Posts in the ‘Mommy Must Haves’ Category

Tech & Grandparents

Tuesday, May 14th, 2013

Petunia Pickle Bottom Stowaway iPad sleeve

iSeniors — Connecting Technology & Grandparents

My parents are amazed to see how my 6 year old son adeptly navigates his iPad and how he doesn’t shy away from letting us know when he thinks the wireless network is too slow. Living in Silicon Valley, there is so much focus on small children and technology. But what about the other end of the spectrum – grandparents? Technology has transformed the lives of my 75+ year old parents and in-laws. They are having just as much fun with technology as my son’s kindergarten class. Here are 5 great tech innovations for seniors:

1)     iPad: iPads are wonderful for older parents and grandparents who aren’t comfortable using a mouse and don’t like squinting at a computer monitor. The ease of swiping their fingers across the screen to see photographs of their grandchildren, to search for news, and to play games is amazing. Their ability to easily make the text larger with a simple finger gesture on the screen has really transformed their connection with the Internet. They also love the portability of the iPad. My parents are no longer tethered to their home office, like they were with their desktop computer, and the iPad is much easier for my mom to carry around the house and hold than a laptop. My 80 year old father-in-law rarely leaves the house without his iPad. He was able to easily set up his stock portfolio on Yahoo! Finance by himself so he can keep a close eye on his investments. He may not be ready to trade stocks online, but he loves having up-to-date information at his fingertips so he knows when to call his broker.

2)     FitBit: The only thing my mother loves more than her iPad is her FitBit One™. To say it has changed her life completely would be an understatement. Her FitBit has become her new best friend and she genuinely loves the words of encouragement and humorous messages that appear on the screen. She is so motivated to reach 10,000 steps every day, and she now has the personal trainer she never knew she wanted. She shows it off to all of her friends, and strangers too for that matter.  I helped her with the initial setup and now she can easily charge her device and view her summary metrics with ease.

3)     Wireless Access: Even if your parents or grandparents don’t have a laptop or tablet, I still recommend getting wireless Internet access in their home. I recently upgraded the wireless in my parent’s home so that my husband and I knew we would always be well connected when we were visiting. My extended family benefits from it too when they visit. Having a wireless network actually encourages the younger generations to visit their elderly relatives more often and not be in such a rush to leave. It is also nice for long term caregivers as well, as they appreciate having easy Internet access while they are caring for your loved ones.

4)     Video Cameras: The mother of a friend of mine lives over 600 miles away from his home. His feisty mother is over 80 years old and is still living on her own. He has tried to convince to move closer to him and his family, but she doesn’t like the idea one bit. Since she has had trouble walking, he wanted to be able to keep a close eye on her, even when he is far away. His solution – video. The last time he visited her, he installed cameras throughout her condominium, and he is able to watch the video footage from his computer, anytime from anywhere. There is a little peace of mind knowing that if she were to fall, he would be able to call for help. Some people may question this act as an invasion of her privacy, but she was onboard with the idea. They have also been very upfront with people who work in her home and notified them that the condo is monitored. He likes to be able to keep a close eye on the caregivers, handymen and cleaning crews that come in and out of her home. Thanks so the wonders of technology, he can.

5)     Facebook: At first my mother and mother-in-law were downright fearful of Facebook. I tried so many times to get them to sign up but they wanted nothing to do with it. I finally sat down with my mom and realized that her main concern was that she didn’t want to share anything personal with strangers. She didn’t want her ‘friends’ to know what she was making for dinner. After a few long months, I finally convinced her she could sign up for Facebook and that she didn’t need to tell anyone a thing. Just because she registered didn’t mean that people were suddenly going to know what she has picked up at the supermarket.

Facebook is actually a great way for grandparents to keep connected with their families. We set up my mom with a basic account (no photo or personal information other than her name) and had her become ‘friends’ with her children and grandchildren and a few very close family friends. Now she can easily sit on the couch, open her iPad and simply click on Facebook to see what her family is up to. My husband uploads videos of my son’s little league game and my parents, who are hundreds of miles away get to watch him hit the ball out the park too. She also can keep tabs on her other grandson’s surfing adventures and her sister’s magnificent farm and garden. She still gets a little spooked when a classmate from college that she has spoken to in 50 years asks to be her ‘friend’, but she relishes in the stories, photos and ability to stay connected.


