Monday, August 29, 2011

FREE collapsible 15oz. BPA free reusable water bottle!! Today only!

If you head over to the Savemore website today and get one of these awesome collapsible water bottles for FREE. If you are a first time visitor to Savemore (it's a daily deal site similar to Groupon) you will receive an INSTANT $10 credit just for entering your email and zip code. The bottle is $5 with free shipping. So this is even better than free!!!! Then if you want to share the deal with your friends and readers you'll get credit for anyone that purchases one... not bad right?! Just click HERE or the green BUY button to get the deal! Enjoy!!
From the Savemore website (excuse the poor quality, some was lost in translation but I wanted you to be able to see all the details):


Collapsible Water Bottles

Reusable BPA-Free Water Bottle ($10 Value) plus FREE Shipping!


50%
Discount
9,056
Bought
1d8:37:40
Time Remaining

Features

  • Collapsible, reusable 15oz water bottles
  • BPA-Free & eco-friendly
  • Includes carabiner clip
  • Free shipping

Details

Expires March 1, 2012. Free shipping included. Voucher will be available for redemption on 9/1, at 12pm CST. Redeem online at WaterBottle.bzLimit one per person.
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About The Deal:

Your body wants you to stay healthy and hydrated, but Mother Earth needs you to stop buying so many plastic water bottles. What a conundrum. With today’s deal, solve the riddle once and for all. Receive one 15oz reusable, collapsible water bottle for only $5 from WaterBottle.bz ($10 value). Want to get one for everyone in the family? Pay only $14 and receive four 15oz reusable water bottles ($40 value). The collapsible water bottles are lightweight, flexible and eco-friendly. They are perfect for the person on the go as they fit anywhere including a pocket, cup holder or backpack. These lightweight portable water bottles make it easy to drink water throughout the day. Throw the bottle in your purse, briefcase or pocket and refill it as many times as you need to. The water bottle expands when filled with water. Unlike regular plastic bottles that you buy at the store, these bottles are free from dangerous chemicals like BPA, a harmful ingredient present in most plastic bottles. These bottles are dishwasher safe and easy to clean. Your body and mother earth will thank you. View the company website.

Get the deal now! Just click here.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Baby's first hurricane

Hurricane Irene hit the east coast this week and I'm pleased to report that it barely touched us here in Providence. We didn't even lose power!! Technically it was downgraded to a tropical storm by the time it hit us... but that didn't stop me from making Aurora this onesie!!
I survived my first hurricane... and all I got was this lousy onesie.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Aurora vs. The Banana

Aurora had her first whole banana the other day! I half gave it to her just to see what she would do. 
I really didn't expect her to eat the whole thing... she surprised me by devouring it!!
Collage made with photovisi!
This picture is actually much bigger and the small size doesn't do it justice. You can click on it to see the full sized image though!! (Don't worry, it won't take you anywhere else.)

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Playdate!!

Yesterday, after talking about it for months, we finally got together with a few of my best friends for a long-overdue playdate. Aurora had her morning nap a little earlier than usual in preparation. Now that Aurora has less bottles during the day I'm trying to keep them pretty close to her meals.
This was the lunchtime bottle.
Apparently bottles= lounging. She does this if she drinks in her stroller too... it's funny pretty much every single time. People seriously stop us in the street over it...
Anyway, on to the playdate!

Practicing walking with her new friend J.
That's his daughter in the pink. Only 3 months older!
 Aurora got to explore a giant house and hang out with the other little ones.
And I mean GIANT. Especially compared to ours.
Yeah that's a Storm Trooper helmet alright.
Aurora also got to play with her good buddy Hedrix!! He's got almost a year on her, but neither of them seem to mind. His parents are two of my closest old friends... 
You can read his mama's blog HERE. 
He's pretty damn cute, so try to contain yourselves!
See? He's adorable.
I was surprised that she played with an actual toy for awhile...
These days she's more into finding things she shouldn't be touching, so this was a welcome change! But I found out quickly that it was only because she had bigger plans: 
Yep. She's kneeling ON it.
 She fell asleep for a little bit on our way home so I didn't bother with her longer nap. We just hung out around the house, ate a snack and Aura had a much needed bath before bedtime. It was a pretty great day!
Banana cookie snack before bedtime!
Note the HUGE mess. Maybe this was a bad idea.
 She seemed to have a blast and wore herself out so much that she slept like a champ!
Pooped.
 Can't wait for next time!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

How I announced my pregnancy to the world!

