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Category: gearing up for baby

  1. Thursday, April 26, 2012

    Gearing Up For Baby: Stroller and Car Seat Update

    It’s been a while since I’ve done a Gearing Up For Baby post because, well, I’m not really gearing up anymore! Baby is here and we are in the groove! (P.S. How is he 7 months old already? Oh my…)

    I do want to do a quick update on the strollers and car seats that I reviewed before Owen was born. Thought it would be nice to let you know how they’ve been working when used with, you know, an actual baby.

    I LOVE the Orbit Baby travel system. Hands down best travel system I’ve ever used, and I’ve used quite a few. Owen and I took a trip to Utah a few months ago and I decided to take the Maxi Cosi travel system on the trip instead since it was smaller. While I had been enjoying using the Orbit system up until that point, it wasn’t until I used another system that I realized just how awesome the Orbit really is.

    Here are my follow-up thoughts on both systems.

    Orbit Baby

    • The soft handle is even greater than I thought it would be. It makes carrying the car seat sooooo much easier. It’s also super easy to flip up and down – no buttons to push. Love it.
    • The rotating base of the car seat is so handy for so many reasons. I could tell it would be, but now that I use it daily, it really is a fabulous feature.
    • The paparazzi shield is also really great. Use it all the time.
    • The sidekick skateboard for Anna is perfect. Again, use it all the time. She loves it, I love it. And it looks like a real skateboard, which makes it ultra cool.
    • The car seat is heavy. For sure. But all the other stuff makes up for it. And, again, the soft handle makes all the difference. I would much rather carry this heavier car seat with the flexible handle than a lighter one with a hard handle…because, let’s face it, car seats feel heavy no matter what.
    • Warning: If you use this system, people will talk to you. ALL THE TIME. I am not exaggerating when I say that every single time I use the car seat and stroller base in public, people either ask me about it or I overhear them talking about it. I really truly am not exaggerating. I even did a 10 minute demo for a couple at the mall last week. So, if you are not a natural extrovert, look at the stroller as a way to hone those skills! 😉
    • Orbit just came out with a toddler car seat that fits into the infant car seat base so you can continue to have the rotation benefit. Very cool – I’m telling you that rotation feature makes life so much easier. And the Double Helix stroller is coming out this fall. They’ll even have an upgrade kit for people like me who already have the single stroller so you can turn it into a double.

    Maxi Cosi

    • I love the Mila stroller. I use it now in place of my Maclaren. It folds and unfolds easily, doesn’t take up much space, it has the most user-friendly brake system on a stroller that I’ve ever seen, the storage area is big and easy to access (hasn’t been a problem having the access point in the front, which I had wondered about), and it can stand on its own when folded. It is a great stroller!
    • When the car seat is attached to the stroller, it actually feels a little wobbly. I’m not worried about its safety at all, it’s just, well, wobbly.
    • The car seat is fine. Pretty standard. It’s nice and light, which is probably my favorite feature. Everything else about the car seat is pretty basic and similar to other brands.

    If you are looking at travel systems in the Orbit price range, I highly recommend the Orbit. I have enjoyed using it so much and it really has made life a lot easier in so many ways! The Maxi Cosi is in a lower price range and is a nice system…definitely a good option and I like it MUCH better than the Peg Perego system I had with Anna. That said…I heart Orbit 4ever.

    Links to my original posts about these travel systems, which have more information about the various features:

    Links to the manufacturer’s websites:

    I received both of these travel systems from the respective companies for free to review on the site. I was not compensated monetarily. Even though the systems were given to me, all opinions are my own and I was at liberty to say what I thought about the products, positive or negative.

  2. Friday, January 20, 2012

    Gearing Up for Baby: Rockin’ Baby Sling {and Giveaway!}

    This giveaway is now closed. Thanks! BUT…keep reading because this is a cool baby sling!

    It’s been a while since I have done a Gearing Up for Baby post…but I still have a baby and I’m still trying out lots of cool gear! Today I wanted to share a nifty sling that I discovered…and of course host a giveaway!