Layla Grace Apparel Sale

Tuesday, March 12th, 2013

ELLA MOSS STELLA TIE FRONT POPPY TOP

I get a lot of questions from women asking me about my favorite maternity clothes. Back a number of years ago when I was pregnant with my son there were not nearly as many options for cute maternity wear as there are today. I actually shopped at Forever 21 for a lot of the tops I wore throughout my pregnancy. One thing you will notice if you open any magazine is that there are a lot of celebrities who wear ‘regular’ clothes while they are pregnant too. Of course, you want elastic waist bands ASAP, but I always tell people to look for stylish tops right off the racks of their favorite stores. It might be easier than you think to find great transitional clothes – especially for those first few months. Some tops will also work great after you have had your child when your stomach is adjusting back to its former state. At that point you are no longer pregnant so it seems a little weird to still be wearing maternity clothes. Though it is hard to give up all that elastic!

I was checking out the sale going on now through March 31st at Layla Grayce (you can save 20% off all apparel with promo code style20) and I found a lot of great pieces that would fit the bill for newly pregnant women and for anyone looking to keep their little waist top secret.

WAVERLY GREY LEI LEI BLUE & WHITE TOP
The red top above is the Ella Moss Stella Tie Front Poppy Top. Don’t you love that color?  I also thought this Waverly Grey Lei Lei Blue & White Top would be perfect for work or evenings out. The simple detail at the neckline will hopefully draw attention away from your tummy. They also have a number of pretty scarves that are perfect to layer over t-shirts.

Don’t miss your chance to shop this fabulous sale! Go check out Layla Grayce today to see if there is anything you can’t live without…

Miraval

Sunday, February 17th, 2013

miraval-spa

I am just going to cut to the chase here and tell you that I absolutely loved the 4 days I spent at Miraval, a luxury wellness resort located in Tucson, Arizona. I don’t think I have ever been so relaxed in my life. It was a prefect mommy getaway.  I heard that Oprah is a big fan too and I can see why. If you just need to get away from everything and experience total tranquility and peace and yummy food and amazing spa treatments and beautiful surroundings and soft sheets and fluffy comforters – this is the spot for you.

miraval resort and spa

When you land at the airport in Tucson, there will be someone waiting for you at baggage claim with a ‘Miraval’ sign and from that instant on you will be completely taken care of. My friends and I received Miraval messenger bags, water bottles and literature to keep us occupied and the driver drove us out to the resort. Checking in was a snap and they reminded us of their ‘no cell phone’ policy which is fantastic. Yep – they don’t want to see you on your phone – no talking or texting or checking in with the family while you are supposed to be enjoying the resort amenities. It was a perfect excuse to really disconnect. (Yes – you can call the kids at night when you are back in your room!) I plopped my iPhone right into my bag and said goodbye.  I am always one to follow the rules!

One of my favorite things to do was just walk around the resort and check out all of the art work and the local foliage. But you can keep yourself busy from morning to night with all sorts of classes and activities. I started each day with a 7am stretch class and ended my days with meditation in the evenings. In between I did everything from taking a posture class to working out on the elliptical machine. You can ride horses, climb rock walls, take yoga classes, or get creative with sculpture and photo workshops. There are also a number of group session to help you heal your soul and you can even arrange one on one meetings with a range of wellness professionals.

miraval-resort

I must admit that two of my favorite things about Miraval were the meals and the spa treatments. We will start with the kitchen. Every meal is out of this world delicious. There is a buffet component to breakfast and lunch as well as specials that are served plated to your table. And dinner just gets better. If you can’t decide between entrees, they will bring you mini versions of each. And if that indecision continues through to dessert – go ahead and order one of each. Yes yes yes – it is all incredibly healthy and there is so much amazing seafood and other culinary delights, but if you aren’t looking to lose, you can certainly treat yourself too.  Rumor has it that many people choose Miraval over other high end spas because Mirval actually allows alcohol. It is nice to be able to enjoy a nice glass of wine after a long day of spa treatments…

Which takes me to the topic of the spa…It is gorgeous in a very understated way. The lovely finishes and muted colors were ideal to get you in a calm, relaxed zone. I loved that the treatment rooms were actually quite large so you didn’t feel like you were crammed into a little chamber. Of course I had to try a facial, a massage and their Hammam treatment which included lots of scrubs and clay. Miraval has a new partnership with Clarins so many of the spa experiences use Clarins products. I don’t know what else to say except that you won’t be disappointed and you won’t want to leave.

