Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Five Helpful Tips for Holiday Tech Shopping

Its unavoidable if you have kids, that little letter that makes them go crazy 'I' . From the pods, to the phones, to the pads not to mention the accessories that come with them. And then don't forget about laptops and computers and digital cameras. Is it just me or do I sound like I'm writing a new age version of the "Twelve Days of Christmas"?

With all this, and with some of us having no idea what makes a phone so smart, I've come up with a few tips on how to get the most out of shopping for the techie in your life.

  1. Ask those who know. I turn to my brother for most things that involve a hard drive of memory card, he can pretty much fix any issue that I have and since he went to college for computers and works on them I always rely on his work. Most of us have at least one person in the family that knows about these things. Go ahead and ask them for help because its probably easy for them to tell you whats up!
  2. Get the insurance. I can't tell you how many times that I've said 'man if only I had got that insurance" It doesn't' usually cost much extra but its worth it when you drop your laptop, or when your son downloads a virus that makes your computer turn to Greek. Especially with cell phones, I can't count how many free phones my friend has been through.
  3. Shop around: Go to the store and write down the items that you think you may like, then when you get home shop around on the internet. Look for reviews and prices so that you can find out how the product works and if its worth the price. If you can't find a cheaper price online, then head over to the store and get it there. You can save lots by taking some time.
  4. Know your system! Find out what kind of computer the person you are buying for has so that you can be sure the product that you get has the correct software to match the system. This is especially important when looking for computer and video games because one game may work for one system and not for the other.
  5. Get name brands: I know that they are usually more expensive but they usually work better, and its easy to get information from a well known company. Manuals, tutorials and instructional videos are usually available online to help make items user friendly for customers. 
With all the great tech items out there its for sure to be the top gift this year, so just remember that the people at the store are trained to help you and probably have many of themselves! Good Luck and Happy Holidays!

I wrote this blog post while participating in the TwitterMoms and Staples blogging program, making me eligible for a $50 gift card. For more information on how you can participate, click here.

Smart and Sexy Coupon Code

I attended the sheblogs twitter party last week and because I won a swag bag. Smart and Sexy has agreed to give my readers $5 off thier entire order! 
Just use the code

SHEBLOGS

About One, keep it all together

We have all heard of the home management binder. Its a nicely organized book that super moms have that keeps everything together. Its neatly written with calendars and schedules, complete with all the information about the household tasks and family information.

I've tried and tried to create one of these, but I can never succeed, maybe its my OCD or maybe its a lack there of I just can't seem to get it to look the way that I want it to, or I forget to add information.

I have found my answer folks! Aboutone.com is pretty much like a home management binder for those of us who can't seem to get it to look the way we want it to! Whats even better, you can look at it on the internet which means that you can get it from your smartphone!

Aboutone.com is a site where you can keep all the information about your family organized which is great when you are on the go or just sitting on the phone trying to get the information that you need, instead of flipping through a book just log into your secure account, its as easy as checking your e-mail.

Keep track of your family members, your home and cars, your health information, everybody's school and there is a bulletin board to record milestones on. Like a virtual scrapbook! Each family member has their own page in the sections so its easy to find the information that you need.

This service I have found comes quite in handy when Daddy has to take the little ones to the doctor and since he never goes doesn't know all her info, he just has to grab his smartphone out and he can log onto the site and get all of our information off it!..

This is also a great service for military or long distance family. A great way for people to stay up to date.

Also the site features awesome printable! Like a family newsletter! Keep everyone up to date and show them that you care with this creative and easy note to say hi and this is what we're up to! A good way to show off those pictures that you take all month but don't always get the chance to display.

The Health Report printable is great to give to daycare providers or babysitters on a first day. Its also helpful to bring when visiting a new doctor so that nothing slips your mind.

The volunteer and education printables are great to bring to a job interview or take along when filling out college applications, easy to access and it looks a lot more professional then fiddling with a phone!

Overall I really liked this site, I think I will probably use it a lot more once Annabella gets bigger and has more information to remember, and its absolutely ideal for families with lots of members or families with members in the military!

Merry Christmas!! Aboutone.com is offering one of my readers a YEAR subscription to their site! Thats a $30 value!

To enter you must be a follower of mommypants and do one of the following (do more then one for extra entries. Please leave one comment for every item you complete) be sure to leave your e-mail address so I can get in contact you!

1. Go to aboutone.com, look around and come back leaving a comment on what feature of about one would benefit your family the most!
2. Tweet about this giveaway (leave a link in your comment)
3.Blog about this giveaway (leave a link in your comment)
4. Share this with your friends on facebook 

Giveaway ends January 5th 2011

Monday, November 29, 2010

I can't wait to check out this new cow book Amazing Cows: Udder Absurdity for Children by Sandra Boynton, I will be hosting a giveaway soon for her new book! So stay tuned





Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Five Tips for Creating Great Digital photo projects

I love Photoshop, on days when sewing just feels like too much work you can usually find me searching through my pictures and trying to figure out which ones could be made to look magical or need some touching up.

While it took a while for me to learn the ins and outs of Photoshop, its a lot easier then I thought that it was, so this was how people made all those adorable pictures of their kiddos! Its taken me a while but there are a few things that I do to make sure that I can Photoshop my pictures and turn them into great art!


  1. Use a backdrop! If you want to place your subject in a certain place then photograph them on a solid colored backdrop such as a sheet. I prefer brown, black or white. This makes it easy to outline your subject so that you can cut them out of the photo and place them where you want. This also works great for the color pop photos where one part is colored and the other parts are black and white! I made this picture of Annabella last year, we dressed her up as a flower and I thought this was a great place for her to be hanging out
  2. Zoom in: while you are working on your photos zoom in close so that you can see if you are missing everything, I think that this is especially important when fixing red-eye, as I often have problems with making sure that the entire eye is fixed sometimes there is some red left and its very obvious. When zooming in I can be sure that all the pixels are changed.
  3. Save; Save often, I can't tell you how many times I've been in the middle of making a photo that looks great and my daughter has hit a button on the keyboard and it has all gone to waste! Saving is as easy as clicking a button and if you have a daughter, slow computer or just aren't thinking when you close the program in a hurry, you'll be glad you did
  4. Fix that family photo: last year for Christmas we had a huge party, at the time we were friends with some people that this year we aren't friends with anymore, now being that I loved this picture of all of our friends but didn't want to be reminded of the awful things that the two people in the picture did to us, I simply photo shopped them out of the picture and added a photo of Jerry Garcia in their place! Now they make great gifts for this year!
  5. Take your time: Don't rush, the more time you take the better it will look, if you rush while outlining your subject or whatever else you will only end up taking the line off them and somewhere else and having to start over again. It may take a day or two to get a photo where you want it, but keep taking breaks and coming back, being on Photoshop all day can get frustrating, so check your e-mail, play with your baby, drink your coffee, and eat some truffles!
Remember that this is art, and the more you practice the better you will get, try not to get frustrated and if you do, leave and come back later. Search the internet for tutorials and you will find countless ways to improve your skills!

