Friday, September 23, 2011

SkyMall awesomeness

Did you know there's no easy way to get to Louisville, Kentucky? In the span of seven hours, I zipped from Ottawa to Toronto to Cleveland to Louisville. Most of the trip was pleasant enough, however the plane from Cleveland to Louisville was a hot mess, it was absolutely filthy, the flight attendent spilled hot coffee on me (then awkwardly tried to towel it off), and I sat next to a man who managed to spend an entire hour hawking lougies.

But I was okay with all of that, do you know why? I had a copy of SkyMall magazine in my hands. Yes, it had some unknown red substance splashed on the front, and some of the pages were stuck together, but it was mine, all mine! Not to disappoint, the magazine catalogued a vast array of random gadgets and gizmos that somewhere, for some reason, some people must buy to fill some purpose. What purposes, you may ask? Spying on your spouse. Massaging assorted body parts. Growing hair. Not walking your dog. The list goes on.

What caught my eye this time around, you ask?

  1. Why go to your beer when your beer can come to you. For realz. If this doesn't scream 'lazy', I don't know what does.

  2. On a related note, someone has finally solved the age-old dilemma of how to get wine out of a bottle, and into a glass. And holding wine. They solved that problem too. My parties are going to get *so*much better!

  3. The only thing better than a head massage is a head massage anytime you want one. Wear it at Starbucks, I dare you!

  4. Put $5.00 away five days a week for a year, and you'll have $1300.00! You can only do it with this box. Note: $1300.00 not included.

  5. Am I the only one who finds it disturbing that they make this shirt in an adult size?

  6. Finally, I can find out what I would look like with a mustache. Finally.

  7. Fucking gravity has finally met it's match.

  8. Honey, you know what would really pull this room together? A life-sized sculpture of a woman with a lamp on her head.

  9. This puts the 'scare' in scarecrow.

  10. Temperature Regulating Blanket, also know as a regular, ol' blanket. Color me crazy, but don't all blankets keep you warm?

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Not Vegas, baby!

My bag is packed, and tomorrow I'm flying out to the 9th annual ABC Kids Expo, one of the largest juvenile product shows in the industry. I make the trip every year to meet personally with suppliers, and to get a peak at what's new & exciting. It's a fun (albeit exhausting) few days, it's definitely something I look forward to every year. In previous years, the show was held in Las Vegas (baby!), but this marks the show's debut in Louisville, Kentucky. I'll admit that I'm a little disappointed about this year's venue, I'm not a gambler, but Las Vegas is a fantastic place to people watch ("Is that his girlfriend or his grand-daughter?" "Are those real?"). The show's organizers have worked hard to get attendees and exhibitors alike jazzed (yes, I said jazzed) about the show, we'll see if Louisville is everything they promise.

In previous years, my husband has attended the show with me, and what I mean by that is while I'm hiking through rows upon rows of juvenile gear, he's lazing about by the hotel pool drinking margaritas. He's not coming this year (suffice it to say, he was not jazzed at the idea of making the trek to Louisville), he'll be home with the kids as I go it alone. I'm a little nervous and excited at the prospect of being totally and completely alone. In my 37 years on this planet, I have *never* been alone, I basically went from living with my parents to living with my husband, this will be a new experience for me! I certainly hope this solo trip goes better than the last, it will be très embarrassing if I end up crying in public. Again.

I've already mapped out a premilinary list of vendors I want to visit, some good, and some bad. It is a little hard to navigate the show virtually, while the vendors are broken into separate categories, with names like Buckley Boo, Piggy Wiggles, Inchbug, and KooChoo, figuring out what I want to hit is a time-consuming process. Outside of the show, I'm not sure what I'll do with my free time, but having zero responsibilites will be pretty sa-weet! I'll be posting pics and uploading videos from the show to our Youtube channel, as in previous years, I'll be giving away the goodies I receive at the show, stay tuned here or on our Facebook group for further details. Giddyup!

Friday, September 9, 2011

Baby Boom (again), baby!

As promised, here is a list of this some of this year's Baby Boom sales to whet your appetite!

Beco Gemini $109.00 (regular price $139.00) This carrier is great for carrying little ones on your front or back, what sets it apart from the most SSCs on the market is how well it allows a parent to wear a little one in a facing-out position. Yes, facing in is ideal, but some babies simply want to see the world. Limited quantities!

Sleepy Wrap $40.00 (regular price $60.00) This is hands-down our favorite carrier for newborns. It provides fabulous support both to the baby and the wearer, and it's 'poppability' makes it ideal for taking babies in and out of the carrier quickly and easily. The sale-priced carriers are in old packaging, they are final sale. Limited quantities!

