Showing posts with label Product Review.
Showing posts with label Product Review.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Toy Review! Playskool Heroes Transformers Rescue Bots

I like to think of myself as a cool mom for a boy to have. I have two brothers myself, so I grew up with an appreciation of boys' toys; especially those of the 80s and 90s. My Barbie didn't have a horse--she rode on He-Man's panther! And I still remember all the Ninja Turtles' names and the weapons they carried.

So, I was really happy when Andrew developed a love for Transformers Rescue Bots when it debuted on the Hub almost two years ago. Its a preschooler-friendly version of the beloved Transformers franchise, and it of course has cool toys to go along with it from .
First edition Boulder the Construction
Bot becomes a bulldozer in one step

Back when we started collecting these transformers, they didn't even match up exactly with the autobots on the show. They were produced from an earlier concept and the colors and human companions with each bot were not always correct. Of course, it was only my geeky self that cared about this. My 2.5 year-old loved them and I owe a lot to the early rescue bot toys for occupying him right after my second son was born.

So what's so cool about these Rescue Bots, aside from the fact that the cartoon they are based on is light on violence? Well... THEY TRANSFORM IN ONE EASY STEP. I emphasize this with such gusto because any parent with transformers-obsessed children can attest to the tears and frustration that come along with trying to transform the toys geared toward older children -- and I'm talking about the parents! No more tears, folks. These toys are perfect for the recommended 3-6 year-old age group, and I venture to say that younger kids will love them too (my 20-month-old plays right along with his big brother.)

In vehicle mode, all the Rescue Bots have working wheels and Blades the helicopter has a working rotor, but there's really not any articulation to the head, arms, and legs of the toys in bot mode. I really don't view this as a negative as extra articulation would have mean extra transformation steps--and my kids are more interested in wheeling the cars around and transforming them back and forth thank gesturing with their arms.

We still play with these toys and their station on a regular basis. And, after being everywhere from in the pool to in the sand, they are still in pretty good condition. Sure, we've got some rust and paint melting on the toys that got wet (lesson: don't get them wet), and Optimus Prime lost one of his wheels in an stomping accident, but I'm pleased these plastic toys have held up for two years in the hands of two terrors.

Boulder Energize
We bought the first edition Rescue Bot toys for about $12.99 each through Amazon.com. Each of the eight first edition toys (Chase, Heatwave, Blades, Boulder, Bumblebee, Optimus Prime, Hoist and Medix) are still available online, but you may pay a pretty penny for one that's in short supply.  on Amazon!

Blades Energize
There is, however, a second generation of toys called Transformers Rescue Bots Energize that you can buy for anywhere from $11 to $18 in stores and online. These toys are equally as easy to transform and feature blue "energize" details and weapons. Your kids will love them and you should get them--but if you're a bit of a geeky mom like me, you might want to keep your eye out for price-decreases on the originals so you can have them in your collection too.

Rescue Bots, roll out!

Friday, June 7, 2013

Review: DoReMi 1-2-3: Music for Kids app

. fall into that category! My 3-year-old, one-year-old, and I have been playing their gorgeous music-learning app (and also their alien rock band music game Roklienz™ Rok Out) on both my iPad and i36棋牌Phone, and they are so much fun--for the entire family!

There is so much to do and learn on DoReMi 1-2-3! Lesson mode teaches kids to play simple songs by ear using an eight note scale. Notes are represented not by piano keys, but by a set of 8 colorful characters all in a row (8 pandas, 8 stars, 8 cows, etc.) And songs are taught in a progressive, build-on fashion that really works with little ones.

In free play mode--the mode we use the most--kids can make and record their own music. In addition to being able to select from multiple sets of musical characters and wonderfully-illustrated backgrounds to make music in (our favorite setting is the farm), kids can also choose to hear their characters make animal sounds, sing do-re-mi, or recite colors or numbers as they play along the scale.

Plus, there are tons of adorable extras added into each background. For example, clicking certain spots around the farm background will make corn grow from the field or a pig emerge from the barn. This game is no one-trick pony! You and your kids are going to have tons of fun discovering all of its little secrets!

You can get a free version of DoReMi 1-2-3 lite, which includes a limited number of songs, backgrounds and characters, by visiting the itunes . A full version of the game with all the bells and whistles is available for --totally worth it for all the family fun to be had in this beautifully-crafted kids app.

Disclaimer: Creativity Inc provided me with a full version of the app for consideration. All opinions are my own -- I really like this app!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Preview: The 2012 Martha Stewart Baby Shower Show and Rockland Mother's Top Baby Picks

I had the immense privilege of attending the taping of Martha Stewart's "Baby Shower Show" yesterday (my friend applied for tickets online) and boy did we have a nice time! Everyone in the studio audience left with a ton of great products, including those chosen as top baby picks by The Baby Guy who writes  online.