I wrote this blog post while participating in the TwitterMoms and Adobe blogging program, making me eligible to receive a $50 gift card. For more information on how you can participate, click here.

My favorite road trip experience

Road trip! Its a phrase that I am oh so familiar with why?? I was a Deadhead, thats right I spent about three years of my life running around the country following what remaining members of the band were left, and having a fabulous time doing it.

But I can remember one trip from Connecticut to California, one that should have taken three days but it ended up taking two weeks! 

Granted, we took this trip in January, we had stayed in Connecticut for winter holidays to spend with our families, before heading out west for some shows and family. I had questioned our route, surly the northernmost highway was not the wisest choice in the middle of snowstorms. However, our friend from Rochester New York assured us that everything would be fine, how bad could it be?

The first few states were simple, New York was dusted, Ohio it started to snow, but we were on the highway and road crews were heavy so we trekked on. It was about this point that our radio stopped working, not to worry though, we had CD's (as any good traveler would) So we stuck them in the stereo.

I guess now is the time to tell you the amount of money that we had alloted for the trip, we had all made it before  for under $400 so we were positive that we could do it again. I guess what we hadn't factored in was that when we got to Nebraska there would be hours where we would be sitting in stand still traffic in the middle of nowhere! We also hadn't anticipated the amount of gas required to keep us all warm and the windows defrosted!

Being that we had all been on the road before we didn't see this as a major problem, so as we passed dozens of flipped tractor trailer trucks in Nebraska, we were confident that we would be able to make the trip only needed to ask for spare change a few times.

That was until they shut the highway down. Yes thats right, when we got to a rest stop in Wisconsin on of the truck drivers (they knew by now that we were the hippies in that slow Volvo station wagon, the only crazy group of people to be out on the road at this time) 

So we dug into our pockets and shelled out money for a hotel room for the night because fitting five people in a volvo for the night wasn't an option. After staying the night in a Best Western (and taking full advantage of the hot tub) we continued on.

It took us another day to drive to salt lake city, here we were forced to get another hotel room. We decided to go again with the Best Western, forgoing the cheaper motel six because we were positive that the Best Western would have a pool. That night, we drank a box of wine and enjoyed the pool... or at least the  perfect view we had of the glass enclosed pool at the Motel 6 next door.

But Utah was amazing, especially driving past the salt, because the only way I could tell which was snow and what was salt was that the salt sparkled.

After that night (and believe me by this time we were all getting sick of each other, we continued on to Colorado, when we made it almost to Reno, we learned that Donner Pass was closed and yes this meant another hotel room. 

I guess by now you are wondering how we made it this far on gas. Well, we would be those kids that you see at gas stations in patchworks with a couple of dogs, waving around a gas can or sitting on the corner with a sign that may read one of the following

"On the road and out of luck.. anything helps"
or my personal favorite
"Hungry Hungry Hippies"

It worked well for us, especially being that there was about six feet of snow on the ground everywhere that we went.

After another night in Colorado, we finally made it into California, and as we got off the mountains of Lake Tahoe,  those first palm trees were amazing.  As we got closer to the coast we stopped. took off our coats and smelled the clean air

Tips for road trips

  1. Be prepared for the worst: always have someone you can call for backup money
  2. Take some peanut butter, and bread, they stay for a long time
  3. Bring a gas can: most people are glad to give you a little of their gas before it goes into their car. ask a couple people and before you know it you will have a full gas can
  4. See the sights: being on the road for so long we often forgot to stop and see the sights, don't forget it because thats half the reason of driving across the country
  5. Stop and rest: marathon trips are fun, but driving while you are tired is unsafe
  6. AAA: get triple A its worth it!
  7. Grab a Walmart map they tell you how to get to every Walmart in the country and this can be helpful in the middle of nowhere, because as eco-friendly and local as you try to be in rural Oklahoma, you won't find much more.
I hope that your holiday trips are safe and quick avoiding traffic! And I hope that my experience can help you with you future road trips, remember to have fun and don't forget to be safe!

I wrote this blog post while participating in the TwitterMoms and Discount Tire blogging program, making me eligible to receive a $50 gift card and be entered for a chance to win a prize valued at $1,000. For more information on how you can participate, click here

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Thursday, November 18, 2010

What Brings Me Comfort and Joy

I remember when I was younger bringing my friend Maria's mother cookies and saying " I bring you tidings of comfort and joy"  These days, my comfort comes from other sources, and sometimes I find it in the least likely places, being far from family, its hard to feel like I have people to fall back on, but I do have friends that have been there for a long time to help me, I also have ways to talk to my family that help me feel close.

One joyous event that I'm looking forward to is  starting traditions with my daughter, we'll be visiting Santa and making gingerbread houses. Looking at Christmas lights and vacuuming pine needles. Knowing that I have someone to share in this season with who will appreciate it as much as me is a great feeling inside and something that I so look forward to.

Skype, I never thought a computer program would give me comfort, but with this handy tool and a couple of cameras, each 3,000 miles from the other, I can see my family and really feel close. I can see my Nana and she can talk to Annabella and watch her walk and stack blocks. This year, they will be able to watch Annabella open the gifts that they get for her, and see how excited she gets about them.

Baking food like home, there is a reason that its called comfort food.When I cook stuffed mushrooms or snowball cookies like my mom. Every part of the experience is like being home. I still taste the cookie dough way more then I should and its something I'm trying to stop so I don't teach my daughter bad habits but I just love the way that it tastes!  The way that the onions, celery and garlic smell simmering for the stuffed mushrooms makes me feel like I'm back at my mom's house (of course mine don't taste as good)

Of course I can't forget about the great friends that I have out here, most of them being from the east coast and sharing in the same Irish-Italian background that I come from, its nice to have friends that share in the same traditions and memories as me!

I hope that you too have places in this season that leave you feeling fuzzy inside and questioning if your grandma is cooking in the other room. To me these feelings are really what the holidays are about.

