Storksak Diaper Bag Giftcard Giveaway!

If you are a MomMe-to-Be in the market for a Diaper Bag (or a MomMe who is looking for a new bag) you will fall in love with Storksak, the maker of the beautiful but functional diaper bags that look more like high end designer purses.  Storksak’s diaper bags are so fashionable and stylish, Club MomMe personally knows several women that proudly tote their Storksak about town and they do not even have children!

Not only do stylish MomMes proudly carry their Storksak on their arm or display it on their baby pram using stroller clips (okay, I could not help but throwing in a hint of proper British terminology because Storksak is an English company after all!), but celebrities cannot get enough of Storksak.  Let me state that again.  Celebrities really love Storksak.

The postercard for modern mommyhood herself Miss Angelina Jolie (though Brad has finally put a ring on it, so not for long!) has been spotted globetrotting with her not one, but two Storksak Diaper Bags by her side (the chocolate Gigi Bag and the black Emily bag). Not only does Angie like Storksak, but so does her husband Brad, who is often seen carrying their bags around!  I guess there is something in the water in the Jolie-Pitt household (and whatever it is, can my future kids get just 1/10 of their kid’s lips please?).

In their Annual Buyer’s Guide, Fit Pregnancy Magazine just included the Storksak Sofia Nylon Bag as a must-buy for moms-to-be.  Other celebrities who love their Storksak include Jessica Alba, Julia Roberts, Katie Holmes, Rebecca Gayheart and Liv Tyler.

You can say that Storksak is the diaper bag to carry in Los Angeles.  I get stopped constantly from moms asking who makes my Olivia Storksag Diaper Bag (I love the black one!) and where they can buy it. I love getting excited text and email messages a few days later from mommy friends sharing that they too are now the proud owners of a Storksak bag like my own Storksak Olivia diaper bag.

To welcome our MomMes-to-Be to Storksak, we are giving away a $150 gift card to purchase the Storksak bag of your choice!  You read that right, instead of just giving away a particular Storksak bag in a color of our choosing, you get to choose the bag and color that best suits your personality and strolling needs.

Make sure to design a Storksak Diaper Bag Board on Pinterest for some MomMe fun and the best chance to win!  Then head on over to Storksak.com to dream up the bag of your choice.  You can display it proudly on your arm at our Bump Beauty & Style event where we will again be giving out another Storksak giftcard to one lucky MomMe-to-Be!

To enter click here

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Chatting with Pregnancy Awareness Founders Anna Getty and Alisa Donner

Today we are speaking with Anna Getty and Alisa Donner, Founds of Pregnancy Awareness Month.  PAM was established in 2008 to empower, inspire, and build a community of support for expectant women and their families.

Celebrating their fifth year this year, PAM kicks off with a huge event in Los Angeles on May 6, 2012 at the Skirball Cultural Center featuring Abby Epstein from the Business of Being Born, Dr. Alan Greene, a renown pediatrician and author, Christopher Gavigan, Founder/Chief Product Officer of the Honest Company and former CEO/Executive Director of Healthy Child, Healthy World and several others.  The Los Angeles event will feature a performance by Lisa Loeb, and hosted by Anna Getty, Catherine McCord, Lisa Loeb and Josie Maran.

The appeal of Pregnancy Awareness spread organically throughout the country, and there are licensed PAM events throughout the month of May from San Diego to New York City, including two Club MomMe events in Los Angeles!

What inspired you to create Pregnancy Awareness Month®?  Inspiring women to make conscious, conscientious, holistic, and educated decisions; moving into motherhood gracefully, powerfully and also confidently.

How has the concept changed from the way it was first envisioned? The concept hasn’t changed, but how we deliver the message has.  Social Media moved us into a new world of connecting and communicating. It has been incredibly fun to meet women on Facebook and Twitter and connect on the topic of pregnancy and being a mom.  It is a wonderful way for moms to inspire and support each other.

