I hope everyone had a wonderful and safe Halloween with their families. Here are some pictures of the big night at Rave and Review:
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I hope everyone had a wonderful and safe Halloween with their families. Here are some pictures of the big night at Rave and Review:
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Since I found out I was pregnant, I have read over a dozen articles and books about baby proofing the house and every single expert recommends putting drugs and medications out of baby’s reach, or better yet, purchasing a baby lock for your medication that will keep your curious baby safe. As sound of advice as that is, it really doesn’t address the issue of keeping your children safe after they are able to climb, open doors, or unlatch baby locks. The MedSafe is the first babyproofing product I have seen that is truly kid-proof and still allows parents to easily access their necessary medications.
The MedSafe is an impact resistant polymer locking safe that is designed to work like a traditional combo safe that secures your valuables. Instead of storing precious jewels or cash, the MedSafe is designed to hold all of your prescription and over-the-counter medications (up to 15 bottles) and keep your kids from accessing them on their own, even well after babyproofing age.
The MedSafe is fairly compact and can be stored in bathrooms, pantries, nightstands and more easily and safely. The MedSafe comes with screws to attach to the wall, but you can also use double sided tape to secure safely in metal cabinets or dressers. Since we don’t have anywhere near 15 medications in our house, we put other items we wanted to keep baby out of in our MedSafe, like fingernail clippers, scissors and razor blades.
I did notice that some of the medications we do have were a bit tall for the Med Safe, since it has one fixed shelf running midway through the safe, so we had to turn those bottles on their sides to get them to fit inside. A height adjustable shelf would be one of my most emphatic suggestions on the next version of the MedSafe, but definitely not a deal breaker with a product that ensures the safety of our children.
The statistics on drug related deaths and injuries offered on the MedSafe site were truly shocking and reaffirmed my desire to remove every trace of medications from our unlocked medicine cabinet for good. Citing data about accidental overdoses of young kids as well as teenagers, it really opens your eyes as to how vulnerable kids are at all ages and all you can do to protect them.
Their website focuses on the Teen drug abuse problem, which every parent thinks will never happen to them or their children, but only the families with locked medicine cabinets can be reassured won’t. Deaths related to prescription drug overdoses happen every 5 minutes, according to http://www.helpsaveourkids.com/, which is more than 3 times greater than the number of gun related deaths each year. Most parents wouldn’t dream of an unlocked firearms in their house but leave their medications out for anyone to access (even extremely rude houseguests who enjoy snooping through medicine cabinets – 39% of them according to MedSafe’s website) which is incredibly scary to me.
No one ever kicks themselves and says “I wish I hadn’t been so gosh darn safe,” but the opposite unfortunately is not true. Just one mistake or accident can truly happen in an instant and it really does pay to be safe rather than sorry.
http://www.helpsaveourkids.com/ to Join their fight to have 5 Million Homes Secured by 2011!
A big thank you to An Island Life and MedSafe for making my medicine cabinet and family safer. MedSafe offered the sample to review and no other type of compensation was received.
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I like coffee, but I just adore tea. There’s something so relaxing about sitting back with a nice full mug of tea and chatting with a friend. In our house we drink a lot of tea; in fact, we have a whole cupboard that is dedicated to our obsession. In that cupboard is black tea, white tea, green tea, herbal medleys and more, and until we got the Chef’s Choice SmartKettle Cordless Electric Kettle, they were all brewed in the exact same way and at the exact same temperature.
Tea connoisseurs are shuddering reading that, because they know that each one of these various types of tea requires different temperature water in order to brew properly. Sure, that might not seem like a big deal to some, but varying degrees of temperature make a huge difference with something as delicate as tea leaves. Some tea lovers are so extreme as to pre-heat their tea cups with hot water in order to not compromise the steeping process. I’m not that crazy about my tea brewing, but I do really taste the difference with teas brewed at their correct temperatures and am loving being able to completely control the temperature setting.
If anyone is picturing me with a food thermometer checking and then re-checking my boiling water, you’ve clearly never met me. Instead, I rely on the Smart Kettle by Chef’s Choice for tea, cocoa, coffee, soup mixes, oatmeal and more, and it does so much more than tell me what temperature my water is at. The Smart Kettle allows me to preset the temperature on the Kettle from 122°F to 212°F and let it do the rest. When it is finished boiling or heating, the Smart Kettle beeps and then holds the water at the temperature you’ve selected to keep it ready to use at any time.
As if that’s not cool enough on its own, it’s the way the Smart Kettle heats that makes it worth raving about. The Smart Kettle amazingly remembers the temperature of your last use and automatically sets that temperature to heat unless you adjust the up or down, saving you the time or having to re-look up the temperature setting for your favorite tea or coffee. Even the base of the Smart Kettle is remarkable, allowing you to set the Kettle down at just about any angle and still securely connect with the internal heating element. They even included a handy cord keeper that allows you to coil extra cord length within the base of the unit for maximum safety and aesthetics.
The Smart Kettle starts working almost as soon as you set it on its base and power it up and then heats the water within minutes to your desired setting. Boiling and heating water in a fraction of the time a stovetop takes, you can have your tea, coffee, or hot drink mix ready in just about the time it takes for a commercial break. For kid-friendly temperatures for making cocoa and oatmeal, the Smart Kettle is amazingly fast and can even help get breakfast on the table and mornings to run quicker and smoother.