“I wrote this blog post while participating in the TwitterMoms and Kleenex blogging program, making me eligible to get a $40 gift card. For more information on how you can participate, click here

14 Ways to have a Fresh and Festive Holiday

Happy Holidays, I've said it a few times already this year, but I'm pretty excited for it to be the first Christmas that Annabella will be having a blast at! So I intend to make this the start of a lot of traditions for the two of us, so that when she gets older she can have lots of memories like I do.  So I've been coming up with a few ideas in my head, and I've decided to share a few with you folks

  1. Get a real tree! I guess maybe its not the "eco" thing to do, but they smell so good! Walking into a house where the scent of pine is being released by the lights of the tree just feels like Christmas!
  2. Yankee Candles: my mom always burns Yankee candles, or at least she did when I was a kid the "Home Sweet Home" and the "Festival of Lights" are two that remind me of home, so I'm probably going to get a few for the holiday.
  3. Baking Pies: mmm is there anything better then the smell of an apple pie in the oven? Its probably the most melancholy feeling because you know you will just have to wait and wait for it too cook. But that smell and anticipation is one that reminds me of my grandma and gives me a warm fuzzy feeling
  4. Hot Chocolate: I plan to drink lots of it, and let Bella drink it too, Some nights with marshmallows, some with whipped cream, some with cinnamon sticks, or candy canes; maybe I'll even try some spicy hot chocolate this year! Yum! 
  5. Christmas Lights! We're going to go look at them in the car this year, especially since Annabella is big enough to look out the car windows at night, I'm already looking for great Christmas music to listen to in the car while we drive around. I plan to treasure this time where I can justify listening to Christmas music before my child wants nothing to do with it!
  6. Winter Greens: Here's a way to get some fresh greens into your diner, and enjoy the harvest of the winter. Cook up some Kale and add it to your dish, its hearty and yummy I'm dying to try this Butternut squash Tart with Carmelized onions and Kale, a great way to continue shopping at the farmers market since its open year round now!
  7. Hoop Houses: Make yourself some hoop houses so that you can have fresh veggies all winter, start now and give friends fresh bags of greens as Christmas presents you're sure to be a hit. Grow some mint and you can make mint tea for all your guests
  8. Christmas Sweaters: We are totally starting this tradition this year so it sticks. Christmas sweaters are tacky, fun and make for fabulous pictures. Whats more festive then the whole family dressed for a Brady Bunch special? Maybe we'll even host a Christmas sweater party so that friends can annually join in the fun.
  9. Make Beeswax candles: Beeswax cleans the air when it burns, and making candles you can smell in in the whole house, get some molds and make some ornaments, window hangings and candles to give as gifts or to keep for yourself and have memories of the holidays year round.
  10. Bring in Plants: In another effort to keep the air clean with all that fire burning and cozying up with closed windows, bring in some plants to keep warm in the winter, or get some new ones. Poinsettias do well inside and look so beautiful, but I won't put them where little ones can reach, even if people do say now that they aren't poisonous, I still get nervous! Keep a Christmas Cactus year round and see its beauty in the winter!
  11. Warm Apple Cider: Get out those cinnamon sticks (and the rum if you are feel like getting loose) I love warm apple cider with cinnamon donuts! Oh and don't worry about calling everybody to let them know its ready, their noses will tell them.
  12. Gingerbread House: I love making this, its great to pick at all day long, and I love using a decorator tip. I have come to making extra gingerbread because bites taken out of the walls are not great for holding up a roof.
  13. Popcorn and Cranberry chains: I like the old fashioned look because not only does it look quaint, but the birds love them after the new year! Kids can help if they are a little older and can handle a needle and thread. Though this can take a long time and sometimes requires patience.
  14. Cookie Party!: Have a cookie party! The adults can bring different cookies for everybody to get home and set up a decorating spot with the kids. Pre-cooked sugar or gingerbread cookies for the kids, some colored icing in tubes, some sprinkles and other decorations and let the kids go to town!
Well there you are some tips to keep your holiday as fresh and festive as it can be! Traditions that are simple are so important because no whether you are going through hard times or good times you and your family can keep those traditions alive for years and even generations to come!
 
Happy Holidays!

I wrote this blog post while participating in the TwitterMoms and Snuggle blogging program, making me eligible to get a $50 gift card. For more information on how you can participate, click here.





10 Tips for Weaving Runways styles into your Wardrobe

I love fashion, give me Top Model or Project Runway, and I'll watch it all day long.  (To tell you the truth, I'm watching Americas Next Top Model right now.) But sometimes it can be hard to take those from runway to street. We aren't all tall and skinny, and we certainly don't have stylists and makeup artists. But for those of us who don't want to look like we walked out of the donation box at the Goodwill, here are some tips!

  1. 8O's: Oh man, now let me tell you for a while I was hoping that they wouldn't ever bring it back, but ya know some of the styles can be toned down and worn to be subtle, even sexy, rather then in your face. I tend to go for shirts that are off the shoulder in black or another subtle tone, Make sure that the designs on the shirt aren't too bold or just go with a single color. Also don't go for one that looks like its about to fall off, just a little off one shoulder will do.
  2. Red Lips: I know its scary to even think of trying such a thing. Just keep the rest of your face simple, nude tones. And then go for a bright red, you'll be fine. And if you think its too bold for somewhere, just take it off before you go in! (Another perk of baby wipes)
  3. Leopard Print: When I was younger I had a leopard print bathing suit that I loved! So I don't plan to miss out on this trend. My favorite way to wear leopard print or any print for that matter is shoes! Get your hands on a pair of leopard or zebra print heels and rock them will all your blacks and reds
  4. Skinny Jeans: Now I'm not talking 'jeggins" people, I still don't like the idea of them. But jeans that are skinny can be worn tucked into boots and look great, go for boots that are calf height or a little higher, and make sure they fit well, nothing looks worse then pants that don't fit tight on your bottom but are skinny everywhere else
  5. Lace: When I saw my little cousin wearing lace while I visited I thought " wow how brave" but its really not that hard, especially with all the shirts with lace inserts. Another great way is to get a lace tank top and wear it underneath a cardi! 
  6. Leggings:  I love leggings! I wear them all the time, why? They are much more comfy then jeans. I love to wear them with tunics or extra long t-shirts and UGG boots. They also look great with tunics and flats! If you don't like to go flat like me, try a nice pump.
  7. Crochet: Like lace, crochet has found its way onto the boarders and necklines of everyday shirts. Look for ones with crochet accents, like the hem of a shirt. Or make your own crochet flowers to go with everything!
  8. Stripes: While I was in New York City, I fell in love with the nautical trend, Horizontal stripes can make you look wide so keep them on top and cut them with a belt so that you can get some shape. A solid pencil skirt on the bottom. Keep it to black, white, grey or navy blue for color.
  9. Big Hand Bags: Hooray! Score one for the moms, the newest hobo bag trend that we see movie stars with is great, especially for putting one or two diapers in and a small case of wipes. Who needs to carry a bulky diaper bag, keep the other things in the car and grab them when you need them. Try to get bags that don't have too much on them, solid colors are best because they can be worn with everything and stay in style for a long time.
  10. Leather Jackets: Go for it, I see them everywhere now, and they look wonderful with big scarves! A great way to change up your look for football or sledding. They go great with jeans and if you splurge for real leather you will keep yourself warm as well
Just a hint, its almost Christmas, so put those pricier items on your list and hope that Santa is in your corner this year! Keep looking great mamas!


“I wrote this blog post while participating in the TwitterMoms and Kenmore blogging program, making me eligible to get a $50 gift card. For more information on how you can participate, click here.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Cardboard Box makeover... its a big hit

For the last four months we have had Annabella's Graco Pack 'n Play Playard  full of her toys in the middle of my living room/kitchen (We live in a VERY SMALL one bedroom house so this has been taking up lots of space) But last weekend I finally got rid of it! Needing one extra box to put some toys in, I mixed up some Elmer'sWhite Glue, and water and got some fabric scraps, and turned 
this:

into this:

And although I might use it for putting toys away, Annabella......

finds other uses





A week of winnings!