Tell us about the marquee event on May 6th.  The PAM 2012 event is the 5th Anniversary celebration of Pregnancy Awareness Month.  This year there will be an emphasis on informative roundtable discussions with a variety of acclaimed experts such as Abbey Epstein Producer of “More Business of Being Born,” Dr. Alan Greene Pediatrician and Author of “Feeding Baby Green” and Ken Cook President and Founder of the Environmental Working Group among many others.  We will also have a “mommy spa” with facials, pregnancy message and lot’s of pampering.  Pregnancy style maven Amy Tara Koch will be hosting Viacord’s Bump It Up Style lounge with one on one fashion make-overs and tips.  For entertainment Lisa Loeb will be performing some songs from her kids book and CD “SILLY SING-ALONG The Disappointing Pancake and Other Zany Songs.”  For the kids, Ladybug Jane and her eco-friendly kids activities and of course, many product booths to discover all the amazing resources out there for pregnant mothers and newborns!

When did you start offering licensed PAM events in various locations throughout the United States?  Our first licensed PAM events were three years ago, and we had three licensed events.  This year there will be over 20 events! How do the licensed events they help serve the message of PAM? Besides spreading the message of Pregnancy Awareness Month® thru events and gatherings, PAM aims to help create community.  The licensed events help to bring the message to people in their own communities with their own twist.  It is a grassroots effort that is both effective and fun.  It is exciting to see women all over the country being inspired to do this, to find something meaningful to them and want to share it.  It’s a reminder that the idea of motherhood, pregnancy, and birthing lies within each and every woman.  It is helping to revive that knowingness.

How is it working together?  We chose to work together because we did before and enjoyed it.  We bring different strengths to the table.  It is ever evolving.  We organically move thru challenges and have the foundation of a strong friendship at its core.  We share the same vision.

What advice do you have to other moms who want to start their own business?  The current economy is very different than when we started.   Look at partnering with people that are established and see what you can offer them.  We connected to each other, and then reached out to our network of contacts. Take the time to think it your business strategy out and create the community in your business first before you launch. Trust and believe in the power of the social network community, but understand it, and think of how what you do can benefit others not only how their work can benefit yours.

How do you balance work, your family and your relationships?  We don’t.  We think about it, we strive for it, and we forgive ourselves.  We don’t sacrifice in a significant way, but when we get balanced, we will let you know.

What is your favorite part of being a mom?  What about being pregnant?  One of Anna’s favorite things is seeing the world through her children’s eyes.  It is amazing to share the joy as they experience the world. For Alisa being a mom and being pregnant were all about connection, connecting to her strength as a woman, to the power of the creation of life, and now the connection to her daughter and creating the structure of a family.

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Girl In Progress Advance Screening Giveaway!

Club MomMe is giving away SIX tickets to see an advanced screening of Girl In Progress featuring Eva Mendes this Friday April 20th at 10 am in Santa Monica.  The movie screening will be followed by a Q&A session with the Director Patricia Riggen and lunch.  Parking is complimentary.

To watch a trailor of the movie click here

About the movie: Grace (Eva Mendes) is a single mom. She is too busy juggling work, bills, and the very married Dr. Hartford (Matthew Modine), to give her daughter, Ansiedad (Cierra Ramirez) the attention she desperately needs. When Ansiedad’s English teacher, Ms. Armstrong (Patricia Arquette), introduces her students to classic coming-of-age stories, Ansiedad is inspired to skip adolescence and jump-start her life without mom. While Grace becomes preoccupied with the increasing affections of her co-worker (Eugenio Derbez), Ansiedad enlists the help of her loyal friend, Tavita (Raini Rodriguez), to plot her shortcut to “adulthood”. But as her misguided plan unravels, Ansiedad and Grace must learn that sometimes growing-up means acting your age.

To enter click here: http://clubmomme.com/contests/2012/4/15/girl-in-progress-advanced-screening-ticket-giveaway-1.html

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Happy Spring – Let’s Clean!

Today is the first official day of spring and what better way to celebrate than by doing a bit of spring cleaning during naptime. I confess that I am a Martha Stewart fanatic (gasp) and usually follow this checklist for my spring cleaning ritual. This year it’s a bit different now that H-Man is around so I’ve created my own spring cleaning checklist just for him. In the ideal world I would do this every week, but as all MomMe’s know there just isn’t enough time in a day.

