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Happy Holidays: Daily Dish faves from 2009

December 23rd, 2009

I’m slowly learning there really is no work/life balance thing for me. Things go a lot more smoothly around here if the balance shifts in favor of family and so I’ll be taking some time off from posting Daily Dish reviews during the holidays. I might even find time to send out Christmas cards and make a few neighbor plates. (Who am I kidding?)

I’ll be back in full review force on January 5th. Until then enjoy some hot cocoa or hot apple cider while catching my favorite reviews from 2009. Happy holidays!
...

Em’s Favorite Reviews, 2009 Edition

Babycape—the superhero of winter coats
Loved testing the Babycape last winter and plan to use it again this winter season. Beautiful, soft, toasty and perfect for infants and toddlers. And guess what? One cape will last your child several seasons!

Pop Fly hits a home run with my kids
My kids still love Justin Roberts’ Pop Fly CD. It’s one of the most fun, danceable, groovable children’s CDs out there.

Time to change tactics!
My toddler has yet to be potty trained (she’s the most stubborn of the bunch) and so we’re still utilizing the diaper/wipes case. My favorite to date is JJ Cole’s Tactic Changing Purse. It goes from car to gym to church and is the perfect size for wipes, diapers, ointment and even a small change of clothes. (Fortunately we don’t need that anymore!)

I just can’t get enough!
We have featured See Kai Run multiple times on the Daily Dish and I never get tired of these perfect little children’s shoes. The pink Mary Jane Jennaes pictured in this post were worn by my daughter nearly every day of the week until she could no longer squish fit into them. We wore those shoes out and yet they still looked great enough to hand down to my friend’s little girl. Quite possibly my favorite pair of shoes Livi owns…or owned. {sniff}

Anne Taintor—better than popping Prozac
Anne Taintor’s vintage humor makes me laugh out loud every time I see it. It’s so my style. And yes, I’ve often wished I’d actually told my girlfriend to “stop me before I volunteer again.”

The HP Mini 1000 Vivienne Tam Edition: The hottest clutch to hit the runway!
I have used my HP Mini 1000 Vivienne Tam Edition notebook (or Vivienne Tam for short) more times than I can count—and had more women ooh and aah over it every time I pull it out of my handbag. I still need to wipe the drool off the keyboard when I’m done tweeting, Facebooking, emailing and updating my blog via this handy handbag-sized notebook.

Add some ambiance to your favorite aroma
I use my Contempo Candle Warmer Lamp every day. I love this alternative to sooty candles and the danger an open flame around a curious preschool-age boy poses. I just replaced my fruity pomegranate candle with a more appropriate spice one for the holidays. The smell is wonderful and the light gives off just the right glow in the evening.

Hapari makes swimsuit shopping a happy experience
Fabulous tankinis and bikinis in super fun prints combined with high-quality fabric and construction make these suits some of my faves. I’m also a big fan of their Shore, a sort of half-shirt-meets-cap-sleeve style layering tee that I’ve found works wonderfully well under dresses.

Photofiddle Dad this Father’s Day—he’ll love it!
I have my Photofiddled canvas artwork displayed on our dresser and not a day goes by that I don’t absolute love looking at it. Nothing like creating a work of art from a digital file!

Flip goes the world!
By now you’ve heard of Flip video and their handy, dandy line of mini handheld video cameras. I have two, the Mino and the UltraHD and the UltraHD is by far my favorite. Though not as compact as the Mino it takes superb video. We use our Flip all the time; so much so we forget we own a “real” handheld video camera. That thing has an inch of dust on it by now.

Kickin’ it on a mini kick scooter
George rocked and rolled his Kickboard USA mini kick scooter all summer long. Though we discovered leaving it in direct sunlight for extended periods of time fades the beautiful orange color, this is still my son’s favorite scooter and I love that it’s more stable than the Razor ones my girls ride. If you’re in the market for a preschool-friendly scooter, this is it!

CurlyQ Cuties for your little cutie!
Looking for a unique children’s gift? Heck, even an adult would love the custom monsters you can make using CurlyQ Cuties’ online Monster-Maker. George’s CurlyQ Cutie is still one of his favorite “reviews”—he loves that thing!