    I wanted some sort of pouch or sling for when Owen was born. I did a quick search on Cool Mom Picks (which is also where I first discovered the Orbit travel system), and both Liz and Kristen had only glowing things to say about the Rockin’ Baby pouch. So, I got on the horn (okay, I sent an email, but how long has it been since you said “got on the horn”…I couldn’t resist) to Rockin’ Baby to see if I could try out their pouch and do a giveaway…and they happily obliged!

    This pouch is very cool. There are zippers in the back that make it easy to adjust to the right size and it’s easy to get on and off. I don’t know about you, but other slings are intimidating to me, with yards of fabric to contend with. This pouch is simple and to the point. If you do like a more traditional sling, however, Rockin’ Baby has those, too! 

    I think my favorite part of Rockin’ Baby is their ONE FOR ONE business model, similar to Tom’s shoes. Every time someone buys a sling, Rockin’ Baby gives one to a mother in Haiti and educates those mothers on the impact a sling can have in their lives. Kathryn Wiley, who purchased the Rockin’ Baby business last year, bought the company because she loved the product and she had the lovely vision to evolve the business into a Mother to Mother model in order to help mothers in need. It’s a cool story and I love supporting Kathryn and her vision!

    Giveaway time! If you would like one of these cool pouches, just leave a comment by Midnight PT on Wednesday, January 25. If you have are expecting or have a baby, you’ll love it! If you don’t, this would make for a pretty sweet baby gift! So, get commenting! One randomly-selected winner will be announced on Thursday, January 26. Good luck!

  3. Thursday, September 29, 2011

    Gearing Up for Baby Giveaway: Matthew Kate Kids’ Clothes

    This giveaway is now closed – thank you!

    First off, before you think I’m Wonder Woman or something, I’m not. I wrote this post days before Owen was born, knowing I would be out of it this week. Since I am in baby lala land right now, I have another cute Gearing Up for Baby giveaway for you!

    A good friend of mine from years ago (before either of us had kids!) has started a super cute company and I’m happy to share it with you today! Her company Matthew Kate sells clothes for kids that mark their birthday milestones. Jessica sent my girls each “3 Years” and “6 Years” t-shirts last year and they LOVE them. She also sent me the “Oh What a Year!” baby boy shirt set that I can’t wait to use. Might have to do something like this with our little guy using the shirts!

    Matthew Kate is giving away a baby set to one of you lucky people and the winner can choose either Boy or Girl! If you have a baby, you’ll love it…and if you don’t, this makes a GREAT baby gift! Same drill as always…just leave a comment on this post. Please post comments by Midnight PT on Monday, October 3. Winner will be announced on Tuesday, October 4.

    Good luck!

  4. Tuesday, September 20, 2011

    Gearing Up for Baby Giveaway: Dillon Rogers Jewelry

    This giveaway is now closed. Thank you!

    I am SUPER excited about today’s giveaway. Really, really excited. Which is good, since Cate broke her arm last night and has to go under anesthesia today for a procedure to re-align the bone…so, I’m actually not feeling super excited about much right now and really hoping Baby Boy stays in for a few more days! Send happy, healthy vibes our way today! Back to the fun stuff…

    Some of you may remember back in the day I received my most favorite necklace ever from Dillon Rogers (which will soon be updated with a third disc with a yet-to-be-determined boy name!). We held a giveaway and one lucky person walked away with a necklace of her own (she was equally as ecstatic about it as I was). Dillon Rogers recently contacted me about a new product that I think just might end up being my new favorite necklace. They were generous enough to send me one and agreed to another giveaway. Woo-hoo!

    So, this is the new product: “My Child’s Signature” leather necklaces. How cute are these? Seriously! All you do is send in a photo or scan of your child’s handwriting and they imprint it on the leather. My girls are just as enamored with the necklace as I am. When I wear it, they both look at it constantly (and Cate is always putting her name in front of Anna’s, which is funny).

    This is how I’m wearing mine…both tags on one silver chain.