  • Stroller: Strip stroller down to the frame or base being sure to remove all fabric and plastic parts. Clean the stroller base with an eco and stroller friendly product such as EcoSTORE USA’s all purpose cleaner or check out Buggy Love’s cleaning kit. Check your stroller manufacturer’s suggestions for washing fabric pieces and take extra care of fabric involving velcro.
  • Crib: Pull out the travel crib (or pack and play) and let your little one nap in their for the day while you air out the crib mattress and wash the crib skirt. Be sure to wip down the grime that has accumulated on the crib with a germ killing product that is safe for your little one. Check your manufacturer’s instructions on which products are safe to use on your crib. Certain products are not safe for particular furniture finishes (if you could only see my coffee table)!
  • Plush Toys: Wash plush toys on delicate cycle in washing machine and allow to air dry. Remember to use laundry detergent that is non-toxic, such as EcoSTORE USA’s laundry liquid (see note below about EcoSTORE USA’s products). Your child will inevitably be putting these toys back in his mouth.
  • Plastic Toys: Remove all batteries from plastic toys (yes I admit we do have a few battery operated toys and they are not sold by Melissa and Doug), spray toys with a non-toxic and child friendly cleaner, and wipe down toys. We use the same all purpose cleaner from EcoSTORE USA as we use on our stroller. After cleaning we repeat the process using a spray bottle filled with water and dry with a cloth before the toy chewing begins all over again.

EcoSTORE USA is an amazing line of plant based products that are natural and safe for your child. Please take a moment to support them in bringing their baby shampoo to the shelves by clicking here or by texting 5413 to 383838. Thank you for your support!

 

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Shopping By Subscription, It’s How A Modern Mommy Shops

In the magical world of babies, certain trends seem to be so pervasive that a new one seems to be popping up every week.  Picture the Groupon-lites that offer daily deals on everything from children’s clothing to toys, mommy and me classes and now even family trips.

One of the newest entries into this category taking over the baby world are subscription services.  They offer everything from diapers and wipes, products for your home, clothes and more.  You know something has caught on when the New York Times writes, “selling products by subscription is all of the rage.”

Honest Company Products for Mom and BabyFor parents, these subscriptions offer time-saving solutions that cut down on the product overload and ensure that you never run out of must-have items.  Another great feature of these services is that they offer you the chance to try out something that you might not normally select in a store or add to your cart online.  Just as CSA produce baskets encourage you to try new produce, these services introduce you to new products that just might transform your ability to clean your home in an eco-friendly fashion.

Amazon has experimented in this category with its ‘Subscribe & Save‘ feature that provides a discount for items shipped every month, two, three or four.  As a pioneer in the Amazon Mom program (and one who is very disappointed with their decision to terminate the program along with Diaper.com’s decision Friday 3/16 to end their Take 5 $5 Off Diaper Loyalty Program), I am a huge fan of the ability to get diapers delivered to my door without having to leave the house or even remember that I need diapers. The biggest problem that I have with the Amazon program is that there is not an option to have delivery more often than once a month.  I mean, what new parent only buys diapers once a month?

These subscriptions services are a great baby shower present for moms-to-be, and many are available as gifts in one, three and even six month increments!  Need just the right book, well there is a service for that.  Are you a crafty mama?  There is a subscription for you called Whimsy Box.   If you are lucky enough to be able to afford raising a baby in New York there is a program that provides organic baby food direct from farms to baby even!

Stroller Traffic just featured a fantastic overview of some of these new subscription programs.  But just remember, as the New York Times article pointed out, the reason these subscriptions programs came into being was so attract a consistent revenue stream for companies that they can rely on every month.  So while they may seem attractive and time saving, they may also lure you into spending money that you may otherwise not have spent.

