Archive for the ‘Baby Gear’ Category

Brooklyn Baby Expo 2013

Tuesday, June 4th, 2013

The kids and I trekked down to Brooklyn on Sunday for the A Child Grows in Brooklyn Baby Expo and had a really great time. I was invited as a blogger, which meant I got a cool “Press” badge and a chance to hang out in the media lounge while the kids made crafts and Caroline got a sparkle tattoo. The gingers did GREAT for a couple of preschoolers in a very hot, very crowded, slightly boring-for-kids event. Well, besides all the times Caroline disappeared. At least the place was totally full of moms and moms-to-be who were happy to point her back in my direction.

Since I was visiting from out of town, not everything at the Expo applied to me (Although it did make me super jealous of how much stuff is in/close to Brooklyn – why aren’t there any rock & roll toddler party locations in Connecticut?!)  but I still got to check out some super cool brands, learn some new stuff and came home with a sweet swag bag. Caroline ate more than her share of Ella’s Kitchen pouches and Sabra hummus and cried because she only got two samples of Happy Baby crisps. In case you couldn’t tell, the food was her favorite part.

Thanks so much to Melissa for inviting me and the ladies at A Child Grows in Brooklyn for putting such a fantastic day together! If you’re a parent in the NYC area I’d recommend signing up for their newsletter so you don’t miss next year’s event – besides the great information, I saw probably a hundred people leave with awesome strollers, playpens, bikes, high chairs and more. Seriously, the raffles and giveaways were bananas.

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The expo was in the International School of Brooklyn. I’m suffering from a severe case of school envy.

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Food by Fairway. Another thing I wish we had in Connecticut.

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Sparkle tattoo courtesy of Dazzle Divaz, who were so sweet with her.

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Caroline’s new friend is from Yellow Sneaker Productions. Like I’ve said, she’s not afraid of anything, from the balloon-animal making clowns to hand puppets.

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I spy with my little eye…a book I already love!

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The guy from Dapple Baby really knew his stuff, and I’m excited to start washing Evan’s disgusting milk cups in their Baby Bottle & Dish Liquid.

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How adorable are these personalized prints from StrangeBirdy Studios?? The cutest.

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Kidville had a great child play area with sitters available so I could attend the photography seminar without any little people climbing on me.

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Sensory tubs: not for the faint of heart.  THE MESS, MY GOD, THE MESS.

After the expo we met up with my friend Sara, who showed us around. We walked doooown Park Slope to a very busy playground, found some Italian Ice and then walked back uuuuup Park Slope. The gingers walked the whole thing (besides a few short piggy back rides) and slept in the car the whole way home. They both went to be at 6 pm on Monday too. Good job Brooklyn!

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Disclosure: I was given free passes & the media swag bag as a thank you for attending, but wasn’t required to post/share anything. I just had a really great time!

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TeetheMe!

Thursday, May 24th, 2012

I love getting mail. More specifically, I love getting some of the coolest new products for babies and moms delivered to my door in an adorable box.

teetheme box

TeetheMe is a subscription service and community for moms to help us wade through the zillions of baby products flooding the market. Every month, 4 or 5 of the hottest items are shipped right to your door, hand picked by in-the-know moms and tailored to your child’s age (anywhere from newborn to 3 years).  Then you can log in to their online community to rate and give feedback on your items and discuss everything kid and baby related with other Teethers. At $24 a month, it would be a fantastic shower gift!

But I know what you really want to know is – WHAT’S IN THE BOX?

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teetheme box may contents

Here’s the full scoop on what I got (for the record, this box was specifically for Caroline):

Earth Mama Angel Baby Bottom Balm – a company I already love and trust and perfect for Caroline’s super sore bottom.

NurturMe organic, gluten-free dried fruits and veggies – Four packets of NurturMe dried organic baby food (2 peas and 2 apples). Since we’re past the pureed food stage I mixed the apples with yogurt and the peas with mac’n'cheese and the kids LOVED it.

Dr. Bloom Chewable Jewels – Rectangle pendent necklace and a bracelet that are 100% safe for teething babies to chew on. Caroline LOVES these sort of a ridiculous amount, especially with her canines coming through.

Dr. Robin for kids – Samples of their all-natural, chemical free lotion, baby shampoo and sunscreen.

Bridgewater Candle Company – a votive sized spring-scented candle from a company that is working to end child hunger.

Greenleaf Scented Envelope Sachet – OH MY GOD, the whole box smelled FANTASTIC thanks to the classic linen sachet. They suggest putting it in the bottom of a trash can, diaper pail or hamper but I tucked mine into a bookcase and shake it every couple of days to refresh the scent.

