Jun 28
icon1 Susan | icon2 Experiences | icon4 06 28th, 2010| icon3No Comments »

So it has come to this day when my little baby crawled over to my laptop and pushed it off the couch, to see what would happen to it.  I should have seen it coming and placed it accordingly.  My baby is in this phase where she likes to drop food from her high chair, to see pureed food splatter, carrots and peas bounce around, and crackers become crumbs.  Just recently she has taken that curiosity into other parts of our home.  She will drop toys from the bed, dig through my bag and flip it around, and she will push anything off an edge.

Thinking back, I should have put the laptop on my desk, high and far away from those tiny little hands.  Curiosity is definitely a developmental process and I should have known better.  Of course,  I’m quite upset that my really expensive laptop broke, but I am super happy that I bought an accidental warranty coverage with it from Best Buy, so it’s basically in the Geek Squad shop.

If there is one advice that I can give parents, get a warranty plan with anything expensive because things break easily with kids around.  Before having children, I hardly purchased warranty plans because I thought it was another way stores made a good buck off of me, but now I definitely save money for having it.

My whole life is on my laptop, so it was a pain to backup all the files onto a disk, but it was definitely a learning experience.  I will never leave out anything expensive or anything I am attached to because it can be gone, broken, or pooped on.  I should have known better, especially after I had 3 of my Blackberrys dropped in the toilet and sink.

So I am waiting on my laptop to come back from the service department and hopefully I will never make the same mistake twice (technically it’s been my 5th error in judgement, but you get the point).  If you are a parent and own something that can easily break, definitely get a warranty plan.  It will save you a ton of money in the end!

Jun 25
icon1 Susan | icon2 Experiences | icon4 06 25th, 2010| icon31 Comment »

I thought I didn’t have time for myself before, but now it’s pretty much over!  With the whole economic crisis and my husband’s line of work suffering significantly, I took it upon myself to look for a job.  Although, over the years I have worked on and off, it was nothing like having a full-time job.  With the line of work I did, I got paid a lot (most people’s 3 or 4 months pay) for only one day’s worth of work (and no I was not a drug dealer, stripper, or anything illegal for that matter).  When I had my daughter, I was lucky to book a national commercial and I made some good dinero on it.

Before having children, my husband and I hardly budgeted.  We were both working and made good money, saving was not at the forefront of our minds.  Gosh, if I had planned for kids at that time, I would have probably saved every penny, dime, and quarter that I came across.  Kids are very expensive.  I have two, so I’m sure you could do the math on that.

I was very fortunate to find a really sweet job with a really sweet dotcom company near my residence.  On top of that, I get to work from home.  I’ll probably get into more detail in the near future, once I become more familiar with everything.  Anyhow, it’s definitely a blessing for my family.

This week has probably been the busiest week of my life.  Here was my schedule everyday:

  • 6 am: Wakeup (Get ready).
  • 7 am: Wakeup my older daughter. My younger one wakes up at 5 am and crawls around. Get my daughter ready for preschool.
  • 8 am: Make breakfast for both my children and feed them.
  • 8:30 am: Take my daughter to preschool.  My baby stays at home with my mother.
  • 9 am: Drop my daughter off at preschool.
  • 9:30 am: Arrive at work for training.
  • 10 am-5:15pm: Training
  • 5:45 pm: Pick up my daughter from preschool.
  • 6:30 pm: Arrive home.
  • 6: 45 pm: Wash up and nurse the baby.
  • 7 pm: Get dinner ready for everyone.
  • 7:15 pm: Eat dinner.
  • 7:45 pm: Get both my children ready for bed.
  • 8 pm: Baby is in bed.
  • 8:15 pm: Read a book to my preschooler.
  • 8:45 pm: My preschooler is in bed.
  • 9 pm: Read over training manual for an hour.
  • 10 pm: Wash up and get ready for bed.
  • 10:15 pm: Chat with hubby about the day.
  • 10:45 pm: Head to bed.

Everything starts all over again!  So as you can visually see, this week has been packed.  I have had no time to do anything other than the listed things on my schedule.  My hats go off to all mothers, but my hats definitely go off to mothers who work (how do single mothers do it?  Man, do I have the utmost respect for you).  This week has definitely been fun, interesting, and very tiring, but working definitely has it’s beneficial aspect to it.  All I can say is, I feel EMPOWERED!