As someone who absolutely loves to shop for anything under the sun, be it walking the aisles at Target (you can find me there whenever I am having a bad day, the store cheers me up) or a new pair of Tory Burch flats, I love to shop.  Starting from the age of 0, my mom took me to the grocery store and everywhere else with her, so I have a natural affinity for selecting bell peppers and greeting cards for friends.  For this reason, most of the subscription services are not for me; I am simply too controlling to let my buying decisions be dictated by anyone else.  They may however work wonderfully for your family and lifestyle, so check them out:

Honest Company:
Subscriptions Offered: Diapers (& Wipes for $79.95/month) or Family Essentials (for $39.95/month with a free trial offered)

Citrus Lane:
Subscriptions Offered: Products tailored to your child’s age from clothes to sippy cups (for $25/month)

Good Karma:
Subscriptions Offered: Starting from seven complete outfits plus seven onesies and seven sleepers starting at $49.98 for the ‘basic wardrobe’ to $97.99 for seven onesies, seven sellers and fourteen outfits for the ‘better wardrobe’ (like Hannah Anderson and Polo)

Bluum:
Subscriptions Offered: Deluxe product samples for moms and baby like Mustela (starting from $11/month)

Petitie Box:
Subscriptions Offered: High-end European products for mom and baby debuting soon (for $25/month)

Kiwi Crate:
Subscriptions Offered: Hands-on fun projects for kids ages 3-7 years old ($19.95/month)

Birch Box:
Subscriptions Offered: Four to five deluxe samples for moms delivered per month (for $10/month or $110/year)

WittleBee:
Subscriptions Offered: Customized box of eight to nine items of clothing from both major and boutique clothing brands per month ($39.95/month)

Babbaco:
Subscriptions Offered: An acitivity box based on your child’s age with materials and explanations to engage with your little one arrives once a month for $29.99/month of $299.99/year (two months free)

SparkBox:
Subscriptions Offered: Four or more personalized educational toys available to keep for four weeks or more available by toy type or skill-set ($22.95/month for new toys every 8 weeks, $27.95/month for new toys every 6 weeks and $34.95/month for new toys every 4 weeks with a 14 day free trial)

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Go Green On St. Patrick’s Day

St. Patrick’s Day is one of my favorite holidays. (Let’s clarify that. I love all holidays, but I really like St. Patty’s day a lot!) Irish spirit is exaggerated here in Chicago with the dyeing of the Chicago river and the endless sea of green clothing marching through the Loop today. I’ve hand my handmade St. Patty’s day wreath on my front door for weeks now and it seems that most Chicagoans have already gone green for St. Patrick’s Day too. As much as I love celebrating holidays, we’re going green in a different way today with these eco-friendly tips for MomMe!

1. Hand me downs are hot – Who needs to buy new clothing or toys when sites like thredUP and Swapmamas are exploding. Check out Spark Box and Toygaroo (think Netflix for toys). Go green by trading, bartering or swapping clothes and toys baby outgrows for new ones!

2. Go glass – With hip slip-proof silicone covers from companies such as BornFree, Dr. Brown’s and Coddlelife, using glass bottles has never been easier. And, no more worries about exposing your little one to BPA. Going glass knocks out two birds with one stone.

3. Nix the paper towels: Bring in a little flair in your kitchen by using dish cloths instead of paper towels. Treat yourself to luxurious, soft towels that you can display on your kitchen counter in place of that paper towel holder. Floursack Towels and Dish Cloths by Now Designs are some of my favorite. They durable, large enough to clean up spills and wash well.

4. No plastic bags: In Santa Monica, where my partner Rachel lives, plastic bags are outlawed! Stores only use paper bags or ask you to supply your own reusable totes to haul your groceries. We already use reusable tote bags and I love them. My favorite is my LL Bean Boat and Tote bag. I use it for everything from weekly grocery store runs to an overnight bag for quick weekend trips. It’s versatile, amazing and has a lifetime warranty from LL Bean!

We hope you have a Happy St. Patty’s day tomorrow and may the luck of the Irish be with you!

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An Interview with Krista from Classic Kids Photography Santa Monica/Pasadena (Chief Monkey Wrangler)

Today we are speaking with Krista, the head photographer at Classic Kids Photography in Santa Monica and Pasadena, California.  Krista is a sweet, savvy and very talented photographer who looks like she was born in Los Angeles rather than her native Minnesota.  Club MomMe is so thrilled to be hosting events at Classic Kids Photography and featuring their mini-shoots at many of our events like our upcoming MomMe and Me Tea.

Krista, what inspired you to become a photographer?