Since the Chewable Jewels on their own retail for about $20, I’d say this was a great deal. I also loved learning about new products – I never would have known about NurturMe baby food and now I can’t wait to sneak more peas into the kids. And if you get something in your box you really really love, you can visit TeetheMe.com to buy more!

Here’s Caroline checking out some of our haul:

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Uh, maybe we should open that before you try to eat it?

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That's much better for biting!

If you’re ready to be a Teether too, sign up on the TeetheMe website! If you buy a six month membership you get 1 month free and if you buy a whole year’s membership you get 2 months free! Like I said, this would be a GREAT shower gift – what new mom doesn’t want to try out all the hottest baby stuff?

Disclaimer: I was provided with a 1 month trial of TeetheMe free of charge for review purposes, but no other compensation was provided.  All opinions and photos are my own.

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Leading Lady Review and Giveaway

Tuesday, February 7th, 2012

There’s been a rash of bra-fitting revelations on the internet recently (for a really good laugh check out Mandy’s), where everyone realized wearing a bra in the right size is SO MUCH BETTER. I’ve been thinking about getting fitted for a long time – it’s one of those things I’ve got on my “To Do Now That I’m A Real Grown Up And Stuff” list. But because I’m still nursing I figured I’d have to suffer through a few more months of horrible saggy chesticles before I could upgrade.

And THEN I got an email from Leading Lady that said even though they knew I was weaning Caroline, they loved my blog and thought might enjoy their nursing bras and would I be interested in doing a review?

How about “Yes” and “Hell Yes” and “HOLY COW this might be the best opportunity I’ve ever gotten from blogging.”

I used the size calculator on the Leading Lady site to figure out my size (they even have a cool printable tape measure in case your kids ran off with yours months ago) and told them if we were going for function I could really use something for Stroller Strides but with Valentine’s Day coming up it sure would be nice to have something that wasn’t hideous, pokey, and ripped.

They sent me a Sport Wirefree Nursing Bra and a Lace-Cup Wirefree Nursing Bra. I love them both SO MUCH I actually took pictures of myself wearing them to show you. Then I thought better than to post topless pictures of myself on my baby blog and deleted them. You’re welcome. But I can assure you they make my boobs look awesome. The sport bra really helped control the, uh, bouncing problem I had when it came to jumping jacks at Stroller Strides. It’s the first bra with a full sling (meaning even when you fold the outer part down there’s still fabric across your boob) that I’ve EVER liked – the opening is large enough to nurse without having to yank it all over the place. The lace bra is GORGEOUS and not even the tiniest bit scratchy. It blows the horrible “sexy” underwire nursing bra I bought at a cheap big-box store out of the water. It was so comfortable I even slept in it. I sort of can’t believe I hadn’t heard of Leading Lady before, but will absolutely be ordering from them again.

Leading Lady is a family owned company that’s been selling nursing, maternity and full-figured bras for more than 70 YEARS so they really know their stuff. Their nursing bras range in size from 34B to 48F and their full-figured bras are available from 34A to 56G – which if you ask me includes a lot of women that wouldn’t really like to be considered “full-figured” *ahem ME ahem*. The site offers bras, tanks and sleepwear. They have a great selection – how clever is a nursing bra with a hidden pattern for the baby? You can search by size, type and category, including specialty categories like latex-free and organic. They even have a Breastfeeding A-Z Guide on their site full of really great information. And if you were wondering, I think their prices are extremely reasonable, especially considering what nursing bras from other companies cost. And right now new Facebook fans will receive 10% off by liking Leading Lady between now & Feb. 14, while all fans of Leading Lady can tweet “I Love @LeadingLadyBras” on Feb. 14 and receive a special 10% off code.

Yes, I’m gushing. I promise there was no gushing required when they offered to send me a bra to try (they’re probably super embarrassed by me right now), but I truly can’t help it. I’m so excited to find a company I like so much, has such a great product AND agreed to let me give YOU a free bra!

That’s right, you could win an e-certificate good for one free bra from the Leading Lady collection PLUS free shipping.

Just leave a comment on this post telling me why you NEED a new bra.

For extra entries, you can follow @LeadingLadyBras on Twitter and like Leading Lady on Facebook or you can follow me on Twitter or like bebehblog on Facebook . Just leave a comment telling me what you did (or what you already do). So if you did all five things it would be five comments.

Right now they only ship to the US and can’t ship to P.O. boxes so giveaway is limited to those who qualify (sorry Canadians!) No duplicate comments or cheating of any kind. I’ll draw a winner using Random.org sometime this weekend.