The Smart Kettle has an LED screen and user-friendly controls that make it easy to operate without having to refer to the manual over and over, and allows you to clearly see what temperature your water is at from across the kitchen. Speaking of which, I’ve used the SmartKettle for cooking on two occasions now, once for peeling tomatoes, and then once when the pasta I was cooking required more water than I had originally estimated and adding cold water would have severely slowed supper down.
I should note that I have actually owned two other electric tea kettles throughout the years, the first was from my college days when I lived on ramen noodles, and the second was for me to make tea and coffee at work. After just a few months of use, I found that the internal heating coils had corroded within the tea kettles and they had turned a really gross black/green color that caused me to retire both appliances after only weeks of use.
When I found out that the Smart Kettle has a hidden heating element that keeps the Kettle from landing atop the garbage heap after only minor use, I was sold. When you add in the fact that the Smart Kettle itself is cordless for ease of pouring and filling and only requires a cord and outlet when actual heating is taking place, I cleared the counter in anticipation of its arrival.
Since the Smart Kettle is gorgeous in its stainless steel and black beauty, it actually landed one of the coveted “countertop appliance” roles and currently hangs out near our stand mixer just begging for tea parties and dinner prep assistance. Now that the weather is calling for hot drinks, the Smart Kettle is bound to see even more action as winter comes to Seattle.
Of course the Smart Kettle comes with a long list of safety features that keep your family safe. From boiling over or boiling dry, Chef’s Choice has thought of just about everything to keep your kitchen as safe as possible. The low water level warning lets you know when your guests have almost drained the Kettle and the Max Fill line (1.7 Liters) keeps your Smart Kettle from spewing boiling liquids across your counter during the rolling boil.
The Smart Kettle also has an automatic shut-off on the Keep Warm function that ends after 40 minutes so you will never worry about forgetting to turn it off after your party ends. Even with the safety precautions, I hope it goes without saying that the Smart Kettle will get hot while heating and should not be operated by anyone other than an adult. While boiling, the metal sides get hot to the touch, and could be dangerous around small children.
Looks: Sleek and sophisticated in stainless and black
Overall: Highly recommended for hot drink lovers, kitchen prep, parties and more.
A warm thank you to Chef's Choice for keeping our evenings toasty and relaxed with their new SmartKettle. This post highlights my honest experience with their product and no monetary compensation was received for this review.
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Ah, Halloween… there’s the chocolate, the costumes, the sugar candy, the Pumpkin Spice Lattes, the corn mazes, the sour candy… what’s not to love about this time of year?
Unfortunately for little kids, they have to miss out on arguably the best part of Halloween – the ooey gooey sugary candy part. So, how do you celebrate a holiday that’s aimed almost solely around who can collect the most candy with little ones who really shouldn’t have the candy in the first place? With toys, of course!
Some of the coolest Halloween inspired toys and candy alternatives I have seen this year are:
Hasbro's Trick or Tator, Mr. Potato Head is Trick or Treating this year! As always, he comes with the most adorable accessories – in this case a fabric ghost costume, trick or treating basket, and a selection of spooky features to help all your Tator friends dress up this Halloween. So many great features to choose from and, with the exception of the Trick or Treating bag, all of them can be creatively mixed and matched all year. $6.99 at Toys “R” Us Stores and other local retailers.Looking for something unique to hand out to your favorite Trick or Treaters? Play-Doh introduces a Trick or Treat Bag with small cans of Play-Doh in a variety of seasonal colors to hand out to your Halloween guests. Guaranteed to last longer than their sugar high and perfect for the coming rainy days of winter. Play-Doh Halloween Trick or Treat Pack contains 20, one-ounce cans all for the low price of $3.99.
Playmobil has the most adorable Halloween sets as well as one of the biggest selection of characters and figures in a variety of costumes. If you're feeling really creative, you can set up a Playmobil neighborhood and go "Trick or Treating" well after the 31st. Halloween sets run $5.99, but you can find Playmobil Specials and Add-On Characters for $1.99 and up.
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Have you ever done a YouTube search for Yo Gabba Gabba!? I have, and it’s adorable. The search results reveal video after video of basically the same thing: an adorable kid watching Yo Gabba Gabba! on TV and doing some sort of delightful - yet crazy - dance. Anyone who has ever caught an episode (or 80) knows that that’s pretty much the only reaction possible to what just has to be the wackiest kid’s show ever.
And it is wacky. The first time I saw Yo Gabba Gabba!, I thought it was just some zany commercial. 5 minutes in it started dawning on me that this commercial seemed really long and, even weirder, my niece and nephew seemed to have it memorized. But, I have to admit that the show was intriguing on a number of levels. I mean, it’s got unidentifiable creatures, a DJ with a furry hat, a yellow robot, big name guest stars and music, music, music!
But, even better than lots of music is lots of GREAT music and Yo Gabba Gabba! has some of the best. This season is shaping up with an all-star musical line-up which includes some of my favorite bands and artists, as well as some guest stars that I think parents will appreciate even more than their youngsters.
Andy Samberg, The Roots and MGMT were among the celeb guests who appeared with the Yo Gabba Gabba! cast during the start of their new season this October (episodes will be replayed again for anyone who is kicking themselves for missing any of the above stars frolicking around on a children’s show, which includes myself). Set your DVR or TiVo now to record the shows as they are played on Nickelodeon this Fall and Winter. The series airs daily at 1:00 p.m., 1:30 p.m. and 10:30 p.m. (ET/PT) on Nick Jr.