Just when I thought my week was going downhill, some bloggers with some great raffles have chosen me as a winner!
Little red riding hood coat
Luvin the Mommyhood had a giveaway for a bib-burp cloth set or a crayon apron, from bobaloo kids

I can't wait

Also I won this  Little red riding hood trench coat from Dear my kids easy wear. A giveaway hosted by  The Sewing Dork

 AGES 12 months to 6 years!!

Also I participated in the sheblogs twitter party and  won a swag bag that I'm anxiously waiting on!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

10 Tips for Stylish Layering Techniques

LAYERS! Living in Northern California they are necessary. From cold foggy mornings, to hot dry afternoons, and chilly dry nights. Or rainy winters, I find myself sometimes wearing three to four shirts on any given day. When I'm at home its easy to change into what makes me comfortable, I change a few times a day to suit where I'm going or what I'm doing (because I love wearing my sweats) So whether you are from here or any of the other places in America with wacky weather. Here we are

10 Tips for Stylish Layering Techniques

  1. Tank tops under everything! They are great, tank tops give an extra layer to your core body, as well as covering up the skin on your belly that may show under a short t-shirt. I also wear the ones with built in bras on days when I'm not feeling like being jabbed with under-wire
  2. Bring your summer out: I love wearing leggings with a short jean skirt, not only can I wear a skirt that I might not be brave enough to wear without pants underneath, but I can wear ones that are super ripped up as well. Also my legs can stay warm. (for all you ladies that still make it to the clubs, this is a great way to keep your legs warm till you get to the club then just roll them up and stick them in your purse) I've even seen some brave fashionistas go for shorts with them but I'm not too sure on this look
  3. Long sleeve thermals under t-shirts: Personally I love this look, I have a few nursing shirts that are built like this but I don't have the option of taking the inner shirt off. I like to have the option to be able to take the inside shirt off if I get warm or if I get into a restaurant, because rolling up the sleeves can stretch them out (this drives me nuts)
  4. Go Boho: I'll admit it I have my days where I am a super hippie, and in the winter it pays off. A few years on the road will show you how to layer like a pro. Either way I love to wear warm pants underneath my big hippie skirts. You never even notice that the pants are underneath! Petticoats are also a great idea to wear under your skirt. Its almost like wearing a blanket!
  5. Scarves!! I love scarves, there are lots of ways to wear them so if you buy one it can function all year round, layering a scarf over your shirt can keep your neck warm and help you look fabulous! I like to go for black scarves or ones with lots of color and pattern
  6. Leggings under your ripped jeans. This is a favorite of mine, I know that jeans with tons of holes in them are in right now (though I refuse to buy them and let my clumsiness rip them) Get some of those american apparel leggings in bright colors and wear them underneath! Covers those holes and adds some pop
  7. One of my oldest layering techniques is a hoodie underneath a jean jacket. I started this for three reasons. One because I didn't like the feel of the jean on my arms, especially if the jacket is cold. Second because it looks fabulous, and third because it keeps you SO warm!
  8. Long socks: People are always wearing long socks with skirts these days which leads me to wonder how cold those thighs much be. I much prefer to wear my socks under my boots with my leggings, They add some extra warmth under the boots as well as up the calf! Keeping your feet warm is key! They also look cute if I go somewhere that I can't were shoes
  9. Bubble vest or any kind of vest really, again this is all about keeping the core of your body warm. They also give the ski-bunny look. I especially love all the faux fur vests out there this year (but yea I would probably take a real one too sorry bunnies)
  10. Fingerless Gloves: I love fingerless gloves, and they look great underneath a long sleeved shirt. One of my favorite parts of fingerless gloves is that they allow for me to do things that regular gloves do not. If you are going to be using them for layering you will want to go with something thin so that they are not too bulky underneath your shirts
Well there you have it my ten tips for layering! I really hope they help, they sure help me a lot as I am always layering my clothes. I highly suggest a pair of UGGs or UGG type boot because they go great with layers and leggings and right now I am seriously having a hard time with my life because I don't have a pair!  I'm just waiting for some Amazon bucks so I can buy myself a nice pair of grey ones!

Hope this helps ladies!

I wrote this blog post while participating in the TwitterMoms and Cuddl Duds blogging program, making me eligible to get a $40 gift card. For more information on how you can participate, click here.

Magnets.com!

I am one of those people who never evolved from covering my fridge in pictures.
I have toned it down, in my early 20's every visible surface of my fridge had someone's face on it.

Now it is a bit more toned down,  and since my last package arrived at my mailbox, much more organized too! I was lucky enough to be chosen to review the great products over at magnets.com and oh boy, do they have some fun stuff!


When I pulled this out of the mail envelope I was delighted at how nice the folder was, I had expected just lots of magnets in  a bag or something along those lines. But this was super fancy!

On the inside cover, I found this great list of reasons for using the magnets for your company

I think that they are such a wonderful idea, especially because I hang everything on my fridge! I just love to see all my friend's faces when I open the door! That; and I can never decide which pictures to display!


I was super excited! Look at all these great magnets!
There are so many different kinds! A magnet to fit every use that you could think of!

That Arrow magnet? Made for outdoor use! 
 But even though its made for outside, I'm for surely going to be using it for important announcements! I love how magnatized these are, they really stick to the fridge. Outdoor magnets are a great idea for parties or helping people find their way to events. There is nothing worse then a magnet that keeps falling off the fridge everytime that I try to put a picture underneath it, but the magnets that I recieved from Magnets.com didn't seem to have that problem at all!


I love frame magnets, I have quite the collection of them, These ones are great they have a great amount of space in them. One of the perks that I find with these magnets is that they are like getting two magnets in one! Because you can use the center for a magnet too! Put your business card in the middle and its a double magnet!

Aren't these mailer magnets great? I think these would be perfect for a delivery service of some type, I'm thinking the magnets attached to a menu! I would be calling that pizza place for sure! The magnets are secure enough to the cardboard to stay on while being mailed yet easy enough to take off so that paper isn't stuck to them and I can get them off the paper!

Look at all the great shapes that Magnets.com offers! I really love that cow! She has a special place on my fridge now. Magnets with shapes stand out much more then the generic rectangle shapes

And all these! These schedules would be great to have for sports teams! Or even a schedule to remember important family dates. I also LOVE the calender magnets, they are great as a quick reference to see what day of the week certain dates fall on! 

Thats right they even have word magnets! These came attached to a business card for American express and all the words were relevant to their business! I have had probably at least three hours of fun with these already and I'm sure that there is more to come! These magnets are great for discovering what creativity you have when you are feeling a little stumped. I also really like them for teaching grammar, and sentence structure


And now you can see how wonderfully organized my fridge is! Complete with magnetic phrases by me!

