Sunday, September 21, 2014

VTech Go Go Smart Animals Review & Giveaway

I met some pretty great companies when I attend #SweetSuite14 this year, and when VTech reached out to see if I wanted to do a review for the Go Go Smart Animals & Forest Adventure Playset I was on board as I love the toys they develop.

We already have the Go Go Smart Cars Airport and I was excited that we could expand with the animals.  There's a huge collection of Go Go Smart Animals, but we received Tyrone the Tiger and Hugh the Hippo, which sing fun songs, count and have been carried around constantly by at least one kid since we got them.
The Forest Playset comes with Blake the Bear and I love all the little details and moving parts.  It's got 4 moving parts and my favorite is the twisting butterfly.  It's also cool for Blake to hideout in the cave and have his friends come find him! 
When I first got the package I was concerned that it was too "baby" for Eleanor.  Yes it's recommended for ages 1-5, and I knew Camden would enjoy it, but I was surprised when I noticed how much fun Eleanor was having with it at age 4.  She and Camden were playing together and I could see her imagination rubbing off on him which made me even happier.

I love the whole series and think it's the perfect gift for a birthday or Christmas.  The only thing I would say is I wish it came with 2 more track pieces, but it's a good starter or addition piece to what's becoming a growing collection for us.

I happy to say that VTech is working with me to do a giveaway to one lucky reader.  It will be for 1 Go Go Smart Forest Adventure Playset and 2 Go Go Smart Animals (it will be a surprise which ones the winner gets!)

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Thursday, September 18, 2014

eShakti Reivew

I feel like I've just figured out MY style so when eShakti reached out to me about doing a review I checked out their site and was immediately hooked. I mean with a tag line of We Design, You Customize I knew it was meant to be.
The dresses are totally my style, a bit of vintage with a modern feel, but what separates this company from others is the customization aspect.  There are multiple ways you can customize your dress, skirt or shirt and with sizes ranging from 0-36W it really is Real Fashion for Real People.

So how do they customize? The 1st way is by having someone take all your measurements and for $7.50 they will make a dress to your size.  Way less than having a seamstress alter that new dress.
When it comes to length they give you lots of options depending on your style and what looks good on you.  

 My favorite feature is changing the sleeves and or neckline.  I have a hard time finding dresses to wear in the fall and winter and being able to make something a short or 3/4 sleeve makes it worth the $7.50. I've got my eye on a few different dresses, but they have new things everyday so don't wait to order that dress. Another bonus is ALL the dresses have pockets.  That's huge for me.  I love having pockets in my dresses.

I had a difficult time choosing which dress I wanted to review but in the end I loved this dotted retro poplin dress. It's made of cotton so I'll need to iron it, but I love that the dots are embroidered.  I decided to change the sleeve from a cap to a short sleeve so I could wear it in the fall and winter.  It was a tough choice, but I'm glad I decided on this.  I love this dress, and feel like it's perfect for work, a day in the city or a special event.  I styled it with a 40's feel by adding a vintage purses, heels a fun bun, and my favorite pearls. Classic and flirty!

The one thing I wish the site would do is show you what the dress would look like with the different options. Changing the sleeve or neckline can change the whole style of the dress and I want to make sure it's the look that I want, but right now you have to trust your gut.

I totally recommend giving eShakti a try.  The dresses are affordable, unique, functional and just plain cute. What's better is I have a special coupon code to share so you can get 10% off a purchase at eShakti valid from now to 10/14/2014.  Just use suburbanwifecitylife in the promo code box! Happy Shopping!

Disclaimer:  I was provided a product for review.  As always all opinions are my own.
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Wednesday, September 17, 2014

We can't always be perfect #Parentfail

Today was Eleanor's 1st day of school. We've been talking to her for a while about going to school and she's been both nervous, and excited about the 1st day.

As for me I thought I had everything I needed and was all set.  Then today I went to get her dressed and realized she had nothing to wear, things were too small, stained or just didn't look good, yes I know I'm being vain.  How was this possible? I feel like she has adorable clothes for the fall, there had to be something worthy of the 1st day of school picture.  Mike thought I was crazy.  "She has drawers of clothes, there has to be something.  I'll find her the perfect outfit."