I was feeling a little nostalgic today after taking down my MySpace and saving the blog from there to my hard drive before I (eventually) delete my profile all together. SO I started going backwards on Facebook and looking at all the crazy things that have been documented over the past couple of years. My most memorable post? Well, telling my extended friend-family about the baby was a bit of a dilemma. I kept it a secret from everyone for a very long time. I am a private person anyway and I wasn't looking forward to all the attention. But I guess it was more than that too. How do you announce pregnancy to the world when you are connected to so many people at once on the internet? How do you tell friends you haven't seen in years that you are having a baby? Even better, how do you tell friends you saw a week ago that you've had a bun in the oven for MONTHS?
Well... I went the obvious/humor route, via Facebook status update:

Angela is having a baby... No, I'm not kidding, sorry I didn't tell you, most people didn't know until recently. Other answers: girl, Nov 28th, no definite name yet, yes I have ideas, no I won't tell you, a friend, maybe?, I've never done anything else the conventional way, yes, no I don't miss drinking much, yes, sushi, red, playing Wii, not on your life, red pandas, all of them, mint chocolate chip, and I can't remember. 


So what about you other mamas?
How did you announce your pregnancy to the world?

Little Passports!

Have you guys heard of this yet??! I've been reading about it almost obsessively and I cannot wait until Aurora can read and is old enough to appreciate geography so we can sign up for this! I've never really been able to afford to travel outside of the US and even though I am pretty optimistic about our finances in the future I don't think grand travel plans will be feasible any time soon. SO what's the next best thing in my opinion?
THIS: Little Passports!!! It's like a combination of a 'pen pal' and a travel guide! I think it's an amazing idea to teach kids about other countries and cultures in a fun and personal way!
From the website:

Little Passports is your child’s ticket to an exciting global adventure. Inspire a love and understanding of the world as your child learns about a country’s geography, history, culture, and language in a fun and memorable way.
Little Passports is a subscription service for children featuring two loveable characters, Sam and Sofia. Sam and Sofia travel to a new country every month and share their experiences with your child. Your child will receive an exciting package via postal mail that includes an adventure letter, fun souvenirs, activities, and access to the Little Passports Boarding Zone full of games and activities.
It’s educational, it’s engaging, it’s the perfect way to introduce your child to the amazing world around us. Visit www.littlepassports.com to learn how to bring the world to your door!


Sounds like fun doesn't it? If anyone has littles that are the right age to appreciate something like this I would LOVE to hear some feedback! I'm chomping at the bit to be able to do this for Aurora! I'm adding a new button for them in my sidebar for easy access if anyone wants to check them out. Yes, I will receive some credit for those who sign up, but that is not why I am doing this! I'm really into the whole idea! Feel free to go straight to their website at LittlePassportsdotcom to sign up without giving me  referral credit.... there will be no hard feelings, I swear. I'd still love your feedback!


Monday, August 22, 2011

*MY* weekend: Attended an awesome wedding, saw great friends!!

I know that my weekend posts have always been all about adventures with my little bean but this weekend was a bit different. For the first time since she was born almost nine months ago, I made plans and left Aurora with my roommate/bestie during daylight hours! I DJ at a local bar once a month and I've gone out about three times, but by the time I leave the house Aura is in bed for the night so this was quite a departure for me. Leaving when I knew she was still awake and could notice I was gone is probably the most daunting thing that I knew I'd eventually have to get over. I've gotten very used to the idea of always being within earshot and being able to scoop her up if she needs me. Going out of town completely eliminated any possibility of even being able to get to her if something went wrong. BUT a great pair of friends were tying the knot so I couldn't use my normal 'I don't like to leave the baby' lame-o excuse.
Black 'shatter' polish over gold
Soooo... I got all dressed up and headed out with an old friend for the evening. It's been awhile since I had an excuse to paint my nails fancy and break out  the high heels (never mind how long it's been since I could fit in them!) Somehow I even managed to sneak in some extra cuddle time, get everything together and get ready on time!
Aurora likes fancy shoes too!
The service was really nice and not too formal, dinner was good and the place they picked was perfect.
The happy couple!
One of the best parts for me, aside form the obvious, was that I remembered what it's like to have a social life! The person I went with has no children and doesn't see Aura or I very often so we actually talked about non-baby related things. This was a welcome and refreshing change, I didn't even mind that we got lost and it took forever to get there! Some of my oldest and best friends were at this wedding too and it was great to just sit and have a few cocktails. It's pretty rare that I get to have a conversation these days and be fully present. Usually when I see people I'm either working or trying to keep one eye on a mischievous octopus baby with her hands (and mouth) on and in everything. Don't get me wrong, I LOVE being a mama and all of the changes involved more than I ever expected I would or even thought I could. Sometimes though it's easy to feel like I've lost a little of my old self... this weekend I found out she's still there.
The best part? Aurora was a prefect little angel, went to bed with no problems and didn't even seemed phased that I left. That last part is actually a little heartbreaking, but makes me super proud at the same time. So everything went well and I had a great time. Who knows, maybe I'll even go out again some day!
Hope everyone else enjoyed their weekends!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

