Sunday, February 28, 2010

The SVMoms Blog event products (Part 1)

So I was walking up from the laundry room at my apartment building, and a neighbor stopped me to say "don't you love those?" She was referring to my new Shape-Up Skechers, which were given to me at the event. I'm still getting used to them, but she could've written her own blog about how much she loved them, how much difference she was seeing in her shape and her posture. So far, my only complaint is that as a corporate mom, I don't have a lot of opportunity to wear them! I love the idea, and hope that Skechers comes up with technology that can actually be worn in an office.

As I write this, my daughter is charging her iPod (my old one) on the new iGo Green, a product also given to me at the event. In this world of devices, it's great to have another way to charge our devices. Even better, this charger also charges itself so that when there's no plug in sight, you can still get more juice into your device.

Ju-Ju-Be personalized a version of this bag to memorialize the event for us. It will replace my old cosmetics travel bag. (They mostly make diaper bags, but have other types as well.)

I am coveting the Bosch Tassimo brewer. This is the only single-serve coffee maker I would want, since the others I have tried are simply awful in comparison. Sadly, they didn't give us our own brewer, only a cup of coffee to try!

I also think I would really get a lot of use out of the Litl webbook, as I often now wish for a laptop just so I can do some browsing/tweeting from the comfort of my couch (I just have a desktop). Having said that, I would need the price to come down about $400 before I could consider it. And I didn't get one of these, either. Just saw them at the event.

More to come as I delve into some of the products not yet mentioned a little more.

DISCLOSURE: I was not paid to write this post, nor were any promises made to write this.

Monday, January 25, 2010

The Pacific Waters Spa in HB is worth the trip to OC

More check-ins at Hyatt Spa trip
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This is how I spent my Sunday! The Pacific Waters Spa at the Hyatt Resort & Spa in Huntington Beach invited LA Moms bloggers (and a few others) to spend an afternoon indulging so that we could tell you all about it!

The Spa is 20,000 square feet of luxury, indulgence, and - oh, yeah - there's a fitness center, too. But admittedly, we were perfectly content to simply look at the equipment while we noshed on some of the lavish treats from the Spa menu. They had my favorite kind of sandwich: mozzarella, tomato, and basil with pesto. I had two. (There were other kinds of sandwiches, but why anyone would care when there's mozzarella to be had, I just don't know.)

But I'm getting ahead of myself. After going to the relax room, I was taken for a massage by Maren. We concentrated on the neck and shoulders, and it didn't take long for those tense muscles to forget all about the drive down!

Then I went for a manicure with Jacquie (who cracked me up when she heard my girls were 9 and 12, and asked "and you're still allowed to blog?"). She treated my hands to a scrub, masque, and moisturizer that left my hands still smelling sweet for hours!

After that, we learned how to make a couple of spa treatments at home created by Pacific Water Spa's manager, Carol McIntire. These are made from items either already on our grocery list, or easy enough to add to the list. I admit, I'm a little adverse to the idea of using coffee for a treatment (because it smells heavenly, and just made me want to drink it), and will instead share the foot treatment with you. You will need:

-3/4 cup Aloe gel (this might be tougher to find in your regular supermarket, so try a specialty store if you have trouble)
-1 cup organic sugar crystals (like the brown In the Raw packets you see at Starbucks)
-1/2 crushed fresh mint leaves (or another natural herb to your liking, like rose petals or lavender)

Mix all ingredients, apply to feet in light circular motion to exfoliate. You can also wrap the feet in plastic wrap and warm towels for 3-4 minutes, then unwrap, and rinse.

After learning about those and getting a tour of the entire spa facility (and stuffing my face with mozzarella sandwiches), it was time for our facial. When I arrived at my parents' house to pick up the girls, my mom immediately noticed the difference in my face! It felt heavenly and was just as soothing as the massage.

The entire staff was so friendly and easy-going. There wasn't a hint of air about them and they were very knowledgeable.

The chain of Hyatt spas (known as Hyatt Pure) is very conscientious about using natural products as much as possible, and incorporating local products as appropriate.

I was also surprised how family-friendly the Resort and even the Spa are! The salon offers services for kids ages 4 and up, and the Resort has two pool areas, one with 3 different slides for the kids (and cabanas with TVs for the parents). The Resort also offers Camp Hyatt, which would keep the kids plenty busy while parents relax in the sauna or have a couples massage.

The bad news? I could never afford this place! I could barely afford to tip all the wonderful staff who took such great care of us!

Still, I would have no trouble recommending it to anyone who can. And I can even help you with the price. Become a fan of Pacific Waters Spa on Facebook, and/or follow them on Twitter, tell them April McCaffery referred you, and you'll receive 20% off any 60 minute treatment.

Even if you're not a SoCal resident, what the heck, do it anyway! Maybe you can plan your next getaway around it, and we can meet up!

Monday, November 30, 2009

Simple, but better (SimpleHuman review)

There are some products we use everyday that we've stopped thinking about as innovations. A trash can is just a trash can. The only thought I usually have about hand soap is whether or not we need to buy more. Most innovation on some household products has pretty much petered out.

simplehuman is changing that perception.

simplehuman has taken common kitchen and bath essentials, and thought, how can we do this better?

simplehuman allowed us to sample a few products.

This two-in-one is perfect for our small apartment kitchen. It could also be used nicely in other rooms of the house - the bedrooms or office, for example. There's the obvious convenience of having both a trash can and a recycling bin in one receptacle, but there are other conveniences as well.

The receptacle's finish is fingerprint-resistant. I also like the fact that the lids don't slam shut, but instead, close silently. But my favorite part is the tuck tool in the back of each bin to gather the excess of the liner bags. (While the company offers can liners of each type, this feature allows you to use the bags from anywhere.) And a 5-year-warranty is always a nice touch!

I'm obsessed with the cotton swab holder (not yet available online). I know that sounds silly, but I've never liked the packaging that most cotton swabs come in. This product allows me to keep them nicely on the bathroom counter, and buy the cheapest cotton swabs, regardless of their packaging.

The most exciting product we've tried is the sensor soap dispenser.

This was incredibly easy to put together with the use of one screwdriver and 4 AA batteries. There are 4 different levels of dispension, including one for hand lotion. The girls think it's the coolest thing ever, and it also saves me money because I can buy hand soap in bulk packages and simply re-load instead of paying for a new pump dispenser every time. And it comes with a 2-year warranty.

I'm now coveting the bathtub caddy, which comes with a wine glass holder. I'd also like to get the shampoo and soap dispenser for the girls' bathroom.

Riley has fun cleaning with the microfiber mitt kit and since they only use water, I don't have to worry about her using too much cleaning product!

My complaint would be that, as well as they design products that can be used for apartment-dwellers, their prices are a bit out of reach for too many of us that live in them. I'd never heard of this company before they approached me for a review because they sell at Bed, Bath and Beyond - a store that is beyond my usual shopping! They now have their own stand-alone retail shop in Los Angeles, but I'd still prefer to shop online at their site instead, as long as they continue to offer free shipping on most products.

Since I've learned of them, I've started developing a wish list for things simplehuman should create: children's bedroom organization is at the top of that list! And while they've started offering some laundry products, they still haven't hit upon the perfect answer for my trips down to the laundry room.

simplehuman is keeping in mind what's important to me as a consumer: long-lasting products that have just that much more thought put into them to make my life just a little bit easier.

Photos courtesy of simplehuman.
I have not been paid for this review, but I did receive the products to sample free of charge.