I don't know much about The Baby Guy, but he does know a lot about baby products from his research. BUT, I don't necessarily think he picked the newest and most useful products for the Martha Stewart Show. Perhaps it is because a) The Baby Guy does not have children himself and b) he is a baby GUY and therefore isn't as intimate with the ins and outs of childbirth and breastfeeding as a woman is, but I felt that some of the products that he picked, while wonderful, were either things we all already know about or things that were simply "adorable."

That said, I'm not going to reveal his picks--you can check out the show on Friday, February 17th on the Hallmark Channel--but I do want to quickly mention a few of the items I would have featured had I been the show's baby expert!

:  I've mentioned this product for nursing/pumping moms before. This smart little invention catches any milk leaking from the breast you are not feeding or nursing on so that you can save it and store it for a future feeding. I haven't tried it yet, but I think the Milk Saver is a new and novel product that will help many a mom.

36棋牌Product Details
2) : This innovative infant seat takes up less space than traditional infant swings and mimics a variety of motions from car ride to a mother's rocking arms.  Among other features, it plugs into the wall so that you don't have to eat through D batteries and it also hooks up to your iPod.

36棋牌Product Details
City Select
3) Expandable Strollers: Yes, the robotic, self-folding stroller is awesome and I'm tempted to list it since it was not mentioned on the show either, but I think many more moms will benefit by knowing about the large array of "expandable" strollers that are out there. By "expandable," I'm referring to strollers that have the capability of growing from a single stroller to a double or triple.

Baby Jogger's , , and the are just a few of the expandable strollers out there. If I had known what I know now, I would have registered for an expandable while pregnant with my first--they may be more expensive than a single, but you'll save in the long run when you don't have to buy a double when/if you have a second.

 Yup, I'm going there. This product claims to take advantage of the extra relaxin left in a woman's body after birth and help shrink her hips back to normal (or even small than) pre-pregnancy size! You can bet my large pregnant ass (and hips) I'll be trying this product this spring.

 These stylish bead necklaces are made with safe-for-baby materials and are incredibly strong so that a mother doesn't need to worry about ruining her more expensive jewelry. Mom can wear them while breastfeeding to hold the attention of a fussy baby--and they are even great at distracting my two year old in a pinch! They are the perfect baby shower gift and a great way for a mother to feel pretty in those days just after giving birth--just note that these beads are not meant to be teethed on and that you never eave a child alone with them (not a toy!)
36棋牌Product Details

6) Convertable Diaper Bags: A stylish diaper bag that can hang on your stroller handle is a wonderful thing, but one that is stylish, attaches to a stroller, and can convert from a shoulder bag into a backpack is simply amazing. Anybody who has carried a large toddler on their hip while toting a huge shoulder bag or has run around a playground with a heavy messenger bag across their body can attest to this! (The Baby Guy has probably never done any of these things!)

and or  and are stellar examples of a convertible diaper bag. Expensive, yes. But the smart features in all of these bags definitely make up for it.

36棋牌Product Details

7) :  and the are small baby movement monitors that clip directly to a baby's diaper, rather than being placed under the crib mattress. This eliminates those false alarms that may occur when a baby rolls away from a movement sensor pad place under him in the crib and allows the monitor to be used on the go (in the car, etc.) The Snuza Halo even features a vibrating "rouse" feature to stimulate a baby who has not moved for a certain amount of time and will alert you to rouse incidents.


And I've got loads more we don't have time for today folks! So, maybe Martha will give me a call the next time she needs to put together a smattering of new and awesome baby picks for the year? Check out the show on Friday and let me know what you think!

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Product Review: Bare Escentuals Skincare Trio

 at the Palisades Center Mall a few weekends ago? Well, I've been using the products I purchased since then and I'm ready to give you my review!

I'm going to split the review up into two posts--skincare and makeup--to save you from reading a novel. So here goes my skincare thoughts...

(Disclosure: I have a cousin who works at a Bare Escentuals botique. The contents of this review, however, are all my honest and unbiased opinions. I have not been compensated in any way for this review. All customers are entitled to a free makeover at this store.)

Firstly, the store makeover experience was great. It was so nice to have a makeup pro pick out the correct foundation color for me and also show me how to apply the products, including the skin care line. And, since I was complaining that my skin was dry to the point of hurting, I also got a nice lesson in overall skincare from one of the national trainers who happened to be on-hand. God forgive me, I forget his name, but he was an amazingly sweet and informative man!