Ten minutes later he's loaded the kids in the car and is off to Kohls to find her something that fit and be the perfect 1st day outfit.  Thankfully I had already ordered her shoes for the fall so she was set with her Stride Rite cowboy boots. I do have to give Mike the credit he picked the perfect shirt, with her help, paired it with skinny jeans and she was set. I added our chalkboard sign, because I totally forgot to print one out even though I had all the prep time I needed, and my parent fail turned into a win!

The moral of my story is sometimes we have a parent fail moment and in the world of facebook and instagram we don't always share them.  I may look like I've got all my ducks in a row and the perfect little photos of what I think is my life, but what I don't always share are the little things that really make us who we are, the attempts and the fails.  I'm not perfect I have fails and wins, but I'm going to try and share them a little more because those make me the parent that I am. 

So tell me what was your most recent #parentfail?
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Monday, September 15, 2014

Car Seat Safety Info & Britax Frontier 90 Review

Did you know car seats expire? I recently discovered Camden's car seat was expired, and knew exactly what I wanted to replace his outdated one with: The Britax Frontier 90.

Before I tell you about the awesome Frontier 90 I want to share a little education on car seats and the different hows and whys they can expire from Britax.
  1. The materials that compose the seat (plastics, fabrics, webbing, etc.) all degrade over a period of time due to environmental factors, such as sunlight and heat.
  2. Car seat manufacturers have the ability to perform “life cycle testing” in an environmental chamber. This chamber allows us to perform tests replicating an expected life span of the seat. Several factors come into play during this life cycle testing, including the materials the seat is made from, the process by which the seat was made, the design of the seat, and the size and weight of the child using the seat. Without an expiration date, a car seat would be good forever; however, it would be impossible for a car seat manufacturer to test a car seat and guarantee that it will work forever.
  3. A car seat has to meet government standards that are in place at the time the seat is manufactured. These safety standards are constantly changing as new research is conducted and new technologies are developed – in fact, they’ve changed multiple times in the past ten years. Therefore, a car seat that was manufactured ten years ago and met the government’s requirements ten years ago may not meet the safety standards that we have in place today. A car seat that is manufactured with reasonably current technology will provide the best level of safety available.
A car seat usually only has a life span of 5-6 years. So the next time you're cleaning out the car make sure you look on the bottom of the seat so you know the expiration date.

Once we discovered his seat was expired I knew I wanted a Britax seat with the ClickTight installation.  We often need to switch out car seats when my parents take the kids and being able to install them properly and quickly is important and this new installation takes care of both things. Plus it's Grandparent approved!

The key for me is keeping the kids in a 5-point harness for as long as I possibly can, but not making them feel like their in a baby seat. The Frontier is the perfect Harness to Booster for ages 2 & 25 lbs up to 90 lbs. It's got safety first and foremost with a sleek design and the cup-holders are a huge hit.

I love the ease of adjust ability to this seat.  You can easily move the harness shoulder and head height and extra bonus you don't need to thread the straps though.  This is great because now both kids want to sit in this so with a quick click I can raise the straps for Eleanor or lower them for Camden.
The installation was a breeze taking me all of 5 minutes, and I never worried that I wasn't doing it right or that it wouldn't be tight enough.  So many car seats aren't installed correctly and the parents or grandparents have no idea.  There shouldn't be wiggle room on a car seat, we want our babies safe and this seat helps to ensure just that with really being able to "get in" and tighten straps.

I also love how durable, soft and padded the fabric feels.  I don't have to worry about taking the whole thing apart to clean it because you can easily remove the cover to wash the seat.  I know I keep saying it's so easy, but it really is.

If you're a  parent who spends a lot of time with your kids in the car than I suggest you take a look at your current seats to make sure they aren't expired and look into the Britax Frontier 90 for ages 2 and up.  It's going to change how you think about car seats and make your little ones safe and happy!

Disclosure:  I was not compensated for this post but did receive a product for review.  As always all opinions are my own.





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Sunday, September 14, 2014

Satisfaction on USA - #Sponsored

I was recently asked to watch the new provocative drama Satisfaction and wow talk about a story to get lost in.   It's a new drama from Universal Cable Productions (UCP) on USA Network Thursdays at 10/9c and it's quite risky and steamy, which makes for my kind of TV!