Jun 23
icon1 Susan | icon2 Product Review | icon4 06 23rd, 2010| icon3No Comments »

With the whole iPod, iPhone, iTouch, iPad craze, it’s only appropriate that there is iStyle to spice up any iJunkie’s wardrobe the iWay.  I am not poking fun at the iLifestyle, only jealous that I probably should have started an iBusiness to make iCapital.  Okay okay, I’ll stop with my iLingo.  We all know how popular the whole line of iProducts from Apple are.  With that comes a whole other side of small businesses arising to meet the demands of the brand’s popularity. Meet iStyle Originals, a clothing and apparel company for the iGeneration.

istyle1

iStyle Originals has everything from Adultwear, Nanowear (babies to children), Doggiewear, and Accessories line.  What is their style sense?  You guessed it, iWear.  They took the popularity of iProducts and made it wearable with the use of clever words to represent the iGeneration.  I think their Nanowear and Doggiewear are the cutest must have items, as it doesn’t get cuter than babies and dogs with an iText such as “iCute or iPaw’d” on them.

I was sent an iCuddle Baby Snapshirt and it was iCute at first sight.  Remember, these are not Haute Couture.  They are cute shirts and products to meet the demands of the evergrowing iGeneration.  Very simplistic basic shirts with an iText on them. I put the snapshirt on my baby and it was very cute, but still a little too big on her.  I would suggest go one size smaller for a better fit.  My daughter usually wears 12-18 months, but 6-12 months would have probably been a better fit for her.  The snapshirt came in a cute box made to fit the whole iLifestyle theme.

If you are looking to match your wardrobe with your iPersonality, definitely check out iStyle Originals.  The iCuddle snapshirt makes me want to cuddle my baby even more than I already do, how is that possible? For more info, go here.

(Disclosure: Product was provided free of charge to test and does not affect my views or feedback of the product.  This review is based solely on my personal opinion and experience and results may vary person to person.)

Jun 20
icon1 Susan | icon2 Father, Special Days | icon4 06 20th, 2010| icon31 Comment »

fa·ther (fär)

a. A male person whose sperm unites with an egg, resulting in the conception of a child. b. A man who adopts a child. c. A man who raises a child.

I was looking at the definition for father and out of the three, the most important one is c. A man who raises a child.”  Whether you are the biological father, the adoptive father, the step-father, or the father-figure in some child’s life, a true father is the one that takes part in that child’s life and helps them thrive and grow on a daily basis. 

First off, I would like to say Happy Father’s Day to my own father.  If there is one person who I feel is wise and has a book of life lessons, it’s my father.  He has taught me to see outside the box and to always feel fortunate for everything that I am.

Besides my own father, my husband has been such a great father/dad who spells fatherhood (in the most funniest sense).  He has come a long way from trying to help, to now taking on the initiative to jump in immediately.  Not only does he work endless hours to provide for us, he also makes sure that the girls and I are emotionally full.  Although my husband has tripped, stumbled, and fell a few times (actually a lot), it’s those moments that make him the best dad he can be! 

“Any man can be a Father but it takes someone special to be a dad.” — Anne Geddes

Happy Father’s Day!

Jun 18
icon1 Susan | icon2 Product Review, PTPA | icon4 06 18th, 2010| icon3No Comments »

agooleghuggers

If there is one thing I always have on hand in my diaper bag, it’s the Bamboo Leg HuggersMy mom bought these for me when I had my first child and it’s the one thing that I actually use all the time.  They are a must have item in my household, considering the varying temperature in Southern California (our mornings/nights are cold and days warm).  Most of the time my daughters are in tanks, t-shirts, and shorts because it’s regional appropriate.  However, when the clock strikes 5 pm, the weather tends to get a little chilly.  The soft leg huggers are such a life saver because when my daughter says she is cold, I can take those suckers out and she puts a pair on her legs and a pair on her arms.

I love the Bamboo Leg Huggers because they are 100% sustainable, breathable, UV Protective, odor resistent, antibacterial, chemical and pesticide free, and so very comfortable.  It has everything a parent wants and takes out everything a parent doesn’t want!  My daughter loves the leg huggers because she can pick out the designs that represent her style and therefore create her own fashion identity.  My 11month old baby started to wear the leg huggers since she was a newborn and it’s been so perfect and gentle on her knees, while she crawls away on our hardwood floors.