Overall I give magnets.com two thumbs up, the magnets are vibrant and they stay on my fridge. I also love all the variety that they offer, there are magnets to suit everybody's taste and style!

I can't wait to order some magnets of my own! I was thinking maybe these might make some great additions to Christmas baskets I'm making, a magnet with Annabella lasts much longer then a Christmas card! Maybe I can even throw in some of these word magnets for my artsy friends!

I would like to say thank you to magnets.com for allowing me to sample their products, and giving me the chance to host this great review


received a package of magnets for this review, all the opinions in this are my own.





Ten tips for Smart Holiday Shopping

Its that time of year again! If you haven't already, you better start that holiday shopping, because prices are going up, and so are the amount of people in the stores! I try to make most of my gifts, but there are lots of people who I give gifts to that I just can't seem to find the right thing to make (or I just don't feel I have the time) So for those people that crafting doesn't cover, here are a few tips for getting everything you need

  1. Join Amazon Prime, Amazon prime is a great program that amazon has, it is a club that you join for about $80 a year, you get FREE shipping on tons of items!  If you are searching for specific items, you can even choose "amazon prime shipping" as a choice, and make sure that you don't have to pay for shipping!
  2. Go Local: go to that little farm stand down the street, they have some great local and handmade gifts! Choosing local not only helps local people, but it gives your gifts a touch of charm, especially if you are sending them somewhere else, it helps to invite family far away into your life
  3. Get gift-cards: did you know that you can now send gift-cards on facebook? Thats right, don't leave anyone out this is a quick way to get all your gifts taken care of. What a great way to come up with a quick gift when you notice that you forgot someone!
  4. Have a backup: Just in case you forget someone, make sure to keep a few backup gifts, bottles of wine, board games, or bath and body sets. These are great when unexpected visitors stop by with  gifts. You will avoid awkward situations.
  5. Be frugal; Make up your own gift baskets. Stop at costco and get a bunch of candy, popcorn, some movie tickets and other goodies and wrap them in cute tins and add them to gift baskets. These are great for personalized presents that don't cost much!
  6. Take a tip from the fat man: Make a list and check it twice! Make sure that you get everybody on that list! This will help you avoid forgetting about someone while you are shopping and having to run back to empty store shelves
  7. Use your apps: Have you heard of the fast price check? Well if you have an i-phone look in your app store. This allows you take a picture of a bar code with your phone and then check the prices of local stores and the internet to find the lowest one!
  8. Be prepared: Bring extra everything for your little one. This way you don't have to stop to buy french fries in that crowded McDonald's' line, or have to stop to buy some diapers in the mall where they are super taxed!  Don't forget some fun toys to distract!
  9. Leave the kids at home: If its possible get your hubby or grandma to watch the kids while you do your shopping, even if its not for them. Shopping with kids in a crowded mall can be hard, not only are they begging for everything, they can get antsy, or even lost among shoppers
  10. Don't be afraid of restaurants: Everybody likes dinner out, and a gift certificate at a restaurant is a quick easy and tasty way to say that you care. How about a restaurant gift card and a babysitting certificate for that new mom and dad in your life? Nights out are sometimes underrated

Most of all enjoy this time of year, the music, the lights. Try to ignore the frustrations that can arise, remember that this is a time of year about joy and love for your family. It shouldn't really matter whats wrapped up in that fancy foil!

“I wrote this blog post while participating in the TwitterMoms and Office Depot blogging program, making me eligible to get a $40 Office Depot gift card. For more information on how you can participate, click here.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Shhh

At church today I was reminded why I don't like to say 'shh'

Sitting in the baby room in back, I was distracted not by the little girl trying to pretend to be a cat and meowing

But by her mother who kept making sharp "sh" noises to her daughter "sh, sh, sh"  the entire time she refused to LOOK at her daughter. The girl was probably about four years old. Not only did it not quiet her daughter, it also started to get on my nerves. Instead of hearing her daughter meowing, I now heard her trying to "sh" her daughter to silence, which was only causing them to become louder and louder. 

Annabella babbled a little, and when another girl came into the room, the woman even said 'SH' to her and Annabella when they bumped into her chair. I didn't say anything about how they are just kids because we were in the middle of mass and I didn't know the woman.

I guess I don't really know the church etiquette for such things, but in my opinion, if the kids are playing quietly and I can listen to the priest. Its a lot better then my kid screaming because she wants to run around.

Usually when Annabella is getting out of control, I take her away from the situation and help her to quiet down. I'll try to distract her with a toy or a song, or whatever I can find that she won't eat (or sometimes something she will eat) Sometimes I do find myself going to "sh" her but I really try not to because I hated it when I was younger, and apparently still do.


How do you quiet your kids in situations where they are better seen then heard? 



Why wear a hat when you can wear a bag on your head?\
note: no I did not take this picture at church I just think its adorable


Thursday, November 11, 2010

Ten Tips for Making your Life Easier!

While my last post was about how to make your holidays a little simpilar, this post is about how to make your life a little simplilar. Its hard not to remember that things are not really as complicated as they seem. I often find myself making huge deals out of situations that really aren't so bad. Because it really doesn't take as long as I as think its going to to do most tasks (even if they look like they will take forever). Here are some of my tips on how to make our busy lives a little simpler


  1. Clean as you go: This is something that I struggle with, but when I do this, I find that my life is so much neater! I do the dishes while I'm waiting for the rest of the food to cook. I clean the kitchen while I feed Annabella breakfast and wait for the coffee to brew. I run my errands while I do my laundry
  2. Write it down: Buy yourself a planner, and write down EVERYTHING, take that library calender and write down the dates you wanna go so that you have a quick reference in your planner. Check it everyday. It helps so much to see how your week looks and it makes it easy to see areas where you will be busy and even easier to schedule  BREAKS!
  3. Three Meals A day: If you have a full belly, then you are less likely to snack  (which means you won't gain extra pounds) Also when you eat your meals it keeps your head clear to think and get the things done that you need, and if you plan it out, you can avoid eating fast food while shopping!
  4. Feng Shui: clear the energy in your house and you will be able to focus easily on what you are doing. Tibetan Prayer flags are an easy way to clear some energy. Also a crystal hung in a window not only bounces rainbows all over the room and make you smile
  5. Hang your shirts: Its so much easier to have all the shirts hung up in the closet so that you can easily see what you are trying to get, they are hardly ever wrinkled so you don't have to worry about ironing them either!
  6. Let your toddler do the work: Plum Organics Baby Food makes pouches of fruit and veggie blends that are BPA free, these are AMAZING for the back of the car when you are in a hurry or when you need to get some work in during meal time and don't want to have to worry about clean-up! They are super healthy, I have a friend who's son is super picky and she swears by these!
  7. Folderize your e-mail: My friends are always telling me how jealous they are of my organized mailbox. I have a folder for my receipts, I have a folder for my blog work, I have a folder for my travel info, one for my school info. This has made my life so much easier especially when I am trying to find messages that I need!
  8. If nobody will help you: make them ;  it took me a while to learn this one, but for real, when Annabella's father just doesn't help enough I take an 'extended' trip to the grocery store or to my mailbox, on this trip I stop downtown and wander around the stores for a while, or make phone calls that I want to. Its nice to have a breath of fresh air and I can go back in the house feeling better.
  9. Car-Bag: I always keep a bag in my car full of wipes, diapers, extra clothes (for both of us), some snacks, granola bars, a bottle of water, and some toys.  When I am in a hurry I love knowing that I have a bag out in the car so that if I forget something I can know that its back there. (Sometimes I keep a Starbucks gift-card back there if I have one, but currently the last one ran out)
  10. Spend some time with your baby:  When you are busy doing other things, sometimes its easy for me to make Annabella wait for me to read her a book because I'm working on a cute dress for her. I notice that if I take a break from what I'm doing and spend a few minutes playing with her, she is calmer and I can easily finish my project or task.
Remember to relax, most of the time you probably feel more busy then you really are. Turn on some mellow music and do your chores to that, you'll most likely get lost in the tunes and realize its not so bad after all! Lots of times I notice that when I start to feel overwhelmed!