The ABCs of Me! (from VoiceBoks)

So the ladies over at VoiceBoks are doing something pretty fun. It's a cute way to get to know each other using topics that start with the different letters of the alphabet. I have to admit, I cheated a little. This little survey circulated Facebook for awhile so I saved time thinking of fun topics, I just updated my answers. Feel free to steal the idea!

A - Age: 31.

B - Bed size: Huge and comfy. (Queen)

C - Chore you hate: Laundry.

D - Dad's name: Dudley, asshole for short.

E - Essential start your day item: Coffee.

F - Favorite food: Sushi.

G - Gold or Silver: Silver.

H - Height: 5'10"ish.

I - Instruments I play: Flute, guitar, keyboard. I use the word 'play' loosely. I suck at all of them.

J - Job: Mama, freelance web content writer, artist, baby chef and cake maker, blogger, occasional DJ, former bartender/cook/retail slave/assistant yoga instructor

K - Kid(s): One darling little bean named Aurora

L - Living arrangements: Big sunny three bedroom apartment in Providence, RI . Currently contains two best friends, a bean, a dog, a cat and assorted plants.

M - Mom's name: Pauline.

N - Nicknames: Nope.

O - Overnight hospital stay other than birth: Zero until last November. Then a few nights after I had the baby and two nights again in February to have my gall bladder out.

P - Pet Peeve: Common mispronunciations, ignorance, bad music, web abbreviations (LOLOMGTTYLBRBROFLetc.etc.etc.bleeeeech)

Q - Quote from a movie: "If this is a dream, the whole world is inside it." or "Bad art is more tragically beautiful than good art because it documents human failure." Both are from 'Stay' which is one of my favorites.

R - Right or left handed: Right.

S - Siblings: 1 older half-brother (whom I've never met in person), 1 younger brother and sister.

T - Time you wake up: When Aurora tugs my hair or tries crawling over me... then it's GO time!

U- Underwear: Ok I'll admit it, I had a brief black granny panty phase. However, now that the great abdomen expansion of 2010 has passed I'm back to thongs or lace boyshorts.

V - Vegetable you dislike: I've yet to find one.

W - Ways you run late: I'm usually never late, but if I were it would probably be a bus or baby issue.

X - X-rays you've had: None I think.

Y - Yummy food you make: Everything. The Italian stuff is probably best though, it's in my blood.

Z - Zoo favorite: I hate most Zoos. If I see big bars or lots of cement structures or other overly humanized living conditions I'm out. Luckily our local zoo is very humane, this is good because I think red pandas and snow leopards are pretty sweet.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Our weekend: Meeting new family, FooFest and flea marketing!

Yet another eventful summer weekend for us! On Saturday we went to meet Aurora's grandparents and aunt for the first time! I was a little nervous about the whole thing going in. As most of you know, Aurora's daddy isn't in the picture. However, his family has made it clear that they would like to be involved and I had no intention of shutting them out. I made plans to meet his sister and the night before we found out that his mother and father were going to come down too! Steph, the Bean and I met up with them at one of our favorite neighborhood brunch spots, Julians. I felt silly for worrying about five minutes in, they were super nice and were very excited to see Aurora! Things went really well. My nervousness gradually went away as we started getting to know each other and by the end we were like old friends. Aura got passed around and hogged all the attention as usual:

Aura and Grandma J!