Some background on the show, courtesy of W!ldbrain: YO GABBA GABBA! premiered in the U.S. on Nickelodeon in August, 2007 and currently ranks as one of the most popular series on television with broad appeal among preschoolers, parents, teens and adults. The award-winning series stars DJ Lance Rock (Lance Robertson) and a cast of colorful characters, including: Brobee, the little green one, Foofa, the pink flower bubble, Muno, the red Cyclops, Toodee, the blue cat-dragon and Plex, the yellow robot. Today’s most popular names in movies, television, music and sports flock to guest star in the groundbreaking show, including Jack Black, Rachel Dratch, Melora Hardin, Tony Hawk, Biz Markie, Jack McBrayer, MGMT, Mark Mothersbaugh, The Roots, Andy Samberg, Amy Sedaris, The Shins, Amare Stoudemire, The Ting Tings, Jimmy Eat World and Elijah Wood, among others.
Sounds like a good time, right? Seriously, if I was choosing guest stars, this would pretty much be my wishlist of who I would want to appear on the show. YGG even has a new CD with songs by some of the great artists above that enables you to take your little one’s show on the road for the first time ever. Yo Gabba Gabba! Music is Awesome! hit stores just days ago and is chock full of bands that I love, which makes it just as much for me as it is for the kiddos.
But, I really wish I lived in Chicago, New York or Los Angeles and could catch all this crazy cuteness LIVE when Yo Gabba Gabba! hits the stage this November for their “It’s a Party in My City” tour. Unfortunately for me, the party’s not in my city… but maybe it’s in yours and you can surprise your little mover and groover with the best present ever – live theatre performances in an auditorium full of silly wigglers.
Los Angeles, CA - Shrine Expo Hall:
Saturday, November 14, 2009 11AM and 3PM
*AND NOW: Sunday, November 15, 2009 11AM and 3PM
New York, NY - Beacon Theatre:
Saturday, November 21, 2009 11AM – 2PM – *AND NOW: 5 PM
Chicago, IL - Rosemont Theatre:
Saturday, December 5, 2009 11AM and 3PM
NEW UPDATE! Dallas show has been added for Nov. 28th
Frisco, TX - Dr. Pepper Arena:
Saturday, November 28, 2009 11AM and 3PM
More details and ticket information at http://yogabbagabbalive.com/
And now for the Giveaway...
One Rave and Review reader will win a YGG! Music Is Awesome CD of their very own! To enter, just comment below with your favorite YGG! guest star, YGG! moment or something you found on the Yo Gabba Gabba! website.
And, as always, there are extra entries available!
1) Subscribe to Rave and Review (1 extra entry, must be verified to count) 2) Tweet about this Giveaway (1 entry for daily Tweet, just post link here) 3) Blog about this Giveaway (1 extra entry) 4) Place my logo or link in your sidebar on your blog or website (2 extra entries, must have an active link) 5) Share this post on Facebook (1 extra entry) 6) Email love. Share this Giveaway with friends and family via email and cc [email protected] for two bonus entries (I will never, ever contact your email recipients) 7) Vote for Rave and Review on Top Baby Blogs: just click this link to vote daily! (1 extra entry) On November 26th at 11:59pm PST a winner will be drawn, announced here and notified via email
1) Subscribe to Rave and Review (1 extra entry, must be verified to count)
2) Tweet about this Giveaway (1 entry for daily Tweet, just post link here)
3) Blog about this Giveaway (1 extra entry)
4) Place my logo or link in your sidebar on your blog or website (2 extra entries, must have an active link)
5) Share this post on Facebook (1 extra entry)
6) Email love. Share this Giveaway with friends and family via email and cc [email protected] for two bonus entries (I will never, ever contact your email recipients)
7) Vote for Rave and Review on Top Baby Blogs: just click this link to vote daily! (1 extra entry)
On November 26th at 11:59pm PST a winner will be drawn, announced here and notified via email
A wild and crazy thank you to Yo Gabba Gabba! for providing the Music is Awesome! CD and book to be reviewed, one of which we offered up for giveaway to our fabulous readers. No other type compensation was received for this review.
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Thank God I can’t sew. If I could sew, it might have led me to do something crazy like try and make this quilt myself. One, it would have taken me years to finally get around to doing the organizing and sewing (if I ever did it at all), and two, my finished product would have been nowhere near as cool as the Campus Quilt masterpiece that arrived on my doorstep a few days ago.
When I first heard that there was a company out there that made custom quilts out of t-shirts you already own, I was more than intrigued. In fact, on mere mention I had decided that this was the perfect way to finally control the massive amounts of concert t-shirts that have been taking up precious space in our closet and in storage. A craftier mama might have dug out her sewing machine, but I called in the pros. The pros come in the form of a website that promises to turn your precious memories into a high quality blanket you will treasure for life. Sounds good, right?
Most people I know have a ton of t-shirts, whether it’s from high school, college, concerts, sports, etc. and if they are anything like my husband, they have boxes full of t-shirts they just can’t bear to part with, yet don’t really get worn regularly. For him, they were mostly sentimental concert tees that he had worn almost daily in high school and now couldn’t see getting rid of them unless he found the perfect home. For me, I just found I had stopped wearing a good portion of my t-shirts that I used to love, and that included my own collection of band tees. Why not take all those old shirts, preserve them in a whole new way, and create a conversation piece you will actually use?
