Monday, July 16, 2012

Grand Opening Party for Hanna Andersson at The Shops at Mission Viejo

 Hanna Andersson home page
I was so psyched to be invited to an exclusive event for the grand opening of the new Hanna Andersson kids clothing store at the Shops of Mission Viejo! Not only did I get to see some familiar friendly blogger faces, I met many new blogger friends. I've admired Hanna Andersson catalogs for years but had never been in a store yet. (There are only about 40 stores throughout the United States, but more are opening in the near future.)

If you haven't had the privilege of experiencing Hanna Andersson first hand, some of the main benefits of their clothes are bright, fun designs and the extremely soft, durable cotton. The clothes are inspired by Sweden, designed in Portland and (some) manufactured in China. (These business details confounded a few us blogger chicks.) You pay a little more for the clothes than you would at Old Navy or Target, but with the extra cost, you get substantially better quality (honestly).

Believe me, I am extremely frugal, so for me to spend what I did that night on few items is extremely out of character. The last few years, I've been buying my kids' clothes at Children's Orchard consignment shop, where I've found several Hanna Andersson outfits (that I still have). I feel that spending a lot on kids clothes is a waste of money since they trash everything they wear and outgrow it so quickly.

BUT - I decided to stretch out of my financial comfort zone at the grand opening event. Peer pressure and being caught up in the moment, you know. I bought an adorable pillowcase dress (on sale - yay!) for my l'il chickadee, a pink long sleeve t-shirt with picture of a girl in glasses on the front for my older chickadee, since she sports the spectacles.
I also bought each girls a two-pack of socks  and a pair of feet-less/ankle tights in bright colors and patterns. I was hesitant to spend a little more on these basic items, but I'm glad I did. The chickadees put them on the very next day and excitedly told me how soft and comfy the socks were. My l'il chickadee, who tends to be hard to please, said, "the line over my toes isn't even irritating me!" My older chickadee put her new shirt on right away and wrapped her arms around herself and hugged it with a big smile on her face. 

I didn't know it could make so much of a difference to them, but apparently they do notice how their clothes feel. I almost wish I had bought them some Hanna Andersson underwear for the new school year instead of the scratchy, dull cotton Hanes I went with. Their underwear was extremely soft and made from organic cotton.

They do sell cute boys clothes (as well as women's on their website), but I didn't buy anything for the l'il chicken hawk - his dresser drawers are too full as is. But I really liked the pajamas and I may go back for a pair when it's time to go shopping for him. I love these pajamas:
Click to zoom 

I had such a fun time talking to all of the bloggers as well as the store staff, it was an extremely warm, pleasant and fun event.  At one point, the table of desserts and drinks collapsed on one side, sending it all crashing to the floor. Everyone was so respectful and courteous at that sensitive moment, even though it was hard not to laugh in surprise. I really wanted to shout out, "Five second rule!" and take all of the fallen treats home with me. But alas, they were likely tossed in the back room. 

Another snag of the evening was a cash register mishap when my BOGO (buy one, get one half off) discount wasn't calculating properly. But management was there in an instant with some quick troubleshooting. I wasn't bothered by it, but they were starting to get concerned that it was a store-wide issue with certain items, and they were very apologetic and sweet throughout the process. I know it had to be stressful to encounter these tech issues the evening before the official public opening of the store. I tip my hat to these ladies!

Hanna Andersson's CEO, Adam Stone seems like a genuinely nice, authentic guy and very personable. It seems as though they are a solid retail business with a bright future. I hope that I can continue to shop here in the future, as long as I'm still employed with a disposable income...

Disclaimer: I was not compensated for this post; I was provided a 20% discount on merchandise and a swag bag with children's books. All opinions are my own and honest.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Is Your Kitty Pretty?

Here is an ad that was in one of those coupon books that were mailed to my house recently. It caught my eye because it was colorful and eye-catching. Then I read the text and chuckled - ohhh that kind of kitty! 

Who doesn't like a good hair pulling?
Apparently The Pretty Kitty is a bikini waxing establishment where you can "Experience the Difference". I suppose the difference they are referring to is between shaving and waxing. Before I had kids, I tried getting Brazilian waxes a handful of times. Then, to save money, I tried waxing my bikini line myself at home with several different 'miracle' products. After much money, pain, time and struggle, I ended up shaving anyway. There was not a significant change in hair growth.

After my first child was born, I splurged and signed up for a laser hair removal package at a local med spa establishment. I went for underarms and bikini which cost me over $1000. Then I ended up signing up for another package because I still had hair growth. Eventually I just gave up and resorted to shaving again. Which is what I will continue to stick with. 

Sphynx Cat
Hairless Sphynx Cat
Photo Credit:
My friend and I were just talking about the infomercial for the 'No No!' and we are both intrigued by it. It's a personal hair removal system. It sounds great in theory, but at the cost of $270 and no guarantee that you'll be hairless, I would put my money towards more economical and minimal-effort razors. Don't even mention the old torture device the Epilady! OUCH!

As a mom of three, who really runs their hands down my stubbly legs or sees me up close in a bikini that often anyway? Plus, I sort of like the five o-clock shadow! The real 'Pretty Kitty' is not a hairless feline, it is way more domesticated than that!

No No! Hair Removal System

Epilady 4th Generation (!)