Grandpa J!
Brunch was delicious and everyone got along really well and even had a few laughs. We ended up staying for a couple hours and even sharing a few laughs. All in all a really good time and I'm sure we'll do it again soon!
I must admit that our meeting brought up a few painful things for me, like the fact that Aurora will never get a chance to know my mother. My father may be out of the picture also unless he straightens out. It's a little tough when things like that hit me but I'm dealing with it. I guess in a way though it's more of a reason to embrace all the relatives she does have, even if circumstances are a little different than most. Who knows what the future holds for our little patchwork family. I'm excited to build new relationships and strengthen existing ones. I'm even thinking about reconnecting with some family that I've lost touch with. Right now, Aura knows nothing but love from every direction and I couldn't be happier about it. I'll do everything in my power to make sure her life stays this perfect.


After we said our goodbyes it was on to FooFest!
FooFest is an annual block party and live music event that happens in the middle of the city every summer. Always tons of fun stuff for the littles (which I hadn't ever fully appreciated before) and tons of good food and music and tons of people that I look forward to seeing (and, of course, a few I don't haha)
Last year I attended but didn't have the best time. It still wasn't public knowledge that I was pregnant (I hid it well) and it was hot and uncomfortable. If I remember correctly I left pretty early after one too many awkward conversations.
This year was much more enjoyable and low key. We did a bit of walking and mingling, then we hung out in a little grassy area for a bit.

Aurora had her first up close and in person experience with a big yellow balloon! She was pretty baffled by it...








She couldn't figure out if it was a yummy snack...
Or a prop to help her stand up!
We were worried about it popping and scaring her but when it eventually did pop she wasn't even phased! She just looked at us funny like we hid it from her and then it was on to the next thing.
Three cheers for mellow babies!!

Eventually Aurora needed a nap and I figured she wouldn't sleep with all the excitement so we left for a bit in the afternoon and took a long walk. I was hoping to lull her to sleep but she had other plans. We wandered downtown for awhile, I got coffee and I took her to my favorite family friendly restroom to change her and clean us up a bit. Then we headed back to walk around a little more and get some food. Aurora met quite a few of my old friends and some new people. I discovered that she even turns grown men into a pile of mush... I'm sure this is just the beginning of what will inevitably be her long illustrious career as a future maneater. We met up with other friends and watched a few bands play and eventually headed home with Aura finally snoozing in her carrier the whole way. Our long peaceful walk home was the perfect end to a really nice day.

Sunday was our usual family grocery trip and a quick stop at the flea market. I came home and made an awesome pasta salad with goat cheese, sundried tomatoes, black olives and pesto vinaigrette.
More on that later in a food post I'm working on, it was delicious!!

Friday, August 12, 2011

Almost forgot to tell you guys about Mixbook!!

In a couple months I will be doing my very first review/giveaway. I decided from the start that I would be pretty selective about which of these I would accept. I've gotten a few offers but I wanted to make sure that any product I decide to promote is one that I am actually happy with, a company that I like and most importantly a product that I think is relevant to this blog (so you won't see me talking about expensive vacations or home mortgages anytime soon!) I have no interest in becoming a 'giveaway blog' (not that I have any issue with them, I've entered quite a few giveaways myself!) It just isn't what I had in mind when I started and I doubt I have the stamina to keep up with all of that promoting!

So, why Mixbook?!
Well, first of all, from what I've seen their site looks super easy to navigate. The designs are beautiful and the prices seem super reasonable. I also love photography and I believe that looking at a photo on a computer will never compare to holding it in your hands or seeing it on a wall.

***UPDATE*** This promotion is now expired, but you can get 20% off of any order with the code: MSNGLSMX 

Why in a few months and not now?
Well, here's the incredible thing: I was offered a chance to design a photobook for the review which I was excited about and when I got to designing it I saw all these cute year books and birthday books. I thought, What an amazing idea for Aura's 1st birthday!!!
Problem? Her birthday isn't until November 30th!
Well, the folks at Mixbook were awesome and understanding, so they extended the offer until after her birthday! Score points for them already and I haven't even designed the book yet! Amazing service and the people I've talked to are all super nice.

***UPDATE*** This promotion is now expired, but you can get 20% off of any order with the code: MSNGLSMX 

The reason I'm telling you now instead of waiting until after I make my book to review??
Simple, I got an email today saying that THIS WEEK ONLY  they would be having a 50% off SALE on my favorite size (the 11x14 landscape)!!!! There are savings across the board, but obviously 50% is a great deal!


The fine print?:
Deal: Save up to 50% on all Photo Books
Code: BK50MX
Valid: August 11th, 2011 - August 18th, 2011
Restrictions: Shipping not included. Does not apply to previous orders and can not be combined with any other discounts, Groupon or voucher codes.