I asked for an evening look and I liked the result a lot--and especially how easy the product was to apply. I could definitely see that the powder was sitting not as nicely on the super-dry parts of my face, though, so I took the sales associates' advice and bought a along with my bareMinerals .

The Skinny on the Skincare

My skin has been super dry this winter. I don't know if its the pregnancy hormones, the forced-air heat or a combination of the two, but even putting something as gentle as Cetaphil on my face burned my cheeks. The bareMinerals Purely Nourishing Moisturizer, however, doesn't burn me at all and, over the past few weeks, I have noticed a huge reduction in the dryness of my face after using it twice day most days. Really, my skin looks and feels great.

36棋牌Naturally Luminous Moisturizing Trio (Combination Skin): Facial Cleanser + Moisturizer + Eye Cream - 3pcs
$49 in most stores or online
I've also been using the Renew & Hydrate Eye Cream and the Naturally Luminous Purifying Facial Cleanser most mornings and nights. The eye cream feels very luxurious when I put in on and hydrates nicely--and you only need a teensy weensy amount, so it should last a long time. You only need one pump of the facial cleanser too and all your makeup washes away with ease--impressive! But I have found that if I don't put on the moisturizer right after I cleanse my face feels tight. The tight feeling reminds me to moisturize, which is good, but it is not very comfortable or welcome when I'm being lazy!

I bought these three products together in a bundle called the for $49.00. Since the products should last a while and are giving me nice results when I'm not even the most vigilant user, I feel the price was quite reasonable, as well as comparable to what I would pay for three similar products in a drugstore.

Overall, this skincare regimen amateur is pleased with the bareMinerals skincare brand, so I'm definitely going to stick with it in the future. It really doesn't take more than two minutes a day to use these products each morning and night, and skipping a night once in a while when I'm falling asleep on my feet doesn't really hurt at all. Easy, effective and forgiving--perfect for this soon-to-be mommy-of-two!  

Friday, January 13, 2012

Must Have! Boon's Grass Drying Rack

I am not a neat freak in most areas, but I have anxiety about Andrew's bottles, cups, etc. being clean enough or the just-cleaned items touching my (imaginedly filthy) plastic and metal dish drying rack. Enter  to save the day--while this ingenious product has been out for a while now, I just got one and love, love, LOVE it.

All this drying rack is is a bunch of green plastic blades of "grass" sticking up from a white plastic tray. Simple in theory, but amazing in function.

The blades are plentiful and sturdy and there's tons of space for storing a wide variety of baby paraphernalia. With nothing else on the rack, I've managed to stack and dry 12 standard-width baby bottles and cups at once with no side-hangover. I generally don't dry that many bottles at once, though, so I always have room for nipples, bottle rings, toys, etc.... even the occasional coffee cup (those blades are strong!)

Unlike traditional racks, everything fits nice and snugly onto the slightly flexible blades so that there is little danger of you knocking just-cleaned items onto the floor (almost as terrible as spilling breast milk, no?) And everything is just a little suspended above the plastic tray so that nothing is sitting in water (yuck). Plus, the entire square rack of blades slips easily in and out of the drip tray for easy cleaning.

This rack is for sale for around $14.99 at both and  (and surely at other retailers as well.) If you're sick of dealing with other complicated, messy, or just plain annoying bottle racks, this is the answer to your prayers!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

What a great idea! is a contraption that collects the precious breastmilk that leaks while you're feeding on the opposite side. I had no idea that such a thing existed when I was breastfeeding my son a year ago! Milkies Milk-Saver is BPA free and holds up to 2 ounces of milk--or you can attach it to any milk storage bag. Sure, you could hold a bottle in one hand and try to catch the leaking milk, but this hands-free gizmo seems like a much more awesome solution.

But, here's my question: does it work well? You'll have to help me out mommy friends--have any of you tried the Milk-Saver and loved it?

I was really bad about pumping with Andrew since it was easier just to breastfeed as a stay-at-36棋牌 mom, but with this next baby I'd like to build up a better supply. I'll definitely be spending the $26.50 to get a Milk-Saver from  just to give it a go. And of course I'll let you know how it works out come next spring!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Finally a King! Bed, that is.

It is a momentous day in the Rockland Mother household. We have finally upgraded from a full bed to a king! I know, I know--you're wondering how two adults and a bed-crashing toddler survived squished into such a small space for so long. But, money-wise and apartment-wise its always been wiser for us to have the full. But we've got another little one on the way and my ever-expanding stomach is going to make our bedtime situation a bit more uncomfortable--so a king-size bed is in the very immediate future!