Both of my daughters love wearing their leg huggers.  I too love borrowing them from my daughters on my cold nights from sleeping.  They are super-soft and comfortable, and knowing that they are eco-friendly makes me a very happy mommy!

ptpalogo(Disclosure: This review is based solely on my personal opinion and experience and results may vary person to person.)

Jun 16
icon1 Susan | icon2 Product Review | icon4 06 16th, 2010| icon31 Comment »

When I think of gifts for men in general, I think of gadgets and something techie.  Just like diamonds are a girl’s best friend and cars are a man’s best friend, there are gifts that are suited for the sexes.  While buying my husband’s dream car for Father’s Day would be nice, it’s not something realistic for our pocket-less book.  So what are options B, C, and D?
,
With the economy in a recovery state, where the damage has been done, most consumers are purchasing gifts that are not only pleasurable but also functional, necessary, and usable on a daily basis.  For me, there are a couple criterias to be met when purchasing anything, especially gifts.  This Father’s Day, I have a couple things I am going by:

  • Price has to be right. Preferably on sale.
  • Something that I know my husband will really like, but something I will equally love (possibly borrow from him and make it cost effective).
  • The gift has to be something that can be used on daily basis.
  • Whatever my children and I decide to get, it has to be memorable.

So with all this in mind, I thought it was about time for my husband to put his scratched-up/drop-kicked Blackberry to rest and possibly move on to a better, faster, and hipper phone.  With phone companies constantly trying to out-do and 1-up eachother, buying a new phone is like buying a new car (maybe even harder).  Making the right decision for that perfect phone has become harder than ever.

htchd2

Recently, I was able to test the new HTC HD2 from T-Mobile.  A very stylish smartphone that, I have to say, outdoes the design on the iPhone (trust me, I’ve compared it visually with my friend’s iPhone).  Besides the design of the phone, I love that the screen is large, like 4.3 inches large.  At first, I was overwhelmed with everything that was on the phone and was scared to touch anything because I didn’t know where to start.

As usual, the first thing I did was call some of my friends.  At the end of the day, I am buying a phone and it has to have good call quality.  I am happy to say that my friend on the other line said, “you sound so clear, what did you do?” and I could hear her very clearly that it put me at ease to know that I didn’t have hearlingloss.  Next, I tried out the camera.  I have children, so having the convenience of a good camera at the tip of my fingers it a definite must. The picture quality was impressive!

Living in today’s social media age, good internet (connect directly or through Opera Browser), direct Facebook and Twitter touchscreen access, and having Youtube Mobile is more than a convenience, it’s a necessity.  Having those options on the touchscreen page, saved me time and energy.  Plus, everything on the phone is superfast!  I tried using the GPS system and couldn’t figure it out because I was too lazy to look at the instruction manuals.  However, looking at how nice the phone rolled with me, I’m sure the GPS was a smooth operator as well.

Now, the smartphone has tons of other things.  The video camera, Blockbuster eReader, Marketplace, MobiTV, Guitar Hero, and the list goes on and on.  The phone is a little handheld computer/camera/camcorder/television/shopper/phone that comes to life with the tap or touch of your fingers.  Pretty much, you can have your whole life stored in it without having to go elsewhere.

I have to admit that I am sucker to visually appealing phones.  Don’t call me vain, I just love things that look just so.  Since I am a T-Mobile customer, this phone is definitely high on my list for a Father’s Day gift.  Don’t get your father another boring tie this year!!!

(Disclosure: T-mobile provided me with a review unit (loaner) & wireless service free of charge for a 2 week period for review purposes. This review is based solely on my personal opinion and experience and results may vary person to person.)

tmobilefathersNEWSBREAK!!!  T-Mobile wants to make your Father’s Day extra special.  Say goodbye to the boring tie and give your dad a phone that’s fly!!  On Saturday June 19th, 2010 for ONE DAY ONLY, EVERY PHONE IN THE STORE WILL BE FREE (*certain conditions to be met)!!!  Starting at 8 a.m., simply visit a T-Mobile retail store and switch to any family plan, or add a new line to an existing family plan, and walk out of the store with a new phone for every new line with a two-year agreement — customer’s choice — while supplies last.  This includes the HTC HD2, myTouch 3G Slide™, and Garminfone™.

*The offer is valid at T-Mobile owned and operated locations only. New activation on qualifying family plan with two-year agreement required. Limit five lines per family plan. Mail-in rebate and restrictions may apply. Store hours may vary. See store for details.