CountrySave detergent $6.00 (regular price $10.99) This is the top-rated detergent for cloth diapers as suggested by a number of leading diaper manufacturers. It is scent-free, and it leaves no residue. CountrySave contains sodium percarbonate, which is a laundry booster, it makes the detergent clean more effectively. Limit: one box/customer, while quantities last.

Amber necklaces $10.00 (baby), $16.00 (adult) (regular price $16.00, $24.00) Whether or not you believe in their analgesic properties, these necklaces are darn cute! Amber has been used in Eastern Europe for hundreds of years as a natural form of pain relief, if your little one is suffering as her teeth break, this necklace may make life a little easier for both of you. Limited quantities!

Nneka nursing pillows $55.00 (regular price $62.00) Handsewn in Quebec, these pillows are filled with buckwheat hulls, providing firm support. You can shift the buckwheat in the pillow to ensure the pillow helps position your baby properly at the breast, you can even remove some of the buckwheat to help with positioning (you don't need the baby sitting under your chin!). The pillows cotton cover is washable, which is important when you consider how dirty it may get. In addition to using the pillow for breastfeeding, you can use it to support your pregnant belly, or it can be used to help support a learning-to-sit baby.

Piddle Pad $8.00 (regular price $9.99) The manufacturer has redesigned the pad, rebranded it as a 'deluxe' piddle pad, and raised the SRP to $13.00. We're clearancing our remaining 'regular' Piddle Pads, they're a must-have for when you're toilet-training a toddler, they will save your carseat from the inevitable accidents that can't be avoided (unless you avoid the car altogether).

Family Stickers These are new to us, to celebrate their arrival, if you buy two stickers, you'll receive a third sticker for $1.00. Yes, they're kitchy, but they're cute!

Baby Cubes $5.99 (regular price $7.49) These 2 oz. containers (BPA and Pthalate-free) are sold in sets of 8 with a storage tray. They have hinged lids, so you won't have to fumble around to match lids with bottoms.

Fuzzibunz perfect-size diapers $15.00 (regular price $23.95) We have some discontinued colors instock, aqua and sage, size medium only. We have a good number of them, if you're not picky about color, you can build a great stash for a great price. No quantity limits, while supplies last!

bumGenius 4.0 stay-dry diapers $19.00 (regular price $23.95) We just inventoried our stock and realize we have an abundance of moonbeam diapers, with snap closures. If you're considering making the switch to cloth diapers, these diapers are just as easy to use. They are trim, they will keep your little on dry, and they fit up to 35 lbs. Limit two diapers/customer, while quantities last.

Bummis 'Beautiful Basics' prefold set $18.00 (regular price $21.95) We love us some prefolds around these parts, and we're willing to bet you will too if you give them a shot! This set contains three prefolds and one cover. Get your feet wet with cloth diapers for under $20.00, come on, take a chance!

Sales are valid at the show only, we don't want to bring anything back with us, as noted, some items are available in limited quantities (we'd love to pack the entire store, but we just can't).

We have an assortment of other goodies with us, if you're coming out tomorrow, please stop by and say hello! This show is a great opportunity for us to connect with local parents, and it's a great way for growing families to connect with the services and boutiques available in the city of Ottawa. You can find us at booth #1 and #2, we are conveniently located on your way in and your way out!

Friday, September 2, 2011

I fought the Diva Cup (and the Diva Cup won)

We stock a selection of reusable menstrual products (pads and cups), naturally, customers contemplating the switch to reusables have questions about how everything works. With respect to LunaPads, most women ask questions about how the different pieces fit together. Given the crowd we attract, I usually liken the system to cloth diapers -- you have AIOs and AI2s -- the pad and the liner are akin to a cloth diaper cover and an insert. When women pick up the Diva Cup, they only ask one question, "What's it like to use this?", the question is often accompanied by a raised eyebrow, and a knowing exchange of glances between us. Their real question is: "How does this fit up there?" "Will it get lost?" "Does it hurt?" I am upfront and I admit that while I have not used a Diva Cup personally, I have many friends who do, and they all swear by it, proclaiming:

  • it's comfortable to use while playing sports

  • you can leave it in for up to 12 hours before emptying it

  • it can lessen the cramps associated with menstruation (have I ever mentioned how awesome menstruation is? Women are so lucky. So. Lucky).