So, here’s how Campus Quilt works: you go to the website and fall in love with their products, then you decide on what quilt and which size suits your needs the best and add it to your cart. Once the quilt design is in your cart and you complete check out, a non-refundable deposit is charged to your card (the remaining balance is billed only when your quilt is shipped) and the quilt creation kit is then sent to your door. And then once the kit is received, the real fun happens.
I’ll admit this step of the process took us a few days longer than I had imagined it would. Mostly because we had to find all the priceless tees we had packed away and then moved twice, but also because I like to take my time to make sure everything is just so before I commit to anything. I think this adequately explains why I never would have actually made this quilt myself had I been able to sew it and why I’m so grateful to have the expertise of a company like Campus Quilt who has done this for years and can help walk you through every step of the process and then ship the beautiful finished product in the end.
Once we gathered all of our concert tees we hadn’t worn in a while, I folded them all in approximate 15x15 squares and we laid them out on our bed to arrange and then rearrange in the shape of our quilt. As we started our design, we realized we had a surprising number of black t-shirts and thus began our closet raid of ’09 as we hunted for t-shirts we could add into the quilt to add some color. Once we started envisioning our completed quilt, a crazy thing happened: we both offered up a surprising number of our favorite tees to the collection.
Yes, that’s right, we went from boxes of t-shirts that we couldn’t part with to actually offering up shirts we wear regularly once we saw the quilt shaping up and we both got excited. We decided to do a diagonal-style pattern of our black and dark colored t-shirts and then mixed in colors and light shirts until we both were completely happy. After that, we put the stickers on the shirts in the order they would be placed on the quilt so we couldn’t change our minds later.
Since we had so many dark colored shirts, we agreed that we should do the optional cotton sashing, or borders, between the shirt squares to help break up the color blocks a bit more and provide a repetitive pattern to help make the design more cohesive. For the backing, we chose the softest and most plush flannel in the provided fabric sample swatches, since everyone knows that’s what makes or breaks a movie room throw. When all the choices were made, we sealed up our shirt piles in the postal bag provided with our order form and sample swatches, slapped our label on and our shirts were ready to send.
A few days later, we got an automated email from Campus Quilt letting us know the shirts had been received and that they would begin work on our quilt soon, which I really appreciated. When you care enough about a pile of shirts to make them into a quilt, it is always nice to know that the company you’re entrusting them with is this organized and that the shirts are accounted for at all times. So, when I got the email just days later saying they were beginning sewing our quilt, I was already in love with the Campus Quilt Company for their great customer service. And, then when the last email came letting me know that the quilt was shipping and it had an attached picture of the completed quilt and tracking number, well, let’s just say that everyone heard all about it.
But, when that package arrived and our quilt was finally unveiled, I couldn’t even believe how great it looked. The finished product was roughly 200 times better than I imagined it would be, and exactly 3,000 times better than if I had taken to that stack of shirts with scissors and needles.
The quilt has amazing attention to detail and it’s apparent upon first glance. For one, all the shirts are centered and leveled in the squares, which I was so happy about. Aside from numbering the shirts with stickers, we didn’t give Campus Quilt any instructions on how to handle and crop the actual shirts when making the quilt. Since customization really is their thing, they welcome all kinds of suggestions and special instructions, but I know when it’s best to trust the pros. And you really should trust them; they got everything perfect on our quilt, down to the tiniest little details.
The excellent quilting detail is one of the many, many things that my hypothetical quilt would have been lacking, and why I am yet again thrilled that I am sewing inept. Campus Quilt chose the “loop” stitch for the quilting over the shirts and they were absolutely correct in this choice. The playful and fun stitching adds a bit of whimsy to the design and also makes the whole quilt really seem like a finished piece and as if the shirts were always intended to go together.
The really cool thing about our completed Campus Quilt is that it walks the fine line between masculine and being able to call my movie room home. Not too girly, not too testosterone based, but able to go either way by the choices we made in selecting our squares. Since we both added to the design and had a bit of our childhood memories in the final piece, we both feel a strong connection to the completed blanket. Instead of looking like small piles of laundry spread out in an even layer across our couch, the blanket really looks unified as a quilt should, but yet still has all the charm of the original shirts.
We absolutely love everything about the quilt. We love the way the optional sashing in between the squares looks, love the colors of the fabrics we picked from their samples, love the quality stitching and quilting, and love that we have created a one-of-a-kind masterpiece that is truly functional… as well as cozy.
What I’m Raving About: Campus Quilt lets you customize your order in just about any way you can dream up. They say that if you can get a needle through it, chances are you can sew it to your quilt. Their website shows quilts made of baby clothes, men’s ties, and all sorts of other clothing items that I would have never thought of, as well as a bunch of design options for those looking to clean out their closets of all the sentimental stuff you can’t bear to part with. They also offer embroidery and digital picture options if you’re making a gift for someone special.
Price: From $129 and up, with 16 square quilts at $179.
Looks: Exactly as you like, since you get a say on just about everything!
Overall: For just about what you would pay for a mass-produced quilt at a department store, you can create your own work of art that will be loved forever.
For those of you thinking about creating your own Campus Quilt, keep in mind that the Holidays and graduation time are their busiest times of year and you should get your orders in fast to ensure delivery before your big event!
A big huge thank you to Campus Quilt for turning our old pile of t-shirts into a priceless snuggle-inducer that we will enjoy for decades. No other type of compensation was received for this review.