If you have any questions at all about going to Miraval – please don’t hesitate to send me an email. I can’t wait to go back….

 

lululemon

Tuesday, January 8th, 2013

lululemon pants

So how is that new year’s resolution coming along? Are you trying to get fit and lean? It seems like everybody is this time of year. After all of that peppermint bark, I can see why! Want to feel like you’ve already lost those first 5 pounds? Throw away your baggy sweat pants and buy yourself new workout clothes. Every woman I know swears by lululemon and every single one of them will tell you that your butt actually shrinks when you put on a pair of lululemon pants. I am not sure what it is but there must be a little magic hidden in their breathable four-way stretch techno fabric.

And if you need a little extra help getting started, you and your workout buddy should check out lululemon’s goal setting tips. With a new pair of pants, and a little hard work, I am sure you will both enjoy fabulous new fannies this year. Watch out Giselle…she might have a little competition this year…. With every step you take, and every kale salad you make, you will be one step closer to your goals. Good luck!

Fitbit

Friday, January 4th, 2013

Fitbit

Want to get a fresh start to your fitness routine this year? It is time to embrace the magic of technology and all it can do to help each and every one of us get fit and feel fabulous. Counting calories and tracking your fitness goals has never been easier or more addictive. Fitbit tracks the calories you are burning, the steps you are taking, the flights you are climbing and so much more. Fitbit even has graphs, charts, and tools designed to help you track your progress and understand your health and fitness. Make it a game and challenge and encourage your friends and family through the fun interactive features of Fitbit.

I have a number of friends who have been wearing their Fitbits daily for awhile now and they love love love them! They are so small and just clip on to your pants or wrist or anywhere. They love being able to track their daily activity and to sync everything up on- line and feel like they have control of their health and the progress they are making towards their goals. There is even a Fitbit app so you can use your phone to track your eating and a Fitbit scale too!

My friend’s 7 year old son wears his Fitbit Zip everywhere and gets so excited to see how many steps he takes every day. What a simple way to encourage a healthy, active lifestyle! My husband, son and I are each going to get our own so we can all get healthier together in the new year. Join us!

Spruceling

Thursday, December 27th, 2012

spruceling-clothes

I don’t know about you, but after the holidays I am totally ready to clean the house and get organized. The first place I am going to start is my son’s closet. And this time I am going to try using a brand new company called Spruceling to help me de-clutter, make a few bucks and help others too.

Have you ever taken clothes to a consignment store? It is nice to get rid of things and clean out your closet but I found that I hardly got any money, and the money I did make was spent on gas to drop off the items and to go pick up the ones that didn’t sell. And it is never fun to have a stranger inspecting all of your clothes and telling you that the $75 dollar sweater your son wore once (for about 7 minutes) just wasn’t good enough. Uggh – never again!

clothes clothes

Spruceling is great because it is all online so you can do your selling and shopping any time of the day or night. For sellers, they make it easy with free shipping labels so it is easy to just drop off your box and go. And they handle all of the returns too so you don’t have to. Best part of all, you get a full 60% of the sale instead of the typical 25-35%. And for buyers, of course you get the perk of saving money (who doesn’t love that?) and not having to walk into a mall with your small children (so not fun!). The other thing that is kind of cool is that you basically purchase a box of items that are all the same size, instead of picking out items one by one. Just like getting a whole new little wardrobe. The interface of the site is super easy to navigate and you simply find a box that has cute things you think you and your child will love. And if you end up not liking the items, there is even a 30 day guarantee. You get to rate the seller too, and Spruceling makes sure that people who try to sell dirty, ripped, or worn out clothes will get a permanent time out. Who has time for someone else’s dirty clothes?

spruceling_logo

So you are probably thinking that there are many options when it comes to selling and buying gently worn kids clothes. Yes that is true. But there is one thing about Spuceling that made me love it – the charitable giving component of its business model. They donate a percentage of all sales to a different children’s charity every month. And for the month of December they are actually donating 100% of their proceeds to St. Jude’s Childrens Hospital. Love that!