Jun 14
icon1 Susan | icon2 Product Review | icon4 06 14th, 2010| icon3No Comments »

hoppop

I am always on the look out for cool looking baby products.  On a recent trip to a children’s store, I came across hoppop bato which is essentially a baby bath tub.  The design was very modern and chic, and it had my name all over it (or baby’s name).  The bath tub I have for my baby is usable and fully functional but I was never too thrilled about how it looked.

I love that the hoppop bato is literally a minature sized bath tub.  When my baby goes into the tub, it fits her perfectly and I love how it’s high enough to avoid potential accidents (such as baby going overboard and flipping over).  Plus, it’s wide enough for her to stretch her legs and have space for her hoppop Triplo bath toys.

The first day I received the bato, I took it out of the box (in my living room), filled it water, and put my baby in it.  Although it’s probably not suggested or recommended that you use your bato in the living room, I didn’t have any problems with it (such as leaking).  I put in her Triplo bath toys and she pleasantly sat there and played with them.

At first glance, it looks like a modern art piece (maybe even a sculpture).  You may even be fooled that it’s made of porcelein (looks heavy), but it’s not and it’s super light!  When the FedEx guy came, I made him carry the box into my front entrance.   For a second I thought he was giving me some attitude.  Once I carried the box into the living room, I was like why does this box feel like nothing?

I love everything about the hoppop bato and the Triplo toys.  The only suggestion I have for the company is to create a size big enough for a preschooler to fit in.  The suggested maximum weight was 50lbs and up to 2 years old, so I had to restrain my preschooler from potentially breaking the bato.  She was upset that she didn’t get her own mini-tub, but she asked me to ask hoppop, if they could make her one too (just in her size).

(Disclosure: Product was provided free of charge for review purposes and does not affect my views or feedback of the product.  This review is based solely on my personal opinion and experience and results may vary person to person.)

Jun 10
icon1 Susan | icon2 Experiences | icon4 06 10th, 2010| icon31 Comment »

My husband and I purchased my SUV in 2006, a month before our first child was due.  We wanted a strong reliable car that would protect our children, if we ever got into a car accident.  The problem was that the car had problems from the get go. 

We purchased the car new and was scammed on pricing because we fell into the trap “how much can you afford a month?”. My husband wanted to walk away from the deal but I wanted to make the purchase because I was convinced that the baby would come sooner and the car we had was not ideal for a baby.

After purchasing the new vehicle, my husband and I came home and looked at each other like it was a big mistake.  Nothing felt right about it and on top of it, there were additional costs added on that we didn’t even know of.  At the time, I didn’t know we could return the car after purchasing it and thought it was a decision I had to live with. 

A few weeks after purchasing the car, the rear brake lights went out.  How did I find out?  The Santa Monica PD stopped me at night and gave me a FIX IT ticket.  I took it to an auto shop and replaced the light.  After I got that replaced, a couple months down the line my husband said that my brake lights went out again.  So then I called the dealership to let them know what was going on and they told me to bring it in.  They looked at the car, test drived it, and said that they were going to look at the electricals.

So hours after inspecting my car, they said that it was a steering wheel alignment issue (are you kidding me?).  On top of that, they didn’t write up my issues on paper or even note that I came in that day (probably because they sold me a Lemon).  Their reason?  When I brought the car in, the lights were fully functional, so they couldn’t write up something that was working.  Really?  So pretty much I should be stopped by another cop for a malfunctioning brake light and then bring it in when it is broke.  Plus, it’s a new car, shouldn’t the lights last years not a couple months.

So after having problems with my brake lights for the third time and my brakes working improperly, I took it into the dealership again.  They did their hours of inspection only to find out that my brakes needed a disc replacement.  In their service papers they wrote about the brake disc needing a replacement but failed to write about the brake lights.  Everytime I went in, I felt like they were more about covering up their tracks rather than giving me the best service.

Flashforward to a couple weeks ago when my brakes did not work on the highway.  To be precise, my brakes accelerated when I tried to stop it.  Both my kids were in the back seat and my 4 year old said, “Mommy that was really scary.”  A half a year prior to that happening, the same thing happened on a local street but I thought it was because the car hit a bump or a hole.  However, when it happened on the highway, it was really scary (I could not sleep for days thinking about it).  The next day I had to leave on our vacation, so I waited to call the dealership until I came back.