That's it... no catch! Just enter the code when you checkout and pay regular shipping/handling and you get your 11x14 landscape book for half off! Not bad huh? I think these would make amazing birthday books (obviously) or also birth story books, holiday stories... anything really. With super simple templates the possibilities are endless. Go check them out and get creative!

***UPDATE*** This promotion is now expired, but you can get 20% off of any order with the code: MSNGLSMX 

Be sure to check back in December to see the book I'm making all about Aurora's first year. I'm so excited for it!
With that, I'm off to go enjoy some sunshine.
Have a great day!




***UPDATE*** This promotion is now expired, but you can get 20% off of any order with the code: MSNGLSMX 

Monday, August 8, 2011

Our Weekend: Painting, Cake Making and Bday Partying... Photobomb!

This weekend was a pretty busy one for us. On Saturday we revisited the zoo with my roommate/bestie in the afternoon. Aurora was a little cranky but overall we definitely still had a good time! Then I spent the rest of the evening finishing up a nursery painting and making a cake! 
Our friends' little girl was having her first birthday party on Sunday! I had been working on a painting for her room all week. They LOVE owls and have owl things all over for her, so I figured what could be more perfect then a picture of a little owl family that looked just like theirs?! Here's what I came up with:

I was pretty proud of the wrapping too!
Then it was on to the cake. I love the idea of fancy little smash cakes for first birthdays! The party theme was owls, of course, and the colors were hot pink and lime green. Step one was creating a tiny layer cake with green and pink sponge. (It's sitting on a breadcrumb can to give you some size perspective...)


Then some frosting...
Our apartment was very warm so piping the frosting wasn't really working. I ended up doing the detail with a toothpick! Then I cut some ears and wings out of fruit leather, mini Oreo eyes with licorice pupils and carved orange slice candies for a beak and feet!


Not bad huh??
This was my first attempt at a fully decorated and themed smash cake and I have to say I was pretty proud of myself! Somehow we managed a 30 minute drive with me holding the cake on my lap. There was one or two close calls because the weather was pretty bad so my roommate seemed to have a little bit of a tough time driving in the downpours but we made it. And then? Well.... I dropped the whole thing on the ground in their driveway.
I was SO bummed. They are going to try to salvage it since only the top really got messed up and some of the frosting can be scraped off, but they never got to see how cute it was in person! 
As for the party, it was a pretty good time. It took me a little while to accept that the cake got ruined so I could settle down and enjoy it but I saw some great friends there and there were tons of kids running around so I snapped out of it eventually. Aurora seemed to have a blast and proved once again that she's anything but shy and timid! She was crawling all over trying to get her hands on everything and eating up the attention.


Aurora didn't really seem too interested in playing with the other kids but they were all older than her. She was more concerned with putting all the toys (and crayons) in her mouth!

Aurora loves eating EVERYTHING.
So... despite a little rough patch, we had a pretty great weekend!
How about you?!


Pretty neat internet shopping helper I discovered yesterday...

So I've been on the hunt for some of those flameless candles ever since we put our patio set in the backyard. I thought they would be cute out there. Usually my go to shopping site is Amazon, but they didn't have a huge variety so I decided to see what else was out there. I love comparison sites and I found Become.com it's set up pretty similar to some other comparison sites but I think it offers quite a few extra features (like coupons!!) that other sites don't have. I also like that there is a mobile app available for iPad and with talks of one in development for iPhone and android, it's only going to get better!
Well, like with most things, a simple search for candles turned into a search for bookcase storage baskets. I've been looking for cute ones of a certain particular size forever and sure enough I found a couple options to choose from. This led to a search for bunching tables and a ton of other things. Their lists are very well populated and offer a ton of options, not just paid ads by the bigger retailers which I really appreciated. I also didn't get search returns with a TON of eBay results which happens pretty often with other sites and gets frustrating.
My next bigger purchase is going to be a new PC laptop and since there are a ton of options out there I think I'll be using Become.com again when the time comes. I already did search just to take a quick look at my options and I like that the computers were grouped by type with the selection of available stores underneath. I could also narrow the search by screen size, company and even color. The site also features shopping guides and product reviews which I'm sure will come in handy since I am really up in the air about which laptop I want.
If you get a chance you should check it out, they may just be able to help you next time you're scouring the internet for good deals! What other sites do you guys use??


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