We decided to go the Overstock.com route for the bed purchase and I hope we will not be disappointed. Once we have the bed assembled and we're settled in for a few days, I'll be sure to review the ($470) and ($225) that we bought. We also purchased the $50 10-year mattress service and $48 5-year accidental furniture damage plan just to be safe, so I'll report back on that too if we have need of it.

And it won't be long before I post that review because, even though I ordered the bed the late evening of November 6th, the mattress arrived yesterday, November 8th and the bed frame is being delivered today. That's some ridiculously fast shipping for a rate of $2.95!

Just please wish me luck that these products aren't lemons. I've used Overstock before to great results, but not on furniture!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Venture Photography - Worth it (if you're rich)

is a family portrait franchise that started in the UK and made its way over to the US in 2007 (CT, NJ, and MN at the moment). Photos are taken in a studio against a completely white background and floor and photo subjects are encouraged to bring along props, costumes, pets, whatever, to enhance their shoot. Once the photos are shot, the pictures can be further enhanced with editing, color effects, graphics, etc., are sent to the UK to be mounted and framed, and are ready for display in your 36棋牌--if you pay a high price, that is.

We got sold on a shoot with Venture in Ridgewood, NJ when attending a local Irish Feis (A feis! Look how Irish I am by marriage!) For $50, we got a voucher entitling us to a photo session and an 8x10 framed photo or $350 credit towards another piece of photo art. It sounded like a good deal--especially since you have the option to just take the free 8x10 and run! I really wish we weren't so clueless about the actual prices of the photos from the get-go though--but there aren't any prices on the Venture website and the folks who sold us the Venture voucher kept pretty mum about that.

(Important: We needed to book our photo session within 3 weeks of buying the voucher or the free gift was downgraded into a 5x7 instead of an 8x10). 

Our photo shoot was actually great, even though Andrew had a nap-deprived meltdown midway through. Our photographer Alex worked wonderfully with him and we got quite a few pictures in before my husband and I decided to call it a day. And the studio itself is lovely. The lobby and photo studios are fitted with comfy leather couches and filled with examples of Venture's pricier wall art products. You are offered refreshments of all types. You do really feel like a valued customer, even though you've purchased a discounted voucher.

They sent us 36棋牌 with a flyer full of their prices and I must admit I was a bit surprised. The lowest price was $150 for a framed and mounted 5x7 desk photo (photos are sent to the UK for this part) and the highest was around $6000 for a fancier and bigger piece of wall art. You can not purchase single prints--every photo you order is mounted to a foamy piece of paper on the low price end or other type of medium. They do have the option to buy prints in a photo album (starting at $1600) or as an animated digital slide show ($1500), but it is clearly stated that you may in no way reproduce the images.

We decided we'd give ourselves $300 dollars to spend--on two 5x7s and the free 8x10. And about three weeks later, we went back to the studio for our design consultation--boy do they pull all the stops out for that! You are encouraged to do the design consult without your children in attendance so that you can be fully immersed in the experience. After sinking into a luxurious leather couch, our design consultant--a Carmela Soprano lookalike in a short skirt with stunning legs--asked us if we'd like a drink. Perhaps some coffee? She came back promptly with a french coffee press and the whole nine--we were very impressed indeed.

"Carmela" then began our consultation. She dimmed the lights and an animated slideshow of our best photos flickered across a small movie screen in time to well-chosen music. We oohed and aahed over our adorable child--and I began thinking that maybe we should take out a payment plan to purchase some fancy wall art.

We went through the slideshow again, slowly so that we could pick out our favorite photos. And Carmela used a program that allowed us to build a mock piece of wall art featuring four smallish framed photos. It was so beautiful--but it cost around $2500. Boy how I wanted it though--I wanted each and every good photo actually.

We asked Carmela to leave the room so that my husband could talk me back into reality. We could not afford to spend $2500 for just four photos, no matter how lovely the photo mounting and framing process was. Venture does have a stunning array of photo mounting and framing processes--they are guaranteed not to fade and some even come on a special glassless mounting that can be wiped clean! But we are not millionaires, and we couldn't justify the expense.

So, we left the consultation ordering the free 8x10 and the two 5x7 for $300. And, at the time of picking up our photos 8 weeks later, I ordered another 5x7 for $150 because my mother offered to pitch in for another. The finished product is definitely great, even though they did put the back of my 8x10 on upside down and I had to do a bit of work to flip it (the frame is taped closed AND the photo is taped to the glass to prevent dust getting in and to prevent you from scanning the photo I reckon. I mentioned above that you are prohibited from making reproductions even after you pay all that money. But, I bet a really resourceful person would find a way to scan the photos anyway--even though I'm not sure what the foamy photo mounting material would do to the print quality).