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As self-confessed kitchen gadget addicts, hubby and I are always on the lookout for the newest and greatest in cooking gear. Very rarely does a product come along that absolutely wows us and prompts us to write what just might be the raving-ist review we’ve ever written. Let’s all mark this date on the calendar as the day that we had virtually nothing bad to say about a product.
I used to think that I loved my metal cookware and was reasonably happy with the way it performed. Back then I didn’t even know that I could love cookware like I love the Ceramcor Xtrema line. I know some pans are nicer than others, but I’ve always believed that when it comes down to it, the difference between a really nice pan and an ok one wasn’t that far off. But then I met Xtrema, the coolest cookware set ever.
A few years back, we decided to switch to an all-stainless steel cookware set for a number of reasons, but mostly it was because we desired a safer and more durable set that could go from oven to stovetop. Imagine if we had known back then that a revolutionary set of cookware would soon be on the market that could go from stovetop to oven to broiler to microwave to barbeque grill to tabletop and then to the freezer with ease.
Yes, you read that correctly – a cookware set you can use on the BBQ or in the microwave. Made of a high-temperature ceramic with a non-toxic non-stick ceramic surface both inside and out, the Xtrema cookware can withstand temperatures of 2,700 F, which is 500 F past the point at which steel melts, and then still wipe clean at the end of the meal.
The multi-functional set means that you can thaw, cook and serve a meal all in the same pan, which is great because I am adamantly opposed to using more than one pan per entree. Before, we would take items from the freezer and put them in a glass dish to microwave and then after they were microwaved we would dump them in a pan to brown before getting out yet another dish to serve the food in. When you’re talking multiple dishes and sides, the sheer number of pans and dishes dirtied can be absurd.
With the Xtrema set, we put the frozen food in, microwave and then set on the stovetop to cook without worry. And then once the meal is cooked, we can serve right from the pan – even with metal utensils! After dinner is over, you can store leftovers in the Xtrema cookware in either the refrigerator or freezer without worry of thermal shock.
Because the high-gloss ceramic glaze is extremely non-stick, the Xtrema Cookware is easy to wipe clean without harsh scrubbing and can even withstand steel wool, the traditional non-stick nemesis. The Xtrema Cookware is naturally bacteria resistant and contains no trace metals or chemicals that can leach from the cooking surface into your food and no non-stick surface that can peel, warp or scratch.
Okay, but how does it cook? Better than every single set of cookware I have ever tried in my life. The Xtrema Cookware set has the most efficient heat transfer hubby or I have ever seen, retains heat longer than traditional pans, and allows us to use a lower heat setting than we do normally, all of which saves energy while cooking.
One of the first things we noticed was that the heat spreads out over the entire pan, not just the part directly on the center of the burner. This reduces hot spots within the pan and actually cooks the food quicker and more evenly, allowing you to get dinner on the table faster than ever before. Fair warning: the heat transfer of these pans is so efficient that every bit of it gets hot, including the handle and lid, use caution… and a pot holder.
The Xtrema website explains their revolutionary cooking technology like this: The ceramic material used in all Xtrema cookware has an inert and non-reactive quality that produces a far-infrared heating process that's considered the most effective and beneficial type of heat for all types of cooking. This penetrating heat process cooks food from both the inside and outside at the same time. The end result is the emergence of a full range of subtle and nature flavors, an increase in nutritional value and a more enjoyable eating experience. The overall result is Healthy Cooking = Healthy Eating = Healthy Body.
For those of you looking to go Green, you will be happy to note that the Xtrema Cookware set is environmentally friendly and so much more than Green. Their patented ceramic material is made from 100% natural ceramic materials and organic water, including the Nano-Glaze™ surface. The company also reduces its environmental impact by using clean-burning and safe natural gas, which Ceramcor claims is part of their pollution-free process. As if that’s not enough, they even recycle all their water.
Price: Prices range from $39.99 to $149.99 and are available at www.ceramcor.com or at the growing list of Xtrema retailers. You can save 15% off entire Xtrema Healthy Ceramic Cookware order by using the coupon code-- TW15
Looks: Sleek and simple, yet elegant and fun.
Overall: Stovetop, conventional, microwave or toast oven, broiler, barbeque, refrigerator, freezer and dishwasher safe, which means there is literally nothing this set can’t be used for!
And now for the Giveaway...
One Rave and Review reader will win an Xtrema Tea Potle of their very own! To enter, just visit ceramcor and let me know something cool about the company, the products or something you would love to give this holiday season.... Be sure to check back soon when we review the Xtrema Bakeware line for the 2009 Holiday Gift Guide!
And, as always, there are extra entries available!
1) Subscribe to Rave and Review (1 extra entry, must be verified to count) 2) Follow or subscribe to the Ceramcor Blog 3) Tweet about this Giveaway using @raveandreview and @XtremaCookware (1 entry for daily Tweet, just post link here) 4) Blog about this Giveaway with links back to this post as well as the www.raveandreview.com homepage (1 extra entry) 5) Place my logo or link in your sidebar on your blog or website (2 extra entries, must have an active link) 6) Share this post on Facebook (1 extra entry) 7) Become a fan of Xtrema on Facebook 8) Email love. Share this Giveaway with friends and family via email and cc [email protected] for two bonus entries (I will never, ever contact your email recipients) On November 21st at 11:59pm PST a winner will be drawn, announced here and notified via email
1) Subscribe to Rave and Review (1 extra entry, must be verified to count)
2) Follow or subscribe to the Ceramcor Blog
3) Tweet about this Giveaway using @raveandreview and @XtremaCookware (1 entry for daily Tweet, just post link here)
4) Blog about this Giveaway with links back to this post as well as the www.raveandreview.com homepage (1 extra entry)
5) Place my logo or link in your sidebar on your blog or website (2 extra entries, must have an active link)
6) Share this post on Facebook (1 extra entry)
7) Become a fan of Xtrema on Facebook
8) Email love. Share this Giveaway with friends and family via email and cc [email protected] for two bonus entries (I will never, ever contact your email recipients)
On November 21st at 11:59pm PST a winner will be drawn, announced here and notified via email
A family-sized thank you to Ceramcor for providing the cookware to be reviewed, one of which we offered up for giveaway to our fabulous readers. No other type compensation was received for this review.
