Boutique Cafe’s Daily Dish.

freshproduce_logo


First a bit about Fresh Produce:
It’s a long way from Long Beach, California to Boulder, Colorado… or is it? Fresh Produce first sprouted in 1984 in Long Beach, selling silk-screened t-shirts in bright graphics and custom jewelry at the ‘84 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles in the parking lot across the street from the coliseum. The concept then is the same as now – to bring the emotions, the colors, the sensations, the leisure of beach life to everyday life through fashion.

Known and loved by women ages 6 months to 60-plus for lush colors, year-round sensibility, simply inspired design and coastal comfort, Fresh Produce continues to delight customers around the globe.


The company sent me the Rio Crescent Moon Tunic in haystack and the Swing Capri in white. First I laundered the clothing according to the instructions to see how well they washed and wore. Check on that one! I will say I didn’t love ironing the tunic. (The pants didn’t need any ironing.) The sleeves made it a little tricky and even after a few attempts, I couldn’t get them looking right.

Apparently I didn’t sport the tunic quite right. I tied it rather than letting it the ties hang loose and I have to admit, I like the more casual look better. Here’s a photo from the site:

FreshProduce_crescent tunic

And here’s my take on it:

FreshProduceClothing1


FreshProduceClothing2


FreshProduceClothing3

The Swing Capri was super soft and super comfortable. It could be due to the 92% Rayon, 8% Lycra fabric or the nice, wide leg. Or both. Whatever it is, it works and makes for the most comfortable pair of pants you could own. The Rio Crescent Moon Tunic is also comfortable but not as “cool” as I thought it would be. Though it’s 100% cotton and on the thinner side, I still got a little toasty in it, but it would make for a great transitional shirt for summer to fall or spring to summer. And it is flowy and airy, though I think I prefer the more bright, “beachy” colors better like seaglass and sunrise.

Some of my other faves from the site:

msdmlmo_impromptudress-414_wht_1
Impromptu Dress


ksdtikp-kpjerseytiereddress_jcd_2
Girl’s Koi Pond Jersey Knit Dress


mlscwcd-coastalwrapcardi_blk_ls2
Coastal Wrap Cardigan


Cute, right? The only thing not super cute is the price, but I’m not one who usually buys loungewear-style clothing. Looking at other women’s apparel similar to Fresh Produce found at stores like Nordstrom, the pricing is right on par with other collections. That being said, I’m pretty sure Fresh Produce is a lot more fun and a heck of a lot more comfortable (and travel friendly)!—Emily

My girls are in love with Wolverine

July 14th, 2011

And I’m not talking about the X-Men character, though I kinda think he’s a bit of a hottie. I’m actually talking about Wolverine shoes...and their hiking shoes to be more exact.

Wolverine shoes

First, a bit about Wolverine:

The footwear, apparel and gear reflects the values of the craftsmen whose pride in their work has made Wolverine the gold standard for comfort, quality and performance. Wolverine products are among the finest to be found anywhere in the world, with advanced technologies that add unparalleled safety, durability, and especially comfort. Wolverine will handle the toughest days and keep coming back for more. They are RELENTLESS BY NATURE.

Wolverine sent us two pairs of their women’s waterproof hiking shoes. I kinda liked how pretty they were fresh out of the box:

Wolverine Shoes

Then I noticed this diagram on the inside of the lid:

Wolverine Shoes

And found this cute little dial under the sock liner:

Wolverine Shoes

So apparently these hiking shoes are awesome inside and out. They have this customized comfort system with four settings: I for enhanced inner support; O for increased outer support; F for firming things up; and C for added cushion. You remove the liner, choose your setting, set both disks the same and replace the liner. How great is that?

Question is, could these shoes hold up to a 13-year-old at a week-long camp for girls? And an 11-year-old who knows how to beat up a pair of shoes? I gave one pair to Madison and one to Lauren so they could test drive the Wolverines. Here’s what they had to say.

Madison
“Hi everybody! This is Madison. My mom asked me to write a review on the shoes Wolverine. I took them to Oakcrest {a five-day camp for girls} and used them for hiking. They were SUPER comfy and didn’t give me blisters on the first time I wore them! I love the design on the shoe. I had to use them on a three and a half hour hike and my feet didn’t hurt one bit. I heard people complaining about their feet, but I didn’t! They were even good in the mud and rain. When we were hiking down, lots of people were slipping. I didn’t fall because of the great traction on the bottom of the sole. These shoes were the best!”