So, yes, Venture gave us a beautiful photography experience and four nice photos for $500, but I could have gotten a ton more nice photos for less money and had some to share with my friends and family if I had just gone to a local photographer or a nearby JC Penny, even. I think I paid $3300 for my entire wedding photography with  and I got two photographers for a whole day, a photo album AND a CD with thousands of photos. I just feel like there are better deals out there, you know?

The bottom line: 
Venture Photography can give you a beautiful photo-taking experience and great photos, but I think they should expose their prices up front so that folks booking photo sessions can make a more informed decision before getting emotionally involved. Once you're in that screening room viewing gorgeous photos of your family, it is so hard not to let your guard down and lay out a bunch of money you may or may not have. I'm not saying that their prices aren't warranted when you consider the time and talent of the photographer, the cost of the photo editing, printing and mounting process, and the money it takes to upkeep the fancy studio. But, I think Venture would have a much better reputation and get more repeat customers here and in the UK if they were much more open with their prices. I also think they should come up with an inexpensive way to let photo subjects buy regular prints to reproduce and share with friends and family.

Oh! And Venture just created a smartphone application that is supposed to allow customers to see all their photos online and share them. But here's the rub--you have to be a VIP customer who has spent money on wall art. I'm not sure how much money you have to spend to be a VIP, but I definitely will be calling the studio to request VIP access and will report back about it here. (I have a sneaky suspicion, though, that my $500 will not be enough to warrant VIP access.)

Please email me if you have any questions (maybe you booked a Venture session like we did) or if you want to see our photos. I can't reproduce them per se, but I might be able to send you a photo of my media center with the photos displayed on them. Also, please let me know if you would like to see the price catalog that I have. I can definitely scan it and forward it to you. 

So sorry for the super long review, but I've noticed there aren't many Venture reviews out there--I hope this will be helpful!!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Personal Trimmer Fail at The Adult Toy Shoppe

I think that all bloggers feel pretty much the same when it comes to receiving products for review: we're really so grateful for the opportunity and we really hope we'll like the product so that we can write a positive review. No one is happy to write a bad review when folks have been so generous as to send them a product, but we must write the truth. 
The folks at have been generous to send me a couple products to review over the past few months--and this is one of those occasions where I feel bad about writing a bad review. They recently sent me their to try out, and, sadly it was a dud. 
36棋牌Personal TrimmerI was really hoping it would work. I don't have much time to go to a salon for a wax and, after a few incidents, I'm getting more and more afraid of getting anywhere close to my lady bits with a razor. But, this trimmer is not anywhere near a solution for me. Both of its two shaving heads didn't work properly for me--the large shaving head (pictured) didn't shave at all and the smaller shaving head (small like a nose trimmer) worked when pushed directly onto one hair, but didn't shave close to the skin. And, really, who wants razor sharp stubble down there?  
So, I'm back to looking for an at-36棋牌 solution that does not involve dangerous blade-wielding or 2nd-degree-burn-inducing hot wax. Any suggestions? 

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

The Best Bath Crayon You'll Ever Want to Steal from Your Kid

$6.99 - Alex Rub a Dub Star Crayon
36棋牌We've only got a shower and in the pursuit of expediency and not stinking, I bring the little guy in with me each morning. At first, the novelty of the shower was enough to keep him occupied, but then he started getting bored and trying to escape. Once he discovered the door opened, nothing--not duckies, not foam letters, not toy trucks--was going to keep him in. Until I remembered they made bath crayons!

We've tried a bunch of bath crayons and the Alex  is hands-down our favorite. Its palm-size star shape is super easy for Andrew (20 months old now) to hold and saves me from having to pick up a million tiny bath crayons. It writes wonderfully and brightly on our smooth tile walls and textured shower floor. And clean up is a breeze with a sponge or washcloth. (Skip Alex's traditional --they don't write as well and aren't good for smaller children.)

We have so much fun drawing with this crayon in the shower that Andrew wants to stay in longer--and I get to actually wash my hair! I also like to leave my husband notes on the shower wall like "I love your" or "I'll kill you the next time you leave the toilet seat up."

My only gripes: the crayon heads can wear down quickly when you have a toddler grinding them into a textured shower floor and the $6.99 replacements can burn a hole in your pocket quickly. Regardless, we'll be keeping these crayons in stock at the Rockland Mother residence--how else will I get to shave my legs??

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Make'em Jealous of your Address Labels (plus 10% discount code)

36棋牌Lacey Personalized Round Stickers
Lacey; 50 for $21
I am seriously coveting the circular personalized address labels over at . How cute would they look slapped on the back of your next birthday invitation, thank you note, or Christmas /holiday card? I stumbled upon the Fun and Sassy website because has a selection of their circular Halloween labels priced at 50% off today ($4.25 for 20). But, I'm really more in the market for everyday labels and Christmas labels, like these here beauties.

