Visit a C Wonder store and #UnwrapWonder

standard December 18, 2013 1 response

Last week, as most of the people in the area hunkered down and tried to stay warm as temperatures plummeted way below what any of us are used to (hey, be nice, there’s a reason we live in northern California!) I wound my way south to spend the evening at a gorgeous new store called C Wonder.

A month ago I had never even heard of this glittering gem, today it’s high on my list of places to stop by and visit when I’m at Santana Row (a super swanky downtown area nearby with great restaurants and high end stores).

C Wonder is a neat mix of preppy hipster goods that range from clothing and shoes to home and personal accessories. It’s a one stop shop for any shopping you might need. I scored some cute earrings for a teen and some fun stocking stuffers for my kids. I have my eye on a great cutting board for myself and a cute dog collar for our new puppy.

The light in the store is amazing and I had a blast taking photos of all the bright festive displays.

As friends arrived to come shop with me I dragged them from display to display, showing off the monogrammed gifts, the cute clothes, the holiday decorations, even the bicycles (yes, bicycles!) that C Wonder sells.

To be honest, we did spend most of our time drooling over the jewelry. I’m more of a silver kind of girl, but even I was tempted by a few of the shining gold pieces on display.

And then there were the shoes… ah yes… even shoes!

Stop into a nearby C Wonder store and check it out for yourself. I bet you can find the perfect gift for that hard to shop for person on your list! Like… maybe a bicycle with a wine basket? (What? Don’t tell me there isn’t at least one person on your list who wouldn’t want to have a wine picnic!)

Please note: I was compensated for the time spent at the C Wonder store and for this and my social media posts. All photos and opinions are mine and mine alone.

Introducing The All New San Francisco American Girl Store!

standard November 14, 2013 Leave a response

My daughters and I were lucky enough to get a sneak peak of the all new “San Francisco” American Girl Store yesterday. I put “San Francisco” in quotes because the store is actually in Palo Alto at the Stanford Mall, about 45 minutes south of San Francisco. The company researched the markets and found that most of their Northern CA customers were located in the Peninsula, not in the city, and if there’s anything the American Girl peeps want to do, it’s please their customers.

San Francisco has a much better ring than Palo Alto…

I’m not complaining. It’s much closer to home for us!

So off we headed after school, friend in tow, dolls clutched tight to excited chests. In the car they chatted about when they’d gotten their dolls, what accessories they had, what clothes. They futzed with their doll’s outfits, making sure they were ready for the visit “home.”

The chatter slowed as we neared the store. It stretched wayyyyy up into the gorgeous blue sky of an unseasonably warm November day. I had no time to get a good shot of the storefront; the girls were just too excited to wait.

That there is a November sky in the Bay Area. Lovely, right?

And then we were in. My girls had been to the American Girl Store in Chicago, but for their friend this was a first. The magic wasn’t lost on anyone. You have to love how you’re just never too old or too cool to be wowed by beautiful dolls in a beautiful setting.

Big tough 3rd Graders. Ha.

The store is significantly smaller than its Illinois counterpart, but it had all of the essential elements.  Doll salon, Bistro, endless displays of gorgeous dolls in adorable dioramas. And, of course, a book store, to hold all of the great AG books!

Doesn’t she look thrilled to be getting her hair done?
Such stylish place settings!

Some toy stores are mere places to buy toys; the American Girl store is a destination. It’s designed to make you want to walk around, browse, ohhh, ahhh, get your doll… well… dolled up, and stop for a bite to eat. But be warned, this store’s Bistro only seats 40, and 10 of those are at the “bar.” Reservations for tea or for parties are booked up through March already and with such few available seats you’re going to have to plan way ahead to take your doll out for tea. The food seems to be upscale “kid” food, with a few tasty “mommy” options, and the prices weren’t shockingly high. (Definitely par for the course for what you’ll find at other Stanford Mall eateries.) It’s a sweet little place, made to look like a doll sized old style diner. They even have doll seats so everyone’s “friend” can join in the fun. Didn’t bring your doll? No worries, they have loaners, even for mommy and grandma.

As for the book store, it’s not a big part of the store, but it’s where we spent most of our time. The stories are well written, and they really give you a great sense of who the dolls are supposed to be.

American Girl also seems to be cornering the market on young girl self help books. We went home with a guide about boys and a guide on challenging friendships… both of which went to school with my daughter today (together with a stack of post-its and a pen for intense note taking). The hair book for dolls and for girls has also been seriously earmarked and I’m sure will be put to work as soon as school lets out.

They thought I hadn’t noticed they were reading a book about boys. Silly girls.

Take your girls, heck, take your sons. Be ready to be begged for a lot of cute stuff, and be ready to want to shell out for it. You might even find yourself pointing out things your kids didn’t notice.

It won’t take long for you to understand why each doll costs $110. It won’t take long for you to come on board with spending that to bring one home. The dolls are high quality, they’ll last forever. And one day, it’ll be your child walking into one of these stores with her daughter, and odds are, she’ll be clutching that very doll to her chest, excited to find her some new outfits and accessories.

That’s the math book my girls will have in 4th grade. This one is doll sized.

Please note: I was in no way compensated by the American Girl company for this post. We were given a few books and a doll t-short to thank us for our visit.

Keeping everyone in a Circle with Life360

standard September 25, 2013 Leave a response

My husband is an attorney. 90% of the time he spends his days sitting at his desk in his office. The rest of the time he’s off at depositions, at mediations, at client meetings, or even in trial. Sometimes he can text me to tell me when to expect him home, sometimes he can’t.