Hope these can help you

I wrote this blog post while participating in the TwitterMoms and Oral-B blogging contest, making me eligible to get full-sized Oral-B Glide products and a $30 Target gift card. For more information on how you can participate, click here.

Ten Holiday Survival Tips!

Well its that time of year again.. 

Are you ready yet?
 Thankfully in the days of technology its pretty simple to make sure that you don't miss anyone on that list.
My biggest problems is that my family lives so far away, so while I try to stay local, its much easier for me to go online to ship gifts to be sure they make it there safe and on time.
But now that Annabella is here I want to be able to send out more personalized gifts, even some that I made myself.  So I have been trying to get it all done throughout the year, so that most are done. 

  1. Start Your List for next year this year: Did your mother-in-law get you some socks while you spent time crafting her a quilt that took you months? Did your neighbor make you a basket of homemade goodies? Its good to know what kind of gifts that people give this way you aren't left feeling like you didn't do enough. Its also handy for shopping all year round.
  2. Pick A Craft Theme: Pillows for everyone, or blankets. If you make similar gifts that are handmade, it will get quicker and quicker as you go along. And soon enough it will be like a factory in your house! You'll be whipping them out in no time
  3. Start a Spider plant in December: Get a big pot and plant a spider plant in it. All year long cut the babies off and keep re-potting them so that they can make more babies. Also save your baby jars for your Christmas party next year, get red Water beads  and put your babies (you'll have enough to fill quite a few by now) and put them all over your house for your guests to take home, then they can start their own spider plant collection!
  4. Send your cards online: Since these days there is nothing wrong with sending generic cards with photos of your adorable family and children, Take advantage of it, dress your kids up in last year's duds or even some nice black or white clothes. Then go online and make them look great. Tinyprints even prints the names on the cards, adds postage and sends them out for you (for a fee but how great is that?) I am now one of those people who sends cards
  5. make some dough: most roll out cookie dough can be made ahead and frozen for later use. I also do this with pie dough, its very nice to have it in the freezer when you know you are going to have company over you can just pull it out, roll it, bake it, make some chocolate pudding and whip some cream.  Viola, instant chocolate cream pie!
  6. Wrap: Wrap your gifts as you buy them this is good for a few reasons; your kids can't see what they are getting if they search, it saves you time from wrapping them all at once, you don't have to worry about forgetting to tag packages and then forgetting who they are for!
  7. Keep some extra: Get some neutral holiday paper, or gift baskets, keep them on hand for any unexpected guests that may arrive. I always have a couple kids coloring sets around, and some bottles of wine, good beers, chocolates, and bath and body goods for the adults
  8. Pizza; we eat it a lot here, and during the busy holidays we eat it even more, make the dough after the kids get home from school and by the time dinner comes around you are ready for pizza. All you need is a jar of sauce, some cheese, herbs, garlic salt, pepperoni or some Italian sausage. Of course there are lots more things you can put on. Let the kids have some fun with dinner and you can relax!
  9. Get a real tree: I know, I know, the mess! you're saying. The pine needles everywhere! Watering it! Well what about when you turn off all the lights, and the only light in the house is the twinkle of lights creating an evergreen glow over your living room, while you smell that piney smell. It really helps to get back to what the meaning of the holidays are and helps you to feel good inside!
  10. Go to the post office two weeks before Christmas, and send your stuff out then. Its just not worth waiting in the lines to send all that stuff. Do yourself a favor get those done now, its okay if they are early. Nobody will mind.  This way if you do have anything that you have to mail last minute it can just be for a quick thing rather then mailing out tons of other stuff! Also the CVS near me ships UPS, so that can be convent

Well that being said, Happy Holidays! And don't forget to have fun! Personally I'm just planning on spending most of this Christmas playing with Annabella, it will be our second Christmas but the first one that she'll really get to experience. Since its just us now, I'm looking forward to starting some new traditions together that we can share for years to come

Personalize your own Tiny Prints Christmas Cards

“I wrote this blog post while participating in the TwitterMoms and Tiny Prints blogging program, making me eligible to get a $75 Tiny Prints gift certificate! For more information on how you can participate, click here.

This Annoys me

For  a while I have been searching for my genealogy, during that search I looked up some information on the Ellis Island, because when I was younger we went to Ellis Island to see our family's names on the wall.

Well the e-mail told me to go here to the Wall of Honor website. At this site you can pay a little less then  $200 to get your family's name put on an addition to the wall. Regardless if your family actually went through Ellis island.

I have mixed feelings about this, in part I think its a nice way to make money for the City of New York, I suppose its also nice if your family came in through Ellis Island and for some reason their documents were lost and they aren't on the wall

But the larger part of me thinks this is kind of ridiculous. Granted, it will be on an addition to the wall, and hopefully the Island will make it so that its not the same as the rest of the wall. However, I didn't see anything on the site to tell me that.  It was always so fun to go find my family on the wall and then learn about what they went through on the way here.  

I haven't really gotten all my thoughts together on this, but I'm planning a longer post.

How do you feel?

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Bruno Mars - Just the Way You Are (Cover by MattyBRaps ft. Tyler Ward)


This is such a great video, what a wonderful big brother! I love the video




Rude Store Owners, and my tips for constructive arguments

I try to support my local economy
but sometimes it makes it hard.
For a long time I didn't want to post about this
But today a friend had a similar experience at this store
I don't think its fair to take advantage of people based on the way that they are dressed, or based on thier age. Just because we are young moms doesn't mean that we are stupid
It doesn't mean that we don't care for our kids
It doesn't mean that we are trying to rip you off when we ask for a refund


I'm a young mom, and I don't have very much money.
So when I buy a toy for my daughter, I try to make sure that its ones that are nice, ones that are free of chemicals, ones that will last a long time and ones that will teach her something, and of course ones that she can actually USE!