    Giveaway time! One of you lucky people will receive a $125 gift certificate to Dillon Rogers! You can spend it on one of these adorable signature leather necklaces, or anything else you like! (As much as I love my new necklace, the silver disc necklace will always be my fave!) To enter, simply leave a comment on this post by Midnight PT on Tuesday, September 27. Winner will be announced on Wednesday, 9/28. Good luck! And big thank you to Dillon Rogers for such a fun giveaway!

  5. Friday, September 16, 2011

    Gearing Up for Baby: Maxi Cosi Car Seat & Stroller

    I have another car seat and stroller review for you, and it’s another product that broke me out of the Babies-R-Us-store-wandering rut. Maxi Cosi was generous enough to provide me with their Mico infant car seat and their Mila stroller (which works with the car seat) to try out and let you know what I think. This system is on the affordable side of the spectrum, which I think most of us greatly appreciate, and I’m excited to share it with you!

    First impressions – things I’m liking a lot:

    • The system looks cool and there are good color choices. I know, looks aren’t everything, but I do appreciate it when a company realizes that just because a kid might like Winnie the Pooh doesn’t meant the parents are going to want to make a Pooh statement everywhere they go!

    • I love the fact that this stroller is quite compact, similar to the Maclaren that I love so much, but you can also use it with the infant car seat! And, once you’re done with the car seat, you can use this stroller up to 50 pounds. Great versatility, you get your money’s worth.
    • The brake system is super easy to use. I actually am really loving this feature. To brake, push the button on the back right wheel with your foot, to un-brake, push the button on the left wheel. (Works better than my Maclaren’s brake system by a long shot.)
    • When the stroller is folded, it can stand upright. I really like this feature a lot.

    • Large basket underneath for storage.
    • Folding and unfolding the stroller is easy, and you can either push the release in the back with your foot or pull a handle.
    • Car seat is lightweight, which is nice when lugging baby around, and there is side-impact protection.
    • Stroller comes with a rain shield.
    On first pass, here are the things I don’t love:
    • Easiest access to the storage is through the front of the stroller – would prefer if the access was from the back.
    • No tray by the handles to put stuff. There is a cup holder and a pocket in the canopy, so at least there’s something up top for keeping a few little items. No tray for the kids, either.
    • Typical small stroller wheels. I like my wheels bigger so I can go off-roading! 😉


    Jury’s still out:
    • You can’t adjust handle height, but the handles aren’t too short and you do not kick the wheels when strolling, so it may not be a big deal.
    • Canopies on the stroller and the car seat seem like they’re a decent size, but want to use them to see if they really do cover enough.
    After we use this with the baby a bit, we’ll let you know what we think, so stay tuned!

  6. Tuesday, September 13, 2011

    Gearing Up for Baby: Orbit Stroller Travel System G2

    Each time we get pregnant, at some point I realize we need an infant car seat and stroller. So I head to Babies R Us and end up feeling completely overwhelmed and frozen with indecision.When I was pregnant with Cate, almost all the car seats and travel systems were UGLY. (Remember the plaid phase?) So, I’ll admit, I pretty much selected our travel system based on looks. We ended up buying an Eddie Bauer Vector stroller (three-wheel style) and car seat. It was actually really easy to use – easy to fold the stroller, easy to snap the car seat in and out of both the car base and the stroller, and the large wheels made for easy strolling over all kinds of terrain. But the back wheels were so wide it drove me bonkers when I went to any stores. When Cate grew out of the system, I sold it and for almost the same amount I bought it for. (Note, they don’t make this system anymore.)

    For Anna, I bought a used Peg Perego system (it was practically new, great condition). I had a few friends who literally gushed over their Peg Perego car seats and strollers, so I thought I would love it. And I didn’t. AT ALL. In fact, the whole time we used it I was wishing I still had the old Eddie Bauer system. It was nearly impossible to snap the car seat into the stroller without a major struggle, it was not very easy snapping it into the base in the car, and folding and un-folding the stroller was a pain in the patootie. I didn’t even bother selling that one, I just gave it away.