36棋牌Pinkwheel Personalized Round Stickers
Pinkwheel; 50 for $21
Fun and Sassy also has a slew of other items if you're not into the circular, from traditional labels, to cards and gift tags too. There's free shipping on orders over $50 and you can currently get a 10% discount with code 2KL4SKL. Also, for a limited time, all orders of over 60 address labels will be doubled for free. Awesome.

Shop on, friends!

Friday, August 19, 2011

Author Guest Post! Cynthia Ellingson author of The Whole Package

36棋牌Have I've got a treat for you today! Cynthia Ellingsen, author of the newly released and perfectly named novel 36棋牌 is here as a guest blogger. You're definitely going to want to hear more about Cynthia and her book--which is about a restaurant where scantily clad men do the serving. Yes! 

A full Rockland Mother review and giveaway of the book are just a couple weeks down the line too, so be sure to keep your eyes peeled for that. In the meanwhile, sit back and enjoy today's guest post! 


Hi Rockland Mother! Thank you so much for having me to guest blog.

The Whole Package was released on August 2 and it’s been a delight to hear from readers. I’m going to share with you some of the most frequent questions I’ve been asked since the launch of the book.

What is The Whole Package about?

The Whole Package is about three women, friends for life, who open a restaurant staffed by scantily clad men. Very attractive, scantily clad men.

Seriously, what’s the book about?

Even though there are some very attractive, scantily clad men, the story is actually about friendship. The three main characters, Jackie, Cheryl and Doris, are best friends who have lost touch. The book is about the three of them coming back together.

How long did it take you to write it?

It took about six months to write the rough draft of The Whole Package and about a year to polish. I love to drink coffee while I write (wine doesn’t work when I’m writing - I’d nod off over the computer!) so that probably equals about 1,620 cups of coffee.

Have you always wanted to be a writer?

Yes, yes and yes. In third grade, the teacher designated Friday as story writing day. He would create these blank books with wallpaper covers and we were expected to write a book every Friday. While most of the class would feign illness, I would happily scribble away.

How did you pursue a writing career?

Unfortunately, I didn’t. Not for years. I went through that thing in middle school that a lot of girls fall victim to - the ol’, “boys will only like me if I’m dumb”. So, I didn’t pursue writing as a career until I was older, wiser and... okay, fine. Smarter.

What do you hope readers will get from reading The Whole Package?

I just got a wonderful email from a reader that can help me answer this question. In her email, she talked about the various themes in the book. One message she settled upon was the importance of staying true to who you are. (One of the main characters, Jackie, is a painter who has long since given up the desire to paint. It’s only a tiny part of who she is but it’s very significant in terms of what makes her happy.) The reader pointed out that, in life, we often lose sight of what it is as women that truly makes us happy. The Whole Package reminded her the importance of staying true to who she is and to set aside time and enthusiasm for those things that bring her joy.

I hope that all readers can find a similar message as they read The Whole Package.

Thanks for reading! I hope to hear from you, too, at

Monday, August 15, 2011

That's More Like It! Hefty 55 Qt D Style Touch Lid Wastebasket

You'll probably recall my hate letter to my Simple Human Round Trashcan. While sleek looking and metal, it was so small as to be useless and was constantly leaving me with ripped trash bags and garbage on the kitchen floor (yuck!) Well, we finally got our asses in gear and bought another--albeit plastic--wastebasket and it is a winner!

We bought at a local Target (Spring Valley, NY) for about $17.00. The trash can is large enough for all of our kitchen trash and not once has my garbage bag become lodged within it or shred into a million  pieces. It looks great in the black color we purchased--because white gets dirty so easily--and the touch lid is wonderful. This is a push button lid which needs to be manually closed, which I actually prefer over the step trashcans because you can leave the lid open for big jobs.

The cons are that, if your husband is like mine and shoves garbage in the can until it is brimming, you will need stretchy trash bags such as the 36棋牌 bags so that the bags do not slip down into the wastebasket. Also, as mentioned, this is a plastic wastebasket so it will retain some odors from particularly stinky garbage. I've found that the odors actually dissipate fairly quickly, but I still like to spray inside the can with Lysol between the stinky bag changes.

36棋牌Oh, and I can't seem to find the "D' Style Wastebasket anywhere online anymore except at Walmart ($16 in White ). It seems that the similar  has taken its place ($14.97 at Walmart in black and white .)

I'm really floored that these inexpensive trash cans have the stupidly expensive Simple Human models beat. Serves me right to get all fancy when all we had to do was visit a local store and trust a brand who really knows their garbage (er, stuff)!