Custom Photo Calendars

Friday, December 7th, 2012

minted-custom-photo-calendar-2013       minted-custom-photo-calendar-2013

2013 will be here before you know it…..scary isn’t it! So now is the time to pick out your 2013 calendar so you can make sure you don’t miss any important dates. I am so excited that Minted has brought back calendars to their line of fabulous paper products. You can create your own one-of-a-kind high quality photo calendar that you can hang on your wall and enjoy all year long. These are not your basic, flimsy calendars. Minted’s calendars are designed by indie designers and printed on luxurious, matte paper and they have rounded corners which give them a more modern finish. You can choose between the Standard (8.5 x 11”, $29) or the Grand (11.5 x 14”, $39). They obviously make great gifts for family and friends alike, and of course you need to make one for yourself too…

Sweet Peas & Stilettos has a great selection of planners for moms and family organizers in case you need those too.

FREE Address Printing

Monday, December 3rd, 2012

minted_address_printing

So how is your handwriting? Mine his horrible! My penmanship resembles that of a 9 year old boy. Of course my mother writes perfectly and even her grocery lists look fabulous. And my dad’s writing is just like a typewriter so when he addresses an envelope you know the post office will be able to read it. It takes me forever to address cards and invitations because I have to write nice and slow so that my envelopes will look decent and will actually be legible. This year, Minted is here to save me with a brand new feature….FREE address printing on holiday card orders.

Minted (home to super fabulous artist designed holiday cards) has just launched a brand new feature where you send them your addresses and they will address your envelopes for you. Love that!! Look how lovely the envelope up above looks! No ink smudges, no crossed out letters, just classic, pretty, clear typeface. All you do is select and order your cards and then choose the Address Assistant BETA when you complete your order. You can import addresses, add addresses, or request addresses by email. They will print the envelopes with all of the addresses you give them and then will send you blank envelopes for any additional cards you have. It is so simple. And the best part of all – it is FREE of charge on your holiday card order. You can save time and look good too. What a perfect combination for any busy mom this holiday…

Tiny Prints Sale Extended

Wednesday, November 28th, 2012

tiny-prints-product-assortment

Still haven’t ordered your holiday cards yet?? Guess what – you are in luck! The folks over at Tiny Prints have decided to extend their Cyber Monday Sale even longer! You now have today and tomorrow to save big at their 30% OFF Sitewide Sale. Jot down the promo code: CB12 so you can enter it into the little box when you checkout.

In case you don’t spend as much time as I do on the Tiny Prints website, just remember that there is so much more to Tiny Prints than birth announcements and children’s birthday party invitations. They have so many cool personalized gift ideas that are all very well priced (and even cheaper today and tomorrow!). They make is super easy to personalize everything by writing your own text, uploading cute pictures, and making everything unique and extra special.

Don’t forget, this super Tiny Prints sale ends Thursday night (11/29/12) at midnight PST. Go go go and start creating (and saving) now….

Personalized Notebooks

Monday, November 26th, 2012

jungle-notebooks

Tiny Prints week on Sweet Peas & Stilettos continues with another fabulous daily deal. Today it is all about notebooks and they are 35% OFF all day today. Yes yes yes – I know we all have our iPhone and great online calendars and organizational tools, but I will be the first to admit that there is just something about paper, and pulling out a pen, and jotting down notes with real ink. These personalized notebooks from Tiny Prints are 5 x 8 inches so they should fit right into your tote bag. They also make great gifts for a wide variety of people. Here are a few ideas:

1) For children, you can create a book in their school colors and use a cute picture of your child with her best friends.

2) Grandma (or mom or your mother-in-law) would love a notebook with an adorable picture of her grandchildren.

3) Make notebooks for your girlfriends too. You don’t have to use a photo of people, maybe a picture of the beach, your favorite flowers, a bottle of wine, a cupcake, or your favorite pair of shoes.

4) And don’t forget to make a notebook for yourself!!

The 35% OFF sale ends tonight at midnight PST.

distinctive dots notebook