The show focuses on a couple, Neil Truman (Matt Passmore) and his wife, Grace (Stephanie Szostak) who have been happily married for 18 years and have made some interesting and shocking choices.  The big question this show prompts “What do you do when having it all is not enough?”

This show is addicting, so make sure you grab of a bottle of wine and some popcorn before you start watching. While it's not something that mirrors my life personally I love knowing that this could be happening. Plus I do feel a little more zen after watching and thankful for the relationship I do have with my husband.

You can get caught up on this naughty and fun series Online at http://www.usanetwork.com/satisfaction/videos/, Hulu, iTunes and via On-Demand.  It's binge watching at it's best and I suggest you do so before the finale this Thursday, September 18th.

Are you a Satisfaction watcher?  Do you hope the finale leaves us hanging or answering some questions?  No matter what the outcome I know I'll be tuned in Thursday to see what happens.

Disclosure:  I was compensated for this post but as always all opinions are my own.
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Thursday, September 4, 2014

Como Zoo & Cafesjian's Carousel

There's a wonderful zoo in the St. Paul area that we visit every time we come out to MN.  Como Zoo is small but we love all they offer and the fact they are a suggested donation ($3 Adults, $2 children).

We spent a day exploring the zoo, hanging with the grandparents and giving the kids a treat of riding rides at Como Town.
The Frogger was our unexpected fun since we weren't sure how Camden would do, but he loved it and Eleanor was quite the adventurer with holding her hands high. 

My favorite thing was getting to ride Cafesjian's carousel with Eleanor.  I am a huge fan of riding carousels where ever we go, and I can say this one is amazing.  It just celebrated it's 100th birthday and I didn't want it to end. They gave a brief lesson before the ride talking about the wood horses and how they worked to restore them.  They also had a lot of history around to see and read which I really appreciated.  This is a must ride for any carousel lover and the cost is only $2 per person. 

Do you have a favorite zoo or carousel in your town?  I would love to hear about them.




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Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Minnesota State Fair- 2014

When we decided to go to Minnesota this summer one thing was certain we wanted to go when the Minnesota State Fair was going on. Also know as "The Great Minnesota Get Together" this fair is awesome.

We all know that a State Fair is about food and the MN fair is one for the books.  Each year there's a new "food on a stick" and tons of repeat favorites.  Between 8 adults, 2 kids and a baby (no food for her) we managed to have 27 different things.
Here's our list and some photos of what we ate and enjoyed!
Sweet Martha's Cookies, Deep fried pickles, French fries (twice), Cheese curds, Foot long hot dog (that Mike refused to share!) Pretzel curds, Pizza on a stick, Pizza tots, Poutine!!!!!!!!!! (this is cheesecurds, french fries and gravy) Mini donut, Carmel Apple ice cream, Mini donut beer, Pretzels...
Beer, Pretzel dog, Korean pork with Kimchee pickles, Chocolate malt (2), Chocolate/mint malt, Deep fried buckeyes, Beer gelato, Pizza, Root beer, All you can drink chocolate milk (3 rounds of this for Eleanor alone), Lemonade and Coca-Cola!

There was also the taste test of the Pronto Pup vs. Corn dog.  I had never heard of a Pronto Pup prior to coming to MN but to give you an idea it's like a corn dog except it's flour based.  We took a group vote and it's was Pronto Pup- 2 Corn Dog - 6.  I personally am a Corn Dog fan and Mike is a Pronto Pup one; which tells a lot about us!

Who can forget about the agriculture delights and smells of the fair.  We were able to visit the Moo Booth, where I got an Expert ribbon on my cow knowledge. Hang out with some pigs and even got to see a baby lamb be born in the Miracle of Birth Center. Plus Eleanor saw her 1st butter head.  It was quite a day. 
We also hung out in some tractors, I tried to win a car from Ford, and the "kids" got to ride the giant slide.  Plus we ate more food.

The best part of the fair to me was getting to spend the entire day eating, laughing, eating, dancing, eating, learning, eating and enjoying the kids 1st MN State Fair experience.  The only thing I have to say is what will we eat next year?!

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