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For five days this month we lived like true New Yorkers; sharing a third story walk-up, taking the subway all along Manhattan, and rolling in style with the true NY stroller - the Maclaren. It’s been the city-dwelling gold standard in strollers for years and I have come to realize that this honor is well deserved.
In suburbia, the bulky and clunky travel system rules the road, with the infant carseat that goes from car to sidewalk and back in mere minutes. However, in the big city, big is out. Getting around town needs to be done quickly and efficiently, two words that are never used to describe travel systems when utilizing mass transit.
The first time we visited New York, we were shocked by the sheer number of Maclarens on the sidewalk. Nearly every city parent was pushing their pick of Maclaren’s iconic scissor-back lightweight stroller line and back then, years before I had kids, I just didn’t get it. At the time I had attributed this to a name brand obsession; yet another example of consumerism and the propensity to keep up with the Joneses. It really wasn’t until our first trip into the city with children that I realized how necessary a light and portable stroller becomes when stairs and crowds are a way of life and how the quality of stroller makes all the difference.
The Maclaren design is all about functionality and style, pairing top of the line materials and years of expertise with models to last from birth to 55 lbs. We were lucky enough to visit the Maclaren showroom in SoHo, where the expert staff helped us pick the perfect stroller for our family. By merely asking three questions about what we needed our stroller to do, the staff quickly had a 2009 Maclaren Quest ready for us, and in no time at all we were out the door and hitting the city streets in style.
As it turns out, the Quest was the perfect stroller for us, and especially for baby. Having a lightweight and compact stroller was a bit of a change for us since we’re used to carrying a full week’s worth of groceries off the handles of our suburban workhorse. But, we realized pretty quickly the benefits of a lightweight stroller for the family on the go. And, with the Maclaren, we found that we didn’t have to give up on quality and high end features to get to that light weight.
The Quest is Maclaren’s middleweight stroller, without all the extras (and weight) you need for an infant, but with more features than a bare bones umbrella stroller. Some of the extras you do get include a 4 position reclining seat, adjustable foot rest, a foldable hood with included raincover, and a good sized basket. Another feature we really appreciated was the shoulder strap for use when folded, which was great for getting up and down stairs.
Normally, if you see a feature list as long as the Quest's, you would imagine that it would require an entire trunk to transport. Well known for their premium features in a tiny package, Maclaren is perfect for those on the go or those who actually need their trunk for anything other than baby gear. If you travel, play in the city, or merely like to be as portable as possible, Maclaren has a stylish, sporty or svelte (or all three!) model that allows you to get baby out in the world safely and comfortably without requiring a separate set of wheels to transport it around town.
Features of the 2009 Quest, as told by Maclaren:
• Basic Weight - 5.5kg / 12.1lb (without hood, shopping basket or raincover)
• Recline - Four seat positions
• Wheel Size - 12.7cm / 5.0in
• Hood - Longer for extra coverage - Round with storage pocket - UV protective viewing window - Reflective accents for night safety
• Added Features - Vibrant colours - Larger hood; easy-on, easy-off - Hubcap design - Ergonomically optimised, foam insulated handles - Carry Strap and Carry Handle - Foot-operated linked parking brakes - Extendable leg rest - Raincover (Some exclusions apply in the US) - Height adjustable shoulder harness
And, of course every Maclaren comes with the following:
• Sovereign Lifetime Warranty™
• Maclaren Recycling Programme†
• 5 point harness for added security
• Removable washable seat
• Compact umbrella fold
• Water resistant hood
• High-performance aluminium frame
• Handy mesh shopping basket
• Carry strap or handle for easy portability
• 5 second one-hand fold
• Lockable, front swivel wheels
There’s only one feature that I would love to see on the 2010 Maclaren Quest: adjustable height handles. Although the standard handle height is a bit taller than most umbrella-type strollers, I really wish there were options available for those on the ends of the height spectrum. Hubby would appreciate it.
Looks: Simple and sophisticated and everything in between.
Overall: There’s a good reason this is the gold standard for city strollers – it’s lightweight, it’s sturdy and it will last.
UPDATED 11/10/09: Maclaren has issued a notice for the Quest and all folding strollers requiring that a hinge cover be installed on your existing model. Click here to be directed to the Maclaren site where you can order your hinge cover to comply with the newest safety standards.
Thank you to Maclaren for providing the 2009 Quest to be reviewed. No other type compensation was received for this review.
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There is nothing more stressful than a crowded airport, especially if you’re like me and always seem to be rushing between plane transfers or running late after having to repack your bag after security. When you add kids into the situation, the stress level takes on a whole new dimension. I swear it seems as if your luggage grows exponentially while you’re still limited to two hands. Well, do you want to get your hands back and zip through the airport effortlessly with kiddos? If so, you’re going to want the Ride On Carry On to ease your travel stress.