For the most part not knowing is fine. He’s almost always home around 5:30, almost always warns me when he won’t be. And then, once in a while, a deposition runs late, the office team goes out for a drink, or something else comes up and delays him.

I admit, I worry. I can’t help it.

And yes, some night, like last night, it’s annoying to not know. Like, when I’ve gone out of my way to make dinner for the whole family (what the kids call Family Love Dinner) and I get a call just as the spaghetti is done, telling me that he’s just now heading home and he’s three towns over.

I didn’t freak. There was nothing to be done. I served the kids their dinner and put ours aside to be warmed up later, but it would have been nice to know. I would have saved Family Love Dinner for tonight.

As I mentioned, it’s not a question of intent on my husband’s part. If he hasn’t called or texted it’s because he truly can’t. I get that. And with the Life360 app I can check to see where he is, to see if he’s on the road or still at work.

I love it. And now, with the new Circles update, I can expand my use of the app to my friends.

The Circles feature allows you to create different groupings of people so you can easily message a whole group of people or check on everyone at once.

  • Do you have a group of close friends? Create a Circle and let everyone know when you’re heading to the park or out to lunch.
  • Do you have a carpool you rely on for getting the kids to and fro? Create a Circle and always know when your kids are almost home.
  • Going on vacation with your extended family? Create a Circle and let everyone know about dinner plans.
  • Heading to a blogging or work conference? Create a Circle for the people you want to spend the most time with and let everyone know where to assemble.

Circles can be created as easily as they can be erased. They can be temporary or long lasting. They can have just two people in them or as many as you might want. And they make it just so easy to keep everything and everyone nicely connected.

The Life360 app has so much more to offer, but I’ll let you play with it yourself. It’s free to download to either your Android or iOS device. The subscription service gives you access to even more options. Trust me, you want to check it out.

Please note: Life360 is a Splash Creative Media client and, as such, has compensated me to write this post and spread the love about their app. The opinions and stories here are mine and mine alone.

Ice Cream: Always the best reason to smile!

standard July 27, 2013 1 response

(This may be a sponsored post for Dreyer’s, but you know you love ice cream, so trust me, you want to read on!) 

July is an awesome month. And no, I’m not just saying that because it’s my birth month and the birth month of my big sister and second daughter. No, July is awesome because it’s the heart of summer and because it’s National Ice Cream month.

I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream!

Sorry. I get a little bit silly when I start thinking about ice cream. I can’t help it. A great bowl of ice cream just brings back a million awesome memories of fun family time, time spent with friends, or even just time spent on a couch in front of a good movie.

Ice cream. It’s just a happy food.

My children are prone to agree.

Now, 90% of the time, when we get ice cream, it’s when we’re out and about. Our freezer is about the size of a tin can and I have to prioritize important things like frozen chicken nuggets and corn dogs. So I constantly forget how much amazing ice cream is available in the freezer aisle of the grocery store.

In honor of National Ice Cream month Dreyer’s has issued four Limited Edition flavors and I highly encourage you to hurry on out to your grocery store to snatch them up before they vanish.

Four Limited Edition Dreyer’s Ice Cream Flavors

“Take the Cake”: Yellow cake-flavored light ice cream with a frosting swirl and multi-colored sprinkles. We tried the Slow Churned version (All the taste and 1/2 the fat (with 1/2 the fat and 1/3 fewer calories than regular ice cream! Yum and thank you Dreyer’s!) and it’s amazing. It’s seriously like eating a bite of frozen cake.This was, hands down, Little L’s favorite.

NEW “German Chocolate Cake Spectacular!” Chocolate ice cream with a caramel coconut swirl and brownie pieces. We also tried the Slow Churned version and oh my… it’s creamy, decadent, and delicious. C couldn’t get enough. Even Little L loved it, and she’s not a a real chocolate lover.

“3 Stripes You’re Out”: Vanilla Ice Cream with Mixed Blueberry and Strawberry Swirls. This is my favorite. It’s vanilla-y and fruity all at the same time. Delicious.

NEW “Sunny Salted Caramel Pretzel”: Vanilla ice cream with a salted caramel swirl and pretzel pieces.  I can’t wait to get my hands on a pint of this. There’s no way I’ll be sharing with anyone. Don’t even ask.

Operation Smile
Ice cream makes everyone want to smile, but sadly not everyone can. This year Dreyer’s is partnering once again with Operation Smile, an international children’s medical charity, to make possible 500 reconstructive surgeries for children around the globe suffering from cleft lip, cleft palate, and other facial deformities. Since the middle of May and through September 31, 2013, Dreyer’s is using their Facebook page to educate visitors about Operation Smile and to encourage fans to donate. Dreyer’s will donate up to $125,000 to Operation Smile this year.

Want to know more about the “A Reason to Smile” campaign? Check out the Dreyer’s Ice Cream Facebook page. Join the conversation on Twitter and Instagram with the hashtag #ReasontoSmile.

Want some ice cream? 
I have two coupons for free Dreyer’s ice cream to give out to one of you lucky people! Yay! Want to win them? Leave me a comment telling me which flavor you’re excited to try! If you live in an area of the US where they sell Edy’s feel free to enter too we’ll send you the right coupons!
I’ll pick the winner July 31st at 10pm PST

Please note: This post is brought to you by me, courtesy of Dreyer’s and The Motherhood. I was provided product coupons and compensated for my time, but, as always, the opinions and stories and mine and mine alone.