For months, I've been meaning to make the switch, but the timing has never worked out. I finally remembered to pick one up at the start of my most recent cycle, and I plucked up the courage to give it a shot, I mean, how hard can it be, right? Right? I figured I'd pop it in, and write a review that went something like this:

"ZOMG, I cannot believe how long I lived without the Diva Cup! It was *so* easy to use, and it works so well! Every woman should have one, why, I'm going to lobby the Harper government to hand them out to every girl as she transitions into womanhood, I mean, it's just so great! So. Great! Long live the Diva Cup, Diva Cup forever!"

Of course, everyone had warned me that making friends with my Diva Cup would take a bit of practice (and patience), however, I was confident we'd hit it off instantly. Sadly, my love affair with the Diva Cup has gotten off to a bumpy start.

When it came time to try out the Diva Cup, I got myself settled into the upstairs bathroom, the kids were downstairs watching TV playing harmoniously together, mommy needed a little privacy to wrap her head around what was about to go down (er, go up?). Like most women, I had my fears about how things would work out. I was worried that once inside, the Diva Cup would float upwards through my innards, like my vagina is a portal to some sort of blackhole and the Diva Cup would get lost for years, never to be seen again until I cough it up like a hairball. The wonderful instructions that accompany the cup kindly explained that my vaginal walls are only 3-4 inches in length, proving my 'lost in space' fears to be unfounded. As an aside, the Diva Cup instructions also pointed out that the average monthly total flow output is in the neighbourhood of 1 to 1.4 ounces -- just enough to fill a shot glass! Total!! Is it just me, or does that estimate seem, well, a little low? Judging from the apparent carnage I seem to suffer through every month, if I were to estimate what my average monthly flow output is, I'd put it closer to a liter, not unlike what must ooze out of a severe gunshot wound, but perhaps that's just me.

So there I am, Diva Cup in hand, I've reassured myself that it's not going to get lost, but now I'm starting to freak out about how big it is. Prior to this moment, I had been mentally preparing myself for the size/fit issue, but I've birthed four babies, one of whom was so big he practically walked out of my vagina with a cigarette in one hand, a bottle of JD in the other, and he was all 'sup, bitches? to the midwives, so really, I've got this, it will be OK. But there I am, doing the Diva Cup origami as is kindly suggested by the Diva Cup instructions, and no matter how I fold the damn thing, it's just so fucking huge!

The Diva Cup instructions, which are starting to get on my nerves, kindly suggest that I should 'relax' my vaginal walls before inserting the cup, and I'm starting to feel like maybe I should have taken her out to an expensive dinner beforehand and told her she looked pretty, because I can tell she's as nervous about this as I am. So I take a deep breath, and shove it all up there, but the cup unfolds before I've got it in place, and the idea of pushing it up further while it's unfolded kind of makes me want to cry. I withdraw, apologize profusely to my vagina, and read the bloody instructions again, which suggest it's completely normal for the cup to unfold while it's being inserted. Oh, well isn't that great, I was kind of hoping that it would unfold after I was done launching it up into my nether regions, but I guess that's too much to ask. I take another deep breath, apologize to my vagina again, who is now about as relaxed as a virgin on her wedding night, and we give it another go, this time with moderately more success. I manage to launch the cup further up into my nether regions than the first time, but I don't feel it unfold. No worries, I'm actually quite OK with that, let's push on, shall we?

I'm not quite finished yet, because now I need to rotate the cup 360°, which at this point, is about as appealing as a root canal performed by a drunk monkey. So I grab the cup's stem, twisting it slowly, beads of sweat dripping off my brow, and I think I can feel my vagina quietly weep each time the cup moves (not that it was particularly painful, but my vagina at this point was decidedly unrelaxed). After the cup has been rotated, I tentatively stand up, and take a few steps. While having the cup in place certainly wasn't uncomfortable, I could feel the sensation of something being up there, quite frankly, it felt like I had a thighmaster launched up my hooha. To say I had the gait of a cowboy who had just rode in on the Pony Express is an understatement, every step I took was more bowlegged than the last, as my brain worked overtime to convince my vagina that it was playing host to an uninvited guest. At this point, my vagina and I decided we'd both had enough, issuing the Diva Cup its eviction notice. My vagina and I both released a sigh of relief as the cup signalled its exit with a defiant 'pop'.

With what I have to assume is the worst of it out of the way, I will give the Diva Cup another go next month, things can only get better, and besides, I like a challenge. The idea of using the cup is so appealling, perhaps the next time we attempt to make friends, I will buy my vagina a box of chocolates and a dozen roses to help her relax beforehand.