Friday, August 12, 2011

I Heart Huggies Slip-Ons

I've been using the new  for about a week now and I am a fan36棋牌! The slip-on design makes my life so much easier (if you've ever tried to fasten a regular diaper on a running toddler, you can understand) and they have nifty opening side tabs so that you aren't pulling a dirty diaper down your kid's legs.

I also really like the fit of the diapers--Andrew is 33 inches long and 25 lbs and the size 4s (22-37 lbs) are snug like underwear without the between-the-knee sag of other diapers. I think we could even go up to a size 5 (27+ lbs) since Andrew is on the tall side now and he'll outgrow the 4s lengthwise in a hot second, but the side panels are so stretchy and soft, the 4s fit like a glove. Oh, and gone are the sharp edges of the regular Little Movers size tabs--Andrew was really getting cut up and sore from those!

Absorbency-wise, they are as absorbent as regular Huggies--which means we still have overnight leaks at times like we have in EVERY brand of diaper we have tried. I'm so used to changing sheets that I wasn't surprised, though. I don't think any diaper can withstand the pee that springs forth from Andrew overnight!

Price-wise, ouch. Amazon is listing the 100 pack of size 5s, 112 pack of size 4s, and 132 pack of size 3s (16-28 lbs) at $50.16 today.  isn't much better right now: $49.99 for a smaller quantity of diapers--but you can get $5 off the price if you join the site's free Take 5 loyalty program. I think I'm just accustomed to the price of Luvs and other discounted brands--guess you pay for the convenience of pulling up!

So, what's the difference between these and Pull Ups or Easy Ups? Well, they are priced pretty similarly, but the Slip-Ons come in smaller sizes. Pull-Ups do start at 18+ lbs for the 2T-3T size, though, (and in a nighttime version!) so I will be trying those down the road and--you guessed it--reviewing them right here. Speak up, though, if you have experience with trainers or slip-ons that you'd like to share--I'd love to hear your opinion too!

Update: It looks like the box of 100 size 5's won't be available to ship for 2-3 weeks from Amazon! If you order the 80 pack ($47) and sign up for the subscribe and save option, though (it is free and you can cancel whenever you like) the 80-count box is $33 for a limited time--that's an extra 15% off the normal 15% subscribe and save discount.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Intriguing--Huggies Little Movers Slip-Ons

$50 for a box of 112 (Amazon)
36棋牌Andrew hates having his diaper changed, and I more often than not have to get his diaper on and off while he is standing. So, I was reaaly intrigued to hear that Huggies just released a slip-on version of their Little Movers diaper: .

These diapers were just released today on Amazon, so I haven't had a chance to try them out, but I will definitely be buying a box to see if they a) work, b) are worth the almost $30 increase from the regular Little Movers and c) are not just a glorified version of Pull Ups. I'm supposing that they do have a lot in common with Pull Ups--slip on design, easy open side tabs for changing--but fill the smaller sizes gap (sizes 3, 4, and 5) that  Pull Ups do not cover.

I'll try them out and get back to you STAT. Until then, may your changing times be peaceful and your diaper-fastening fingers swift!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

$25 for Pajamas Giveaway from Crazy For Bargains

 is an online one-stop-pajama-shop for the entire family. When they contacted me about doing a review and giveaway, I was shocked that I didn't know such a store existed! 
My family is always in need of pajamas. Andrew grows so quickly his pajama pants are capris now. My husband's pajamas are seven sizes too big (he bought them that way) and I collect pajamas like I should be on TLC's "Extreme Hoarders" (Ok, I'm not that bad). 
Needless to say, I was happy to hear from Crazy for Bargains. Shopping for pajamas while in my pajamas sounds like a good thing to me! Furthermore, I was really impressed by the high quality of the review samples they sent my way.

I received a for me and the ridiculously adorable  for Andrew. Despite my fear that I would feel like an old lady a nightgown that reaches my calves, it is actually really cute and so soft I could wear it all day (but will try not to).

Andrew's pajamas, aside from being the cutest darn pajamas ever, are also really soft. And despite my fears that they wouldn't fit because we received the 12 month size (he is 23-ish pounds) or would shrink in the wash, they actually fit and held up really well. I only noticed a bit of fading on the inside of the waistband from my heavy washing/high heat drying.

Crazy for Bargains has pajamas available in a wide range of prices and even a lot of clearance/sale options. They have $5 flat rate shipping and free shipping on orders over $40. They also offer returns and exchanges within 30 days of purchase (with tags still on), but shipping is not refundable.

Store Credit Giveaway!!