 Disclaimer: Leading Lady provided me with 2 bras so I could give an honest review for my post, all opinions are my own. No other compensation was provided. They didn’t even ask me to include product links or make you like them for the giveaway. Leading Lady is good people.

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Friday, June 24th, 2011

Today I’m going to write a love note to my stroller.

Dear Baby Jogger City Select,

Can I just call you BJ? I feel like we’re definitely close enough for nicknames, since we spend so much time together.  I just wanted you to know I love you and appreciate you. You were a wise choice.

xoxo
Suzanne

Right now my husband is wondering why I don’t ever write HIM such nice love notes. Usually they just say “Make sure you watch when the dog poops. I think he ate a sock.” We’re super romantic.

Back when I was pregnant with Caroline, I decided that this time around I was going to shell out for a good quality stroller even if the price sent me into early labor. Because holy CRAP do you know what a “mid-range” stroller costs? I could practically buy a BABY for that much money (disclaimer: I do not actually support or condone baby buying). But I was never crazy about the stroller(ssssssss) I bought for Little Evan and figured I could put all the money I was saving with hand-me-downs towards something nice. E practically choked to death when he saw what I wanted to spend, but I think he agrees now it was a good purchase.

After much debating and ordering and cancelling and blog posting, I eventually settled on the Baby Jogger City Select with the doubles kit. I loved it the second I took it out of the box, I loved it when I was using it as a single stroller for Little Evan, but I love it even more now that it’s been 6 months and I’m ready to recommend it.

My little monkey in the CS as a single while Caroline was still an inside baby

PROS:
- Can be a single stroller or double stroller (with kit)
- HUGE sun canopy
- Easy to steer
- HUGE basket under seats
- Adjustable handle height for tall or short people
- Folds with (one) seat attached in either position
- Has an adapter for my Chicco car seat
- Folds with seat attached in lower position & car seat adapter in upper position
- Disassembles really easily & quickly to fit in small spaces
- Hand brake on the side is easier to use than a foot brake (especially in flip flops)
- My diaper bag hangs easily from the handle (which it says VERY CLEARLY you shouldn’t do, but I’m a rebel)
- Toddler likes it
- Baby likes it
- Good telephone customer service
- Parts are easy to replace (I replaced a broken brake/rear axle myself in less than 2 minutes)
- Straps are easy to adjust
- I think it looks nice and stylish (totally an important factor)
- Super easy to reconfigure seats
- Seats can be assembled a zillion different ways

I was CONVINCED having all the different seating arrangements was SUPER IMPORTANT in a double stroller, as if forcing my children to just sit facing forward was some sort of parenting travesty. When obviously the parenting travesty is that I’m using a stroller at all instead of wearing them in an organic cotton and hemp wrap I wove myself (I LOVE my babies. Why would I want to PUSH them away from me?). And even though I’m sure everyone would survive perfectly well in a standard side-by-side, we use the different seat configurations ALL the time.

 

Infant seat and forward facing full sized seat
Infant seat and full sized seat facing backwards
Two full sized seats facing forwards (also, cool whale picture, right?)
Caroline in full sized seat at 5 1/2 months
Seats facing each other – of course, THIS happens, but sometimes THIS helps calm down a fussy baby.
Both seats backwards – works great at the end of a busy day when everyone needs quiet time
Two full sized seats facing away from each other – will be useful in the future to separate squabling siblings

CONS:
- In some of the positions, the seats only fit if they’re not reclined/have the footrest down
- Seats don’t recline very far
- Brake sometimes doesn’t fully disengage
- My brake broke after only 4 months of use (covered under warranty)*
- Email customer service wasn’t great*
- Everything costs extra (the bars across each seat, cup holders, rain canopy, etc)
- A little front heavy, which means it takes a little effort to get it up onto a curb (but not INCREDIBLY HARD, which some reviews I read online seemed to imply)
- Sometimes the folding mechanism sticks and I struggle to get it closed
- The seat is a LITTLE on the smaller side, so if you have a very tall toddler they might be kind of crowded (but I think that would be a problem with ANY stroller)

Wow, my list of negative stuff sounds REALLY negative, but I swear I really do love this stroller. I use it 4 times a week at Stroller Strides (including sometimes jogging), walking around my hilly neighborhood, at the crowded aquarium, on the gravel paths at the Seaport, and at the mall. I had no trouble hauling it in and out of the van when I was 9 months pregnant or when I was 4 weeks post partum. I’m planning to buy the ride-on glider attachment soon, so the toddler can stand during the kind of mostly-running-around-but-he-might-get-tired outings we often take during the summer. It also makes it a TRIPLE stroller, so if we have another baby we’re already all set.