Anyone who has ever rushed through an airport with a young child knows that it’s harder than it looks, and it certainly doesn’t look easy. When your kiddos are young and are unable to walk, you either have to carry your baby along with all your luggage or you need to push your stroller, which is incredibly hard to do while carting around luggage and going through security. Once your kiddos are walking it really doesn’t get much better, because now they insist on toddling beside you…at a snail’s pace.
Ride On Carry On has created a solution for the toddler dawdle and changed the way we (and all of our friends with young ones) travel for good. The Ride On Carry On is a metal frame chair that attaches to your wheeled carry-on luggage and turns getting through the airport into an adventure for your little travelers. When not carting kiddos, the seat folds quickly and compactly onto your bag for easy security checks and then again for stowing on the plane in the overhead bins.
The Ride On Carry On even comes with a handy little removable tray that attaches to the unit and allows the seat to be used as a portable high chair or craft station while you wait in line or at the gate. The tray also doubles as a head rest for taller children when not in the tray position. The design may be simple, but the quality and construction of the seat and the ingenuity of the product are what makes it one of our top travel picks.
When I first saw the contraption that is the Ride On Carry On online, my concern was with stability, since it sort of reminded me of a metal framed camp chair; you know, the kind that never seems to sit level. My concerns completely disappeared when I saw the Ride On Carry On for the first time in person. The metal framed chair of the Ride On Carry On is extremely sturdy and durable and is anything but rickety. Once attached to the rolling luggage, the seat was exceptionally secure to the bag and felt very solid as we wheeled it around the house.
A house is one thing, but a busy airport (ahem *JFK*) is completely another, and the Ride On Carry On completely passed the airport test with flying colors. Since it is ultra-portable and doesn’t add any additional width to the bag you are wheeling, it really is the ideal way to whisk through crowds and tight spaces. What’s great is that the Ride On Carry On is just as comfortable to push or pull as the luggage you already own, which means your kid’s going to be grateful you sprung for the rubberized wheels and you’re just going to be happy that you can fit down that narrow aisle way with ease and don’t have to check it at the gate.
As a super duper added bonus, when you are wheeling through the airport with your Ride On Carry On, you will find that people are roughly 3,000% nicer and more accommodating, often treating you as if you are a celebrity. Maybe it has something to do with the fact that you are single-handedly undoing the image of the harried parent and screaming child terrorizing the airport with their frantic disposition while delaying long lines of passengers. Or maybe it’s that adorable kid you’ve got strapped in the Ride On Carry On that beams at every passing traveler and offers a sweet “wheee” as you fly down the terminals. Whatever the reason, we have frequently found the elusive red carpet rolled out for us on our travels with the Ride On Carry On, which is a welcome change from the typical travel encounters.
Random Rave: For those of you traveling light and leaving the stroller behind, the Ride On Carry On can double as a makeshift stroller once you arrive at your destination airport until you reach your hotel and unload your baggage. Once we arrived in New York, we found it amazingly handy to have the Ride On Carry On while we navigated the subway and made our way to our room with our luggage. We even used it in our room during our stay as a safe place to set our 16-month old in while we showered or while she ate breakfast. We decided not to bring the removable tray that comes with the Ride On Carry On because we were traveling light (ha ha), but if you’ve got the extra space, I would definitely recommend it if not for this reason alone.http://www.rideoncarryon.com/
Price: $39.95 with a discount for buying two
Looks: Ingenious on its own, but when paired with a small and sweet traveler, the combination is impossible to resist.
Overall: Pretty much the only way to get through an airport with your sanity and all your kids.
Thank you to Ride On Carry On for providing their ingenious little travel seat to be reviewed. No other type compensation was received for this review.
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“Ergo we go”
I had seen the ERGObaby carriers around town for a few months and was always curious about them but I hadn’t realized just how excited I was to try the ERGObaby until I got my own. Taking it out of the package, I was oddly giddy as I pictured baby and me exploring the wide Northwest with nothing to stop us. Not only was I correct in how much I was going to adore it, we ended up globetrotting with the Ergo Carrier, sporting it on a fast-paced multi-continent trip that would have been impossible to navigate with a stroller or lesser quality baby carrier.
The Ergo Baby Carrier is truly user-friendly and easy to figure out with no instructions at all.* The design is reminiscent of a backpack, but for babies instead of baggage and with a weight bearing padded waist band to lighten the load. The straps are also nicely padded and comfortable, making you wonder if ERGObaby would ever be interested in designing a better backpack for us all.
After tearing open the package, I immediately put it on. I tried the front carry method initially, securing the waist strap first and then holding baby in it while I put the arm straps on. After baby was secure, I reached back between my shoulder blades and secured the connecting strap in the back. Immediately, I was impressed with the fabric of the Ergo Carrier. It feels like the perfect mix of durability and comfort with a heavy duty design that doesn’t have a heavy duty weight to go along with it.
Baby snuggled right into me and started sucking on the Ergo straps (you can actually buy optional strap covers for this very reason) while I cleaned the house. Baby felt 100% secure and I didn’t feel like I needed to keep one hand under her at all times like I do with so many other carriers. Her weight felt evenly distributed and the carrier didn’t dig into my shoulders, strain my back or hurt my hips in any way. By the time the housework was done, I was a die-hard Ergo fan. I still hate laundry, but at least with the ERGObaby I got baby snuggles out of the deal.