One lucky reader will receive a $25 store credit to Crazy For Bargains (free shipping included)! Entrants must be 18 years and older and live in the US. Please comment below and you will receive one entry for the giveaway. For extra entries you can (leave a separate comment for each below):

1) Follow Rockland Mother through Google Friend Connect
2) Like
3) Visit and tell me what you might use your prize on!

The giveaway will end 11:59pm on August 15, 2011. Good luck!!

Friday, July 22, 2011

I love Wet Skin Sunblock Spray!

36棋牌At $11-$13 and , Neutrogena's Wet Skin Kids Sunblock spray is a bit pricier than some sunblock lotions--but it is also amazing. 

At first I was a naysayer--when my cousin whipped it out by our pool, I thought "what is the point of this fancy-shmancy stuff?" The point is that you can spray non-cooperative tikes with the stuff in just a minute or two (no more rubbing and rubbing in lotion) and. most importantly, it really prevents sunburn! I even spray it in Andrew's hair--what an improvement over lubing his head with lotion.

Wet Skin Kids SPF 70 spray applies on wet or dry skin, is water-proof and sweat-proof, and is oil free (no slippery babies). And I think it smells pretty darn good! (I even use some myself--they do make an SPF 85  that can be used on kids 6+ months too.) Sometimes the spray can shock an unsuspecting kid, though, so you may need to proceed gently, especially on the back of the neck. 

Be safe in the sun and enjoy the weekend!

Monday, July 18, 2011

The Cutest Cupcake and Kokeshi Giveaway Ever!

adorable polymer clay products! I really think the items in Claybaby's Clay & Me Etsy shop are the most adorable cupcake charms that Etsy has to offer. 
I ordered the set of 4 blue cupcake charms pictured above for just $5.00 + $3.50 shipping. I think that's a pretty good deal since they came all the way from the Philippines. It also makes me feel good to support and artist who is working entirely by hand. But you, my dears, won't have to pay shipping because, for a limited time, shipping on all orders is free if you enter the code BIG100 at checkout.  Shipping is standard mail unless you choose otherwise and takes 2-4 weeks.

for galleries that will make you want to shop!  
and post your favorite item in a comment below. For extra entries, like , like , and/or follow Rockland Mother on Google Friend Connect and post a separate comment for each below stating that you did so. The contest will end at 11:59pm on August 1st. I will then contact the winner and wrap the charms well for shipping, but cannot be responsible for any breakage (my apologies!)  

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Shame on you, Martha. Your bath towels suck (or, rather, don't)

36棋牌Another benefit of moving to the "country" is that we can finally break out some of the wedding gifts that have been collecting dust in my mother's hall closet for 3 years! One gift that I was particularly excited to try out were our new Martha Stewart Collection bath towels. I've mentioned before how I love Martha and her website, so you can imagine I was expecting super-soft, absorbent heaven in my bathroom thanks to her. 

Well, what a disappointment! These towels look plush and absorbent, but they don't do a good job of drying at all. While soft, they seem to just push the moisture around your body rather than soaking it up (you'd be better off air-drying). And, stupid me, I registered for the "midnight blue" towels--and boy do they shed! Even after three months of use, washing and drying they shed in the dryer, they shed on our skin, and don't even talk to me about the blue coating on my white-tiled bathroom floors. 

Shame on you, Martha! The same exact towels are still  and there are quite a few reviews on the website from this year bemoaning the towels' low-absorbency and tendency to shed, so I'm not optimistic that these towels have had a redesign. But somebody better call the big lady in charge! How can she enjoy her luscious gardens and beloved Chow Chows when consumers are suffering with wet behinds somewhere?? 

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Strap Ease Bra Clips Really Work!

My mom is awesome in many, many ways--and one of them is that she buys As Seen on TV products that I want but never actually get the nerve to buy. Sure, over the years this has led to her having a room full of fitness equipment that is rarely used, but there are also the rare winners that she generously share with me.

Such is the case with . This product really works! 36棋牌Strap Ease is just a two-inch piece of plastic which simply and cleverly pulls your regular bra straps into racerback position. At $5 for a set of 6 assorted color clips on Amazon it definitely beats buying a racerback bra or tying your straps together with a hair tie!

The product is easy to use, comfortable wear, and invisible under most clothing (unless it is skin tight, of course). You get the added bonus of some extra cleavage if you do not loosen your straps too much. And I imagine they can also be used with bathing suits whose straps are a bit too loose.

What more can I say but that I wouldn't have been able to wear some great new tops I bought from Kohl's recently if my mother didn't have Strap Ease Bra Clips laying around. With all that's going on around the house these days--and me trying to save money--I know I would have never gone out to buy a racerback bra I would hardly ever use. Therefore a big THANK YOU to my mom and to Strap Ease. Love you both!