The first time I shopped at a Toystore in Sebastopol I LOVED all the products that they had! Lots were wooden, most were safe for my daughter, the store was colorful and it was just two blocks away. I bought my daughter's first Christmas presents entirely at the store in Santa Rosa; they were all wonderful! Great quality, made from good materials and she loved and could play with all of them.

One of the toys that she had received was a duplicate the my mother had sent her, so I went to the store in Sebastopol to return it thinking that it wouldn't matter if I had bought it at the Santa Rosa or the Sebastopol Store. Apparently it did, she told me that since they didn't carry that particular toy at that certain store she couldnt' take it back (all the time in a rude and condecending tone)  Feeling defeated I took it back to the store in Santa Rosa when I asked the lady about this, she told me she had never heard of such a policy. I had lost my recipt, and the woman told me that was no problem that she could just look up the price in the computer. I honestly just figured that it was because I had been wearing sweatpants the last time I went to the store in Sebastopol, I know this is a horrible thing to assume, however I had never been treated so poorly by the employees in Sebastopol before. As unacceptable it is to treat someone poorly because of thier clothes, I have grandmothers and I know how apperance can affect how someone treats you, especially if they are older.  So I brushed it off  to that.
Hmm, well anyway

For Annabella's birthday this year we had moved from Santa Rosa to Sebastopol so we decided to do the majority of her shoppign at the store in Sebastopol, but as soon as I stepped in the store I felt the same  "we don't want you here" vibe from the woman behind the counter. I ignored it but after getting followed around the store and hearing her tell me that my daughter had gotten into something (well obviously lady this is a toy store) I bought a toy so that she wouldn't scream and left.

I brushed off the experience as just that one lady in Sebastopol so I decided not to shop there anymore. I went to finish my shopping at the store in Santa Rosa and even though we spent $150 and nobody bothered to tell us about their points program (mind you I heard them tell everyone else i saw check out about the program except us). I brushed it off because honestly I forgot to ask while we checked out and only rememberd when they offered it to the lady in line after me, but I didn't want to make a fuss, I would sign up next time I was in the store.

Most of the toys that we bought we LOVED, two expensive (but worth it) sets of blocks one with letters and some colored ones for stacking. We also got her a stuffed animal and some other knick nacks that I don't remember. The problem came to the one plastic toy that I bought, I should have went with my instict when it was only about $15 in the store, but It was a hammer and ball set and my baby loves to hit things so I thought it would be perfect. 

That was till her birthday a week later, we opened presents and it was a great time. However, when we tried to open the block set, we realized that she couldn't play with it. The ball was too big to get through the holes! Even Daddy tried and couldn't do it unless he pushed them through with force. Not a toy for a 12 month old as it stated on the box

So I brought it back to the store to return it for a different gift. I should have went to the Santa Rosa first knowing that the lady in Sebastopol already had a bit of a chip on her shoulder towards me, but I figured what were the chances she would be there again? Chances were good.... because there she was eyes locked onto me when I walked into the store. I timidly tried to return it because of the problem and she showed me a tiny rip in the side of the box where I had taken the tape off to open it. She said because of this she couldn't return it for store credit because they couldn't resell it.  Never bothering to ask about the recipt (which I didn't have but based on my previous experience with the company I didn't think it would matter) She then asked me if I could give it as a gift to someone

I explained to her that I'm not in the practice of giving gifts to people that are pieces of junk. She said sorry but she couldn't return it. I asked her to speak with a manager and she told me she was the manager. I left the store with the toy. I called thier location in Santa Rosa asking what the return policy was, and the lady on the phone had obviously already recieved an angry call about me trying to return the toy. I asked her how I could speak to the owner and she told me that the owner was working in Santa Rosa

I thought I would speak to someone who was reasonable, someone who cared about all of thier customers. So I drove over to the Santa Rosa store hoping that I would be working with someone a bit more reasonable as well as someone who I would have a fresh start. As soon as I walked in I knew I was in for trouble, after standing at the counter and being ignored, I finally was able to ask the man behind the counter if he was the owner.

"Yes I'm the owner and I see what you're trying to do" was his first words to me "If the packaged is damaged  then there is nothing I can do"

I showed him the rip and told him that I didn't think that it should matter because the toy didn't work for my daughter which was why I was returning it in the first place. To this he replied

"I'm not going to return that toy for you"

I insisted that he let me show him that the toy was too difficult for a child to work, I took it out of the box on the counter and put the balls in the holes and asked him to try it.

"I won't and I'm not taking it back, your child is too young for that toy"

I explained that the toy said it was for 12months+ on the box, and that my daughter should be able to do it, but that since neither me or her father could get the balls through easily that it must be a defective toy because nobody would make a toy like that.

At this he started snickering and again said "I'm not returning the toy, contact the manufacturer"

I replied "So does this mean that you don't stand behind the products that you sell"

He told me "Ma'am I think you are making this into more then it has to be so I think that you should leave my store"

"Sir I think you are being a little unreasonable"


I guess I could  be making more out of this then it should be, but its quite clear to me that the woman at the store in Sebastopol called the man and complained about me. I'm not exactly sure why that woman hated me so much.

I ended the argument at that, Annabella's father wanted to go back to the store and talk to the guy again, but that never ends productively and since its a kids store and usually filled with children I decided that sending him in there when I knew he would be yelling in front of the kids, wouldn't be the best idea

But to be honest, I was embarrassed at that moment in the  store there, his complete lack of caring about my issue, the fact that he laughed at my complains and totally didn't care. Even though there were other customers in the store is crazy to me. I was proud that I kept my composure, because normally I would have been screaming vulgarities at the guy because the way he treated me was so disrespectful. But I was trying to be the bigger person in the situation and stay calm.

I understand that the  $500 a year I probably spend at this store probably doesn't come close to the thousands that other people spend there a year on their children and grandchildren. But I feel that just because he is blessed with a business that does well doesn't give him the right to treat customers who don't spend that much like they don't matter.