I have always had a passion for art and the creative process; photography was something that came naturally to me and I really enjoyed growing up. I received my first camera in elementary school (a Polaroid which I was absolutely obsessed with) and became hooked. I first started taking pictures of flowers in our front yard and after mastering the art of working with still subjects, moved on to snapping photos of my small cousins.

Did you study photography in college?

I actually studied Communications with a minor in Photography, hoping to one day become a photojournalist. Little did I know that my true calling was to be a children’s photographer! Shortly after college I moved to Minneapolis and worked as a data analyst by day and waitress by night to make ends meet.  As one would expect, I soon became restless and yearned for a more creative way to make a living. That’s when I came across a job ad looking for a “Monkey Wrangler” for Classic Kids in San Francisco. I replied immediately with the subject line, “PERFECT!” and the rest is really history!

It seems like you were destined to be a Classic Kids Photographer/Monkey Wrangler!  How long now have you been working at Classic Kids Photography?

Almost five years! My first year with the company was spent assisting and training in our San Francisco studio, after which I relocated to Los Angeles to run Classic Kids Santa Monica. Since that time, I have had the privilege of getting to capture cherished memories for so many families and have also had the chance to see my small subjects grow and change before my eyes. We also recently opened a second LA area studio in Pasadena, which I shoot in a couple of days a week.

What age groups do you like to photograph? Making subjects smile…Newborn…etc

To tell you the truth, I really enjoy working with all age groups! My job is really a combination of photography and psychology, as I’ve really had to discover how to bring the best personality out in age groups from baby all the way to grandparent. There is a certain challenge to each photo shoot that I look forward to. With babies (2 months to a year), you really have to engage with them a bit to figure out what excites them. Some babies are more sensitive than others and prefer just to be spoken to quietly. Other babies get a kick out of loud Peek-A-Boo’s and singing.  It’s really a matter of paying attention from the second a client walks in the door to know what techniques will get the best results in the photos.

Tell us about photographing newborns.

We love to have newborns in the studio at around 5-12 days of age. At this stage, babies will sleep almost the entire shoot and we can really mold them into some amazing positions to showcase how small they are. We always keep the studio very warm and toasty and have plenty of fuzzy blankets on hand so baby is comfy-cozy. We also allow for up to 4 hours for a newborn shoot so that we have plenty of time if baby should need a feeding break or extra time to fall asleep.

How does that differ from photographing toddlers?

With toddlers, having an assistant on hand is always key. Sometimes my assistant will have to pick up the child, wipe drool off their face, set them on the backdrop paper and immediately run behind me to do a “monkey show.” It takes a lot of energy and persistence, but is always worth the hard work when the proofs come in and you get series of amazing shots where the child is truly laughing and engaging with us.

And what about shooting children?

For ages between four and ten years old, I really love to just ask questions to invoke a conversation, as kids tend to be very expressive when talking about things they like. Asking them what they want to be when they grow up is a great starter. I always tend to throw in a couple of silly suggestions for them to get a laugh while they are contemplating their answer.  For some reason the answer “Crocodile dentist” as an option always gets a good chuckle. Or sometimes I tell kids that when I was little I wanted to be a giraffe when I grew up. That answer still makes me laugh, too!

Is it different shooting parents with their kids?

Sometimes our hardest subjects can be the parents, as they don’t always come into the studio feeling confident about being in pictures. The key to this is to have fun with both the kids and the parents. I’m really unafraid of making a fool out of myself to get a natural, happy expression. We never tell our clients to “sit and smile.” We want them to be having fun along with us so that we can get the most natural shots possible.

Lastly, tell us about your favorite moments in a photoshoot.

I have a wonderful client who comes in every year with her young daughter for updated shots and holiday cards. This last year her daughter (who was 7 at the time) requested that Mom leave during the shoot so that we could have our “playdate” together alone. After Mom promptly agreed and went next door to grab a coffee, my sweet little subject said, “I have a secret to tell you.” She made me kneel down and whispered in my ear, “You are my best friend.” My heart absolutely melted and we had so much fun for the rest of the “playdate” as we giggled over girl talk, had a dancing contest and chatted about princesses. Needless to say, the photographs really showed how much fun we had together!

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