When I came back, the first thing on my TO-DO list was to call the dealership.  They were very hard to reach and after a day or so, I finally got an email to bring the car in.  I told the service person in detail what was going on and he told me that they would drive it around and try to replicate the problem in order to fix the problem.  So I left the car with them, rented a car (on my own expense), and the next day I received a call saying that they couldn’t replicate the issue so the car was ready for pick-up.  After I received that call, I called the customer service number for the car manufacturer.  The gal behind the line was on a defensive mission, so I received no help, and went to pick up my unfixed car.  Basically, unless I buy a new car, I am waiting for a fatal accident to happen.  How is this legal?

So what do you think?  Do you think I bought a Lemon?

Jun 8
icon1 Susan | icon2 Product Review | icon4 06 8th, 2010| icon3No Comments »

I am by no means a germaphobe (that title belongs to my dear friend) but I like to make sure that my hands are clean, especially having kids.  It’s hard to keep your hands germ-free, but with frequent washes (throughout the day) you can avoid getting sick and spreading those germs.  Many people don’t know how to wash properly and until recent years, I did not know either.  Most people put there hands under running water, put some soap, then wash it off, and they are done.  Did you know that you should rub your hands vigorously for at least 20 seconds?  For proper hand washing instructions, please visit the Mayo Clinic site.

In conjunction with hand washing, having the right sanitizer is essential.  Before having children, I use to get hand sanitizers from Whole Foods and Trader Joes that came in a gel form.  Although they were great sanitizers and got the job done, I wanted something specific that my children could use. 

cleanwellOne day I took my preschooler to The Treehouse Social Club for her to play and while she was playing, I came across the Cleanwell All-Natural Hand Sanitizers.  Immediately, I took a sample and used it on my daughter.  I loved that it came in a compact spray and it didn’t have any striking alcoholic scent to it (alcohol-free).  More importantly, it’s safe for kids, non-toxic, readily biodegradable, naturally antibacterial, and never tested on animals!   Made with a patented formulation of essential plant oils proven to kill 99.99% of the germs that can make you sick.

The Cleanwell Hand Sanitizer makes its appearance in my daughter’s lunchbox everyday.  After she washes her hands, she sprays on her santizer, and then she eats her lunch.  Recently, I was told that she also sprays her fellow classmates’ hands as well.  My daughter is only 4 years old, but she uses it by herself without the assistance of an adult (very kid user friendly).  It makes my life easier, cleaner, and brighter!

For more information on where to get it, please go here. For my local Angelenos, I buy it at Target and Whole Foods.

Jun 4
icon1 Susan | icon2 Experiences | icon4 06 4th, 2010| icon33 Comments »

My neighbor next door came back from China (where she is originally from) and she was telling me about her experience with her new baby niece.  Since the time her sister found out she was pregnant, she asked me for advice on products, books, and misc items for her sister.  One thing I have to mention is that China has the one child policy meaning that you could only have one child.  More than one child results in a heavy fine only affordable to the Riches. 

With that law in place, every child in China is an only child.  For that reason, parents feel that they have one shot to get it right and do everything in their power to raise the best child they can.  Asians in general have an international pride about education.  The competition to get into top universities is like winning the lotto and trying to get into any university is almost as difficult (the odds are not in their favor).

One day my neighbor came over and observed my 10 month old for a good hour.  My baby was crawling all over the place and she told me to keep my baby crawling for as long as I can.  When she said that, I smiled, but in the back of my mind I was wondering why she said that.  As a parent, the next developmental milestone is for her to be walking.  I know that when developmental milestones are not reached by a given time frame, some parents tend to freak out.

The next time my neighbor was over, I asked her why she told me to keep the baby crawling.  She said that her sister read in a book that the longer the baby crawls the smarter the baby will be.  I had never read or heard of such thing.  Of course I had to go online and do my research to see if this was true.  When I did a general search online, there were tons of information that linked crawling to brain development.  If I had known this information before, I probably would have continued to crawl myself (it would have helped me with high school Calculus).

One site that I found to be helpful had an article from Child Genius Magazine that said that every baby has genius potential.  Moreover, physical activity stimulates brain growth.  The article also advised that parents should not aid in walking because the more the baby crawls and creeps the more brain development will take place.

Wow!  Did you know that crawling babies equalled baby geniuses?  I didn’t.  Currently, my baby is crawling like an athlete, so I will continue to let her to do what she knows best.  I have never been a fan of aiding in walking because when the time is right she will do it on her own and on her time.  For now, it’s good to know that her crawling benefits her own brain development!

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