Be warned ladies, be fancy or go home

I think its so important to not get out of hand in a situation like this it gives the other person the power. In the past my way to deal with problems was to scream them out. I would get so frustrated that I wouldn't even know what was happening. And I would do things that I still regret



But what happened to the toy-store kind of changed me; It was great to come out of there feeling like I was the mature one, glad that I didn't say anything that I regretted.  Since then I have been trying some new methods when I get into arguments. These are great for different situations that I get into with people in my life

  • I  breath and remember that by saying negative comments it only brings more negative comments.          
  • I also try to never yell, because once the yelling starts its hard to stop. I'll admit that once the argument goes past a certain point, my voice gets louder and louder but I'm working on it
  • The baby is here: I really don't want Annabella growing up watching me fight with people and thinking that its a productive way to have a discussion when two people disagree.  I have always struggled with this, when I get angry about something I just want to fight and fight and fight. I guess its an internal thing where I think if I fight enough it will change..... I've finally learned that it doesn't, I take a break from the situation and come back to it later. I've also started to realize that how my daughter watches me solve problems is how she will try to solve her problems with me and I really don't want to her to scream at me. I know that words can hurt and that especially in a relationship like  a mother daughter its easy to say awful things in the heat of the moment.  
  • I breath... in and out, loudly a few times or I go outside empty all the air out of my lungs with a huge breath out till I feel like I don't have anymore air, while doing that I imagine that all the unproductive comments and negativity is going too then I  take a DEEEEEEP breath and get fresh clean new air in my lungs, it feels very refreshing
  • If I've taken a break from the argument, I come up with positive solutions to the situation instead of just steaming about how mad I am and thinking of awful things to say and ways to place blame on the other person. 
  • I try to take personal responsibility for my side of the argument. I'll write them down so that I can come back them if I feel myself start to get out of control. It helps me to realize what I'm trying to accomplish rather then fall back to why I'm angry at the person
  • End it, when all else fails and the situation obviously isn't going to get better I stop the argument, I consider myself and my daughter and the safe and smart choices we need to make for today and the future and figure out a sensible, step-by-step path to do what we need to
Needless to say these aren't just things that I've gained from an argument at a toy store, they are just ways that I've recently tried to control my temper with people, and situations that can be hard. 

Dealing with Depression, Anger and Anxiety can be really hard, especially as a new mom who does most of it alone. It seems that once I became one, all my issues had to be dealt with to avoid treating the people I love like crap just because I feel that way.  And trying to do it without taking medications can be even harder,  because I know that while there may be a pill that can make me feel better. I don't feel like being a science experiment until they figure out the one thats right for me!

Well I hope this rambling post was interesting for some of you because I certainly feel much better after writing it!

I apologize about this began about something totally different then what it started as. I'm not going to say the name of the toy-store because I don't want to make it a practice of bashing business on my blog. But I was feeling particularly angry at this store after hearing my friend's story today, and hey thats what a blog is for right??

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Sono-ma Soiree!

Wow, I'll begin with that because that was my feeling the entire time I was at the Sono-ma Soiree, last Thursday, in Sebastopol. It was amazing, and I had such a great time!

First, lets start with the location, hosted at the Monica Ashley Design studio, which is also her home. An amazing home it is, she's even closer to downtown Sebastopol then I am! Her decor is whimsical and made me feel like I was at the beach! In the back room of her house was all her felted artwork! It was becautiful, she has classes, for really fair prices that include the materials!  I really loved her nativity scene, and she had a doll that looked like it would make a great gift for a little one! 

Next I tried one of the cupcakes from Bliss Bakery, at first I was a little confused. I guess mostly because the cupcake hardly tasted gluten-free! It was amazing, a moist dense chocolate cake, covered in a creamy frosting and then stuck in the center a chunk of chocolate that melted in my mouth. I am amazed at the quality of the food. Since I always try to bring something when I go to someone's house, I'm glad that I was introduced to Bliss Bakery because you never know when someone is going to be intolerant or sensitive to Gluten these days! And to think I was just starting to feel bad for my friend because we found out he was Gluten intolerant, he's Italian and from CT just like me, and we are always talking about the yummy food back home. I'm glad that I can surprise him with some yummy baked goods that he can eat now!

Alright now folks, the next thing that I tried might have been the most delicious chocolate I've ever tasted in my life. Peter's Chocolate is 72% cacao, as a dark chocolate lover these are pretty much the best truffles I've ever eaten in my life. The thin layer of chocolate crunched into a truffle made with organic clover cream and pure vanilla. Second I tried the caramel truffle with Himalayan salt.... whoa, the chocolate and caramel are together in the center so its not like a chewy caramel in the middle of chocolate which I adored because it didn't stick in my teeth. I really enjoyed eating the chocolates while  Doug told me about them, We had a great discussion about his ingredients. If you are someone who doesn't really like dark chocolate, you should absolutely try his chocolates, they aren't bitter like some dark chocolates can me. I bought some truffles for the babysitter and some for a friend, but I just couldn't' give them up. I ended up eating the whole package by two days later. I somehow convinced myself that they were good for me and that I needed to eat them.

Also there was the Hot Shot Photo Booth, I have to be honest I didn't' get into it. But I wish I had! It looked like so much fun, I would love to get one of these for my next party! Photo booths are so much fun and at a party its a great way for all of your friends to get pictures together! I was feeling a little shy at this particular party, as usual, but all of the ladies were so welcoming to me and nice that I really look forward to getting to know them and doing more 'mommy' activities with them!

Another fun activity that I got into at the party was the Henna Tattoos by In Harmony Goddess Traditions, I have always loved henna, a friend of mine did it for a long time. I got a intricate and lovely henna tattoo on my hand. My daughter instantly loved it as soon as I got home, I only wish that it could have lasted longer! But I suppose thats the appeal. I love getting henna because it feels great! I love the feeling of the paste on my skin and I love how it feels when it dries! I also use henna on my hair as a natural dye (they sell it at whole foods and most beauty stores)  In Harmony Goddess Traditions does lots of parties, including mother blessings! Check out her website for the list of parties and more info, I'm just looking for an opportunity! It made the party feel like a sleepover party with girlfriends!

I loved seeing all the professional pictures byMariah Smith, they were beautiful, I've never had it in my budget to get professional pictures taken but I'm always so envious of the people in those pictures. But Mariah has some affordable packages that I think I might be able to fit in soon! I'm  a little nervous that I may not look as lovely as the ladies in her pictures but I really just want Annabella to have some great pictures of her and her mama!

I was introduced to Flavorstich while I was there. This is a blog  that I can relate to..... food, good food. These lucky ladies even went to the San Francisco Food Blog Conference! Wow! They gave us some great loose-leaf tea in our swag bags (yep swag bags) Its a great blend that I have been drinking at night because I find it very relaxing. Any of my food blogger fans should check out their blog

We also got samples of EO products hand sanitizer! (Great for my purse/diaper bag) I love the EO products they are a local company with organic products, I love all their lavender products, I put it on before I put Annabella to sleep and I think that it helps a lot to relax her before bed. Check out their site, the are offering free shipping on orders over $75 for the holidays!

Of course; I can't talk about the Sono-ma Soiree without talking about Sono-ma  herself! What a lovely lady she is! She was so friendly and made me feel right at home at the party. We had a few great chats. If you haven't heard of Sono-ma before she has a great site with lots of happenings for Sonoma as well as helping us find healthy concisous solutions! I love that there is such a community out here that thinks like myself! I love that on the side of her site I can find local things to do with my daugther. I don't know many people in this area but with the help of her site, I have been able to get Annabella out with other kids her age!

I would like to extend a big thank you to Sono-ma and all the other vendors at the party, I had such a lovely time, and I can't wait for the next one!



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