Lady of Leisure

One of my childhood friends from Washington came to visit me this weekend and stayed until Tuesday. It was so good to see her! Even though it's been years since we saw each other or even spoke, we fell right back into our old friendship. She is single, no kids and is hoping to settle down 'someday'. I told her to enjoy her life of leisure while she could.

Saturday we went to Laguna Beach to soak up the sun and later that night, several local friends met up with us to do the beach bar thing. We started at Las Brisas, followed with the White House on PCH. My local OC friend (married, 3 kids) ordered round after round of lemondrop martinis and we proceeded to get hammered. Overall, it was a fun night of great music, dancing and laughter. Our ultimate mission was to find a guy for my WA friend so she could move down here. The good news is she got two leads that night.
Lemondrop Martinis at White House, Laguna Beach

The craziest part of the night was when we were staggering back to our designated driver's car - he was a good boy and only drank Sprite and water all night. We stopped at the gas station to wait for the car as he went up the hill to get it. My OC friend had to pee and the gas station didn't have a public restroom available, so she tried to go around the back side and pee between some bushes. Right then, two police cars pulled in and shined their lights on us and demanded that we comply with their barrage of questions.

My friend couldn't even get her pants zipped up!  I kept trying to help her, but the cops insisted we find our sober driver - likely thinking we were just making it up. She was extremely out of it fumbling with her zipper and mumbling while I proceeded to try to butter them up and say how cute they were. Luckily, I didn't annoy them too much, and we were able to prove that we did in fact have a sober driver and they let us go. I'm glad I didn't ask them to frisk me up against the car, as I sometimes joke about cute cops. I would not do well in jail.

Sunday was an entire day of recovery for my WA friend and I and we ended up missing the Anaheim Angels  (no, it's not L.A. Angels of Anaheim, sorry) game we'd already bought tickets for. It was pretty much an entire vacation day down the tubes for her. But we couldn't get up from the horizontal position without wanting to hurl. 

Monday, I told my work that I would be working from home, then I dropped the chickadees off at camp, Daddy-O took the l'il chicken hawk to the babysitter and I tried to crank out as much morning work as possible. Mid-day we took a jaunt to Newport Beach and we soaked up rays by the pier, chatted, dozed and snacked to our heart's content. I checked and responded to email periodically and I only felt slightly guilty for not being in the office. It was so nice to allow myself that recreation time! I never take time off just for me and it's been forever since I went to the beach with friends.

Now that I've had two full days in the office and my friend has flown back home, I am back in the swing of things and caught up on work projects. I still don't feel completely rested, but I'm so glad I stepped out of my comfort zone and made time to do leisurely activities. I need to do fun things more often. It doesn't necessarily have to be without the kids; I could take them on a bike ride with me or to the beach. What should be the next adventure? 

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Up Close and Personal with the Hoo Hoo Whisperer

Here comes another fun post about one of my latest appointments for health! This one is a doozie!
"Transform your Hoo-Hoo, enrich your life."
As you may recall, my bladder has become increasingly dysfunctional with all three of my pregnancies, so I recently saw a urologist who then referred me to a physical therapist specializing in women's issues - Womanlogy in Irvine. These physical therapists are a self-proclaimed 'Hoo Hoo Whisperers'. My evaluation appointment was on Thursday and I was a little concerned what it would entail and how personal it would be.

Well, after a little discussion about my urinary stress incontinence history, pregnancies, childbirths to big babies as well as a closer look at a female pelvic floor anatomy diagram/model, I was asked to undress from the waist down. My physical therapist (female, thank God) had me lay on my back, bend my knees and part my legs, similar to being at the gynecologist. I subconsciously tightened it all up, but had to try to tell myself to relax. She put on her gloves and inserted her fingers to feel for scar tissue and 'knotted muscles' (like in a stiff neck (!)), which she found and subsequently massaged out. We chatted pleasantly throughout, which pushed me beyond my comfort zone, but it's for a good cause - dry underwear!

After my 'internal massage', with her fingers still inside, she taught me how to do a proper kegel exercise doing the 'zip up' or elevator method of squeezing the vaginal muscles deeper and higher up for a count of five. It was NOT easy for me to do. But I could see how it could help increasing my bladder control and strength.

She also examined my abdominals for any separation in the muscle caused by my pregnancies (diastasis recti). She confirmed that I did have it and told me that they offered exercises and pilates sessions there that could close up the separation. I was surprised because I read that it was impossible to close the gap without surgery. She said mine was mainly in my belly button area and she proceeded to tape the sides of my abs together with some super-strength tape. I found that very interesting and it made me hopeful that maybe they could help with the little pooch left in my mommy muffin top.

Next steps now are to wait and see if my insurance approves their recommended treatment (total number of physical therapy and pilates sessions) and for me to do my kegels at home daily. I'm not the best at remembering to do them, but I'm going to try. She insists that you don't do them in the car at the stop light, that you wait until you can really concentrate and focus on doing them correctly. The old exercise adage of, 'it's better to do five correctly than 100 incorrectly'.

I'm also going to stick with doing my yoga, pilates, core fusion classes and my chin ups at home. I hear that if you do crunches or regular sit ups, that it makes your diastasis recti worse and makes it bulge, so I'll be cutting that out. I am wondering if I should use an Ace bandage or a girdle to tighten up my mid-section too? I tried it out last night and it was uncomfortably tight. My kids have no idea what they've done to my body, but when they give me angst, I will be sure to remind them!