My new favorite tote
My Ann Judge Everyday tote served me well during our last vacation and it’s still my go-to bag when I need to pack more than the necessities like lip gloss, wallet and cell phone. Well made, beautiful and perfect for travel overseas and around town.

Jewelry storage disguised as art
Beautiful fabric + hand-finished wood dowels + convenient hooks = the perfect way to manage/display/organize/make sense of your earring collection. Need I say more?

Can functional be fun? Heck, yes!
Though one of my most recent reviews it still makes my fave list for 2009. The wit and real-life wisdom of Knock Knock’s products make for some serious chuckles if not outright laughter. Perfect for gift giving whether for yourself or that annoying coworker.

Our review dates are already filling up for the first quarter of 2010. If you would like your product or site featured on the Daily Dish, shoot us an email at dailydish{at}boutiquecafe.com.

See you in 2010!

Sittin’ Ritzy!

January 4th, 2009

Boutique Cafe’s Daily Dish is where you’ll find 99% of my product reviews. The other 1% comes from Polliwogged, a new site from the ZRecs network that launched in September. Most of the time there is very little overlap but once in a while I am asked to review a product I’ve either already reviewed on Boutique Cafe or have plans to review on Boutique Cafe. This is one of those times, but like the SoYoung Mother diaper bag, it’s worthy of a double mention. Plus, this Daily Dish review comes complete with a fabulous promo code—something you won’t see at the end of the Polliwogged review!

Here is my take on the Ritzy Sitzy shopping cart cover from Itzy Rizy, first posted on Polliwogged in early December, 2008:

Itzy RitzyInfant and toddler shopping cart covers have become a must-have for germ-conscious parents – you know, those parents who still rinse their baby’s pacifier off when it drops on the floor? I have four children and haven’t rinsed a pacifier in months (only when it “drops” into another infant’s mouth); I didn’t think I would need for a shopping cart cover until the Ritzy Sitzy in Perfect 10 Paisley showed up on my doorstep.

Yes, shopping carts are filled with germs, but it’s all about strengthening the immune system, right? I didn’t want to take the time to strap in a cart cover before strapping in my baby, but when I discovered all of the Ritzy Sitzy’s features I was intrigued enough to give it a go.

The true “aha!” moment was when I read how it also fits high chairs, double shopping carts (think Costco) and park swings. Though not disgusted by shopping carts, the state of many a restaurant high chair has turned my stomach. We used the Ritzy Sitzy on my oldest daughter’s birthday when we hit a local restaurant for dinner. Since it was our first time using the Ritzy Sitzy, it took a minute to figure out how to strap it on, but once we did I was impressed with its extra padding, safety belt and extra toy loops and pockets.

Itzy RitzyFortunately the Ritzy Sitzy is machine-washable, because our little girl enjoys her fries and always seems to hide a few in her high chair. We didn’t use the toy loops or pockets, but if I had an extra long mall trip planned I would stuff those pockets with snacks and attach her favorite fabric book and pacifier. Plus, I like variety and so the Ritzy Sitzy’s reversible design is an added bonus for me.

I can’t say I’m completely sold on the shopping cart cover thing; perhaps it’s due to their price and that fact that my first three children survived just fine without one. But I am a fan of the Ritzy Sitzy when it comes to high chairs and I always have ours at the ready in our van in case we brave a restaurant with kids in tow. It makes my dinner go down a little easier knowing my daughter isn’t enjoying someone else’s.

The Ritzy Sitzy comes in a wonderful variety of fabrics – good luck choosing just one!—Emily

Update: We have had adult-only dinner dates since this review so our Ritzy Sitzy had its own little Christmas vacation. But every time I opened the trunk of our van, I saw it ready and waiting for the next germy high chair and that meant one less thing to worry about during the holiday craziness!

What I didn’t mention in the Polliwogged review is Itzy Ritzy’s eco-friendly collection made from bamboo, which is sustainable and grown without pesticides and fungicides. Naturally anti-bacterial, anti-microbial, and deodorizing, bamboo even has an inherent UV protection factor. Itzy Ritzy’s baby bamboo fabric is luxurious and super soft but still practical because it’s machine washable!

* Promotion! Itzy Ritzy is offering Daily Dish readers 20% off their purchase! Simply enter code “Boutique” (without the quotes) at checkout. Offer expires February 9, 2009.

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