    Enter pregnancy #3. With no car seat or stroller in sight, I was going to just get the Graco Metrolite or Chicco systems, keep things simple. But then I decided it would be fun to do a review or two on the blog and actually try out some strollers and car seats that I would want to use, based on research. Today I’m reviewing the Orbit Baby travel system, a high-end product that I am sooooo excited to have. Later this week I’ll review a travel system in a lower price-range and let you know how they compare.

    As I was editing DailyBuzz Moms one day, I came across this review of the Orbit travel system. I had never heard of Orbit and was immediately intrigued, especially when the title of the post included the words “life-changing.” I contacted Orbit and thankfully they decided to work with me. Yippee! They provided me with a Stroller Travel System G2 to review and use with our new baby. Orbit is based in the Bay Area, so I had the chance to meet them at their offices, where they gave me a tour of my new travel system.

    First impression – parents designed this system. There are so many little things that only a parent would have thought of that are incorporated into the design. To name a few:

    • Easy to fold and unfold the stroller base.

    • Soft carrier handle on the car seat…it is so much more comfortable to carry on your arm!
    • Paparazzi shield built into the canopy – no more trying to get a blanket to stay in the right spot when you want baby covered.
    • You don’t have to remove the straps from the car seat to remove the cover for washing. Love this feature.

    • You can rotate the car seat on the stroller base and the car base. This feature ROCKS. It’s handy when using the stroller to be able to choose which direction you want the baby to face, but it’s especially handy with taking the baby in and out of the car. You can click it in whatever way it lands and then rotate it to the proper position, or you can just leave the car seat in the car and turn it to face you to put the baby in. It’s pretty much genius.

    • Side impact protection on the car seat.
    • Babies can use this car seat up to 30 pounds, and, from what I can tell, there appears to be ample room for baby to still be comfortable up to that weight.
    • They used certified green materials.
    • The stroller base folds up compactly.
    • The front wheels can swivel or be locked straight.
    • Handle height on the stroller is adjustable.
    On first pass, here are the things that I don’t love:
    • When you fold the stroller, the handles hit the ground really easily. I think they’re going to get banged up pretty good, but at least the folding process is a snap.
    • The car seat is quite large. When placed in the center of the backseat of our Ford Taurus (yes, we drive a wicked-cool Ford Taurus), it stands very tall, making it hard for me to see the girls on the sides. There is still plenty of room for the girls, it’s just really tall, blocking visibility for me.
    One thing the jury is still out for me on:
    • The storage space under the stroller is removable, so you can pack it up in your house, carry it around, etc. I think I’m going to like this feature because I do believe it’s hard to stuff things under strollers in general. It’s really easy to remove the pod and put it back on the base. But I’m still wondering if it will really be easier. I’m just going to have to use it to see what I really think!
    Once we’ve used the system for a little while I’ll do a foll0w-up post to let you know how it goes! This system is on the expensive side but, like a luxury car, it really does have all the bells and whistles that make life easy and comfortable. I am super excited to use the system and will keep you posted on how we like it!
    Orbit provided me with their Stroller Travel System G2, but all opinions expressed in this post are my own.

  7. Friday, September 9, 2011

    Little Man Baby Shower…and DELICIOUS Recipes

    On Tuesday night my friends threw me a baby shower. Even though I told them not to. Because it’s my third child. But they insisted. Because we’re having a boy and we need boy things (which is true). And because they are great friends. And, I must admit, I’m so happy I gave into their shower entreaties. The party was beyond adorable, the food was amazing, and, most importantly, I got to spend an evening with a beautiful group of women I am so grateful to know and count as friends.

    But enough with the sappy stuff. I have to show you how ridiculously cute this shower was. I actually don’t have tons of pictures because it was dark, so they do not convey the total cuteness that was the shower. But believe me, everything looked fabulous.

    There were moustaches and bow ties all over the place.

    And the food. Ah, the food. Again, no great photos, but believe me when I tell you it was all beautiful and tasted even better than it looked.

    The inspiration for the Little Man Shower came from this blog post on ReMarkable Home. (If you click through, you can