I don’t miss the snack tray and cup holder from my old travel system stroller, but I DO recommend buying the belly bars. It keeps Little Evan in the stroller even when I *ahem* don’t buckle the straps and is perfect for attaching toys.

I purchased my stroller (the 2011 version) from PishPoshBaby and was very happy with them – good customer service, very fast free shipping, and no sales tax. I also tracked down a teeny tiny discount code after a few minutes Googling, although it was only applied to the accessories and not the stroller.

So was that EVERYTHING YOU EVER DREAMED OF? Are you jealous? Are you bored to death? Are you going to buy one of your very own right this minute?

*So the story with the brake is one tiny spring somehow got twisted and it locked up my wheels. I called to ask if I could get just that ONE piece replaced and the person I talked to asked me to email a picture. I did, waited, emailed again, waited, emailed again and then gave up and called back. Second customer service rep just said “Give me your serial number right now. A whole new rear axle is on its way.” I had it within 2 days at zero cost. Eventually CS rep #1 emailed me back that she was still checking on sending me just a spring and I told her the problem was fixed. I did NOT say “WHY DIDN’T YOU JUST SEND ME THE WHOLE THING SINCE IT WAS OBVIOUSLY NOT THAT HARD??” But I wanted to.

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Help, Help Me Mamas

Monday, September 27th, 2010

I learned some lessons on round 1 of the baby ride, especially when it came to baby gear. We bought stuff we liked, we bought stuff we hated, we bought stuff that seemed unnecessary but is OMG VITALLY IMPORTANT and we bought stuff that seemed VITALLY IMPORTANT but ended up being useless.

I discovered a “co-sleeper” is just a  fancy word for “$150 bassinet” and if you plan to actually sleep with the baby you can save yourself $150.

The high chair I thought was very very necessary is collecting dust in the dining room while the clamp-on Phil & Ted’s chair I thought was probably a huge waste of money gets used 3x a day.

Nursery bedding sets are a joke. Buy a pack of 3 fitted sheets. The end.

If your baby hates tummy time, there is no tummy time mat on the planet that will convince them they don’t.

Sometimes a $7 umbrella stroller is all you need – and sometimes spending $400 on a car seat is totally worth it.

But if there was one most important lesson I learned, it’s to READ THE REVIEWS and LISTEN TO YOUR FRIENDS when it comes to baby stuff. If someone on the internet says “Hey, this high chair had a bunch of pieces fall off after a few weeks” they’re probably not making that up. And when your friend says “My kid REALLY loves that Sophie giraffe teether thing” you should stop balking at the $21 price tag and just BUY ONE. So when it comes to the stuff we’re going to need for round 2, I’m not spending a single cent until I get some advice from you.

We need a crib. Eventually. After Baby Sandy starts sleeping in 4 hour chunks of time, outgrows the co-sleeper and I decide I need my bed back. I’m thinking Ikea – they seem pretty well liked, I don’t think they’ve had any major recalls, and some even convert to toddler beds.

Advice needed #1: Does anyone own an Ikea crib they love? Or hate?

We need at least one double stroller. Probably two. I want a side-by-side jogger for Stroller Strides and in case I ever actually, you know, jog. Plus I want a tandem double for regular use, like at the mall or the aquarium or walking around the neighborhood. Since I’m not really interested in the jogging part, my plan is to buy a used side-by-side cheap (like really cheap, like probably from my friend Sarah for $20)(if she still has it)(Hey Sarah, I still want your jogger) and invest in a tandem.

Advice needed #2: Does anyone have a tandem double stroller they love? Or hate? My top choices so far are the Baby Jogger City Select, the (much more afforable) Kolcraft Contour Options Tandem II, the Phil & Teds Inline, or the Uppa Baby VISTA with the doubles kit. Advice on the brands in general is also welcome.

And I think we need another glider/rocking chair. The glider in Baby Evan’s nursery was such a last-minute decision – I had resisted buying one, mostly because the ones at Babies’R'Us seemed so expensive – but it gets used more than any other piece of baby equipment except for the crib. Our current glider is from Target. It is…functional. I mean, the arms are really loose and one of them keeps coming unattached and several screws seem to have fallen out and it squeaks a lot and it doesn’t recline so you can’t really sleep in it. But it still rocks. I guess we’ve gotten our money’s worth in the last 18 months.

Advice needed #3: PLEASE recommend your glider. It doesn’t have to be expensive but it can be. I learned my lesson when it comes to cheap chairs.

That’s it. Unless you have an absolute favorite baby item you cannot live without and want to recommend. Especially if it’s the sort of thing that helped you survive life with TWO children. Because I’m more than willing to take advice.

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