Lauren
“Hey people! This is Lauren and I am writing a review on the shoes I used. The first time I used them I walked to and back from the school and my feet didn’t hurt only my legs did. The second time I used them was when we went on the alpine slide and while on that I slipped! {Clarification: The shoes had nothing to do with her flipping her sled. She was going way too fast around a turn. The end result? Fiberglass burns and a gash on her knee that need over 11 stitches!} The shoes looked great with blood-red inside and little dots only on the right shoe! Just kidding. They were my favorite tennis shoes and still are and the red came right out

—————
Yes, I totally washed them in the washing machine in cold water on gentle cycle and then air dried them. I hesitated to do so due to the leather but she had really bloodied up the inside of the one shoe. They washed up perfectly and are good as new! I was super impressed! Both girls raved about how comfortable they were. I’m kinda sad I gave both pairs away. Dang.

Wolverine shoes are not super cheap, but if I were an avid hiker or outdoorswoman, I would make the investment. These babies survived camp with nary a blister; a trip down the Alpine slide before rolling around in fiberglass, rocks and dirt; and being washed in the washing machine. If they can survive all that, they will definitely last years and years. And years!—Emily

Coghlan’s Bug-Eye Headlight is a total hit!

June 30th, 2011

Let me start out by saying we are NOT campers. Camping for me is a Super 8 or Motel 6. Or a tent in the backyard. That doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy s’mores over a campfire (in my backyard) or Dutch oven peach cobbler (yay for church girls camp!). And the gadgets are kinda fun too. We actually have some camping gear, though it needs a good dusting once I actually locate it in the garage.

One thing I don’t have to locate is the Coghlan’s Bug-Eye Headlight my kids received so we could review it for the Daily Dish. I always know where it is: either on George’s or Livi’s head or on the kitchen desk when not on George’s or Livi’s head.

Coghlans Bug Eye Headlight

The kids LOVED this headlamp the minute they put it on…which was the minute I opened the package.

The Bug-Eye Headlight is compact, lightweight and designed just for kids. Powered by a bright white LED – that never needs replacing. Comfortable elastic head strap. Perfect for kids who love the outdoors!

I consider the backyard outdoors, and George and Livi have loved sporting this headlamp while looking for bugs (and lost toys) in the evening. They’ve also sported it inside a homemade fort in the great indoors. It’s comfortable and stays securely attached to their little heads.

I’m thinking we’ll be packing it for our trip to visit Grandma and Grandpa in August because there’s always some serious backyard camping when we go! I’ll probably need a second one so I don’t have to keep an eye on the timer as George and Livi share. (At less than $9, it’s a no-brainer!) I like to limit the number of battles and they’ve had a couple over Coghlan’s Bug-Eye Headlight. Can’t blame them!—Emily

Pearl Izumi’s jewel of a tee

June 23rd, 2011

pearlizumi_logoI am a fair-weather cyclist. In other words, it has to be at least 70 degrees if I’m cycling outdoors. And I also hit spin class 2 to 3 times a week…and it gets pretty hot in that spin room even with 5 fans going full blast. Because of the heat both outside and in, I pair my Pearl Izumi bike shorts (thank you, Pearl outlet in Park City!) with a tank top. (I’d go nearly naked if I had that kind of self-confidence…and if the rec center allowed it.)

When I was sent Pearl Izumi’s women’s Fly Top from their P.R.O. line, I was all over giving this baby a test drive—or ride.

Pearlzumi_ProFlyTop_black

The top features Pearl Izumi’s In-R-Cool fabric technology “that cools the body for optimal comfort.” The fabric also:

  • Provides optimal moisture transfer with a “superior hand feel” (yay for super lightweight, super soft fabric!)

  • Flatlock seams (yay for no chafing!)

  • Reflective elements for low-light visibility (yay for not getting hit!)

  • Sublimated graphics (yay for something that sounds super cool!)

Yes, it’s part of their running collection, but I’m way okay with mixing and matching! Can you tell how lightweight and breathable this fabric is? Just look at it lying on the table—it’s nearly paper thin (or at least cardstock thin)!