The ERGObaby carrier is made from 100% cotton canvas on the outside, padded with 100% cotton batting on the inside and lined with a 100% cotton poplin fabric, making it 100% comfortable. ERGO also now offers their exact same carriers made with organic fabric for the eco conscious or for those who love the earthy look.
All their carriers have a very unisex appeal, which made this the first front carrier that hubby would wear as well. When you’re talking days on end of walking or traveling with a baby, bringing something that you can take turns carrying is the only thing that makes sense. Not only does hubby happily babywear now that we have the ERGO, he actually looks good doing so. If it can turn hubby into a happy babywearing dad, it just might do the same for your guy.
When packing for our Europe/Africa trip, we knew that a stroller would most definitely slow us down, and decided that babywearing was by far the better option. As we discussed baby carriers it was absolutely a given that the Ergo would be joining us on the trip. Even though when packed the ERGO does take up more room than a simple sling or even a mei tai carrier, you will appreciate every inch of padding and durability the Ergo Baby Carrier provides once you are there. Image to right is one of us enjoying Grenada together, just me, baby, the ERGO and a Spanish mime.
Features I love:
* Three carriers in one; with optional infant insert you can carry babies from newborn until 40 pounds. I plan on carrying baby in hers until she just becomes too heavy for hubby and I, as the fabric and durability is tested to 90 pounds.* Baby is 16 months now still loves the ERGO, both as a front carrier or back carrier. * The standard zip pockets on the ERGObaby carrier are just big enough to hold the necessities: a wallet, point and shoot camera and maybe some chapstick, so you can forgo the purse for short jaunts out. * I love that you can add optional attachments that convert the ERGO to more of a backpack or day pack, meaning that you can carry baby and your gear at the same time. Perfect for hiking or long days out where you need your hands free, the ERGO allows you to carry everything safely and securely and is far superior to carrying an additional bag. * The ERGO is soft and comfortable with features such as a high density neoprene foam in waist belt that adjusts from waist size 25” to 43”. * High quality buckles are easy to do one handed, but not placed so that baby can undo them as in other baby carriers. * Ergonomic design fits anyone from 5’ to 6’5” with their adjustable shoulder and chest straps. * Extremely durable with reinforcement stitching used at all fabric seams and interior rip-stop reinforcements at critical intersections. * ERGO Carriers are machine washable, as every good baby product should be.
* Three carriers in one; with optional infant insert you can carry babies from newborn until 40 pounds. I plan on carrying baby in hers until she just becomes too heavy for hubby and I, as the fabric and durability is tested to 90 pounds.* Baby is 16 months now still loves the ERGO, both as a front carrier or back carrier.
* The standard zip pockets on the ERGObaby carrier are just big enough to hold the necessities: a wallet, point and shoot camera and maybe some chapstick, so you can forgo the purse for short jaunts out.
* I love that you can add optional attachments that convert the ERGO to more of a backpack or day pack, meaning that you can carry baby and your gear at the same time. Perfect for hiking or long days out where you need your hands free, the ERGO allows you to carry everything safely and securely and is far superior to carrying an additional bag.
* The ERGO is soft and comfortable with features such as a high density neoprene foam in waist belt that adjusts from waist size 25” to 43”.
* High quality buckles are easy to do one handed, but not placed so that baby can undo them as in other baby carriers.
* Ergonomic design fits anyone from 5’ to 6’5” with their adjustable shoulder and chest straps.
* Extremely durable with reinforcement stitching used at all fabric seams and interior rip-stop reinforcements at critical intersections.
* ERGO Carriers are machine washable, as every good baby product should be.
Features I would love to see on the ERGO:
* I would love a full-coverage hood option as well as the small hood attached to the carrier for providing full sun coverage or discrete nursing coverage. * The ERGO is not my top choice hip carrier, as I found that the idea of sliding the carrier to the side to convert it seemed a bit awkward and it felt like there were just too many straps in the way. I know others swear by their ERGOs as hip carriers, but I just never got the hang of it and neither did baby. But, having both front and back options was sufficient for both hubby and I.
* I would love a full-coverage hood option as well as the small hood attached to the carrier for providing full sun coverage or discrete nursing coverage.* Speaking of the hood, it would be great if it did remove completely instead of stuffing into the front pocket of the carrier as it has the potential to look messy or even come unstuffed as you move.
* The ERGO is not my top choice hip carrier, as I found that the idea of sliding the carrier to the side to convert it seemed a bit awkward and it felt like there were just too many straps in the way. I know others swear by their ERGOs as hip carriers, but I just never got the hang of it and neither did baby. But, having both front and back options was sufficient for both hubby and I.
Prices range from $105 for the standard carrier to $135 for the organic or fashion carriers.
Looks: Ranging from earthy to sporty, but equally adorable when you have a sweet baby placed inside.
Overall: The Ergo is perfect for including baby in all that you do in the most natural and comfortable way. It does so much more than carry your baby, it allows you to carry your gear, too!
*I am a professional baby carrier tester with a hubby to oversee my shenanigans and am in no way suggesting that you do not read the instructions on a baby carrier before your first use or that you ignore posted weight limits suggested by a baby carrier.
A continental sized thank you to the designers at ERGObaby for offering their carrier for review and changing the way we travel with baby forever. No compensation was received for this review.
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