PearlIzumi_ProFlyTop1

You can even see my fingers (and ring) through the fabric:

PearlIzumi_ProFlyTop2

Because of the everlasting winter here in Utah, I didn’t get to try the Fly Top until the Goldillocks ride in May. But it was the perfect weather—and event—to do so. It was a 42-miler that started out when the weather was still a bit nippy but ended up in the pleasant 70s. Though I survived my first long ride, Pear Izumi’s Fly Top did more than survived; it performed beautifully! It was almost like wearing nothing at all, which is nice if you’re into that sort of thing.

PearlIzumi_ProFlyTop3

Unlike wearing nothing, the Fly Top does provide you with sun protection. The body has a UPF of 40+ and the mesh a UPF of 30+. I just wish I’d had sunscreen with 50+ between the end of the cap sleeves and the top of my arm warmers!

Available in black, red and white, Pear Izumi’s P.R.O. Fly Top is a must for runners and cyclists alike…especially those who only cycle (or run) in fair weather.—Emily

Hushamok MySeat

June 15th, 2011

Hushamok MySeatAfter I reviewed and loved Hushamok’s hammock and I eager to also test out their MySeat. And I’m not disappointed! It’s a really great cushy seat perfect for your alert and interactive infant and you can begin using it once baby reaches around 12 weeks. It’s not a swing, but it’s natural movement is great and calming.

The MySeat can be used for infants, toddlers and young children. The weight limit is up to 50 lbs so both my almost-2-year-old and my 4-month old can take advantage of this nifty seat. The MySeat has a great natural look and I think it looks especially great with the Okoa stand. It’s not too tricky to figure out. My one complaint is that the shoulder straps aren’t adjustable in terms of length. They’re adjustable in terms of height but I’d like to be able to tighten/loosen them. I found a solution for it as you can see in my video, but I’m much prefer having adjustable shoulder straps. The crotch strap does adjust. The MySeat sits low enough to the ground that I’m quite confident that my toddler will be able to quickly catch on to getting in and out of it without any trouble.

The MySeat feels exceptionally durable and I trust that it will last a long, long time. If you’re in the market for a piece of baby furniture that will last more than 6 months you’ve found it! I love that I can keep on using my stand and I can fairly easily switch between the MySeat and the hammock. – Katie


FlipOut keeps you guessing… {giveaway}

June 14th, 2011

...and switching and swapping and flipping! We are already fans of Gamewright games thanks to their Take the Cake and Dweebies games, so when they asked us to review their new FlipOut game, we said, “Heck, yes!”

Gamewright FlipOut

FlipOut, which has already won six awards including the iParenting Media Award, Parents’ Choice Gold and Creative Child Magazine Seal of Excellence Award, is geared for children ages 8 and older and can handle 2 to 5 players. The object of the game is to get at least four of the same cards in a row by switching, swapping and flipping cards (your own and those of your opponent(s)). It gets a little tricky because each card is double sided, so what you see isn’t necessarily what your opponents see, and they may take the exact card you were hoping to keep!

The game claims “easy-to-learn rules,” but I will say the first time my girls took it out to play, they gave up after only getting through half the directions. Fortunately I don’t give up that easily when it comes to board games, so we gave it one more shot, this time with me reading through the rules with them. And I will admit, it took me a couple run-throughs to understand all the different options (aka “actions”) you could do each turn and how the whole process worked. But once we got going (and reread as we played), we finally got the hang of it and had a really great time thwarting each other’s efforts to line up four of a kind.

Don’t let our little struggle with the directions make you shy away from Gamewright’s new FlipOut. It really is a fun game and I love that children and adults can play together (kind of like Dweebies!), plus it teaches children visual discrimination, strategic thinking (my favorite part) and color identification. That’s a Gamewright game for you: learning and fun all wrapped into one!—Emily

*** Giveaway! Gamewright is giving away one copy of FlipOut! ***

Here’s how to enter. You can do as many of these as you’d like. Each one is worth one entry into our giveaway; please leave a separate comment for each one you do:

•    Visit Gamewright.com and leave a comment telling us which other games you’d love to try.
•     “Like” Gamewright on Facebook and leave a comment telling us you did.
•    Tweet about this giveaway and leave a comment with the URL of your tweet.
•    Update your Facebook status with a link to this giveaway and leave a comment telling us you did.

Include a valid email address for our drawing. We’ll draw the winner from the comments and contact her via email. Deadline: June 28, 2011 (midnight). The winner will have 24 hours to claim her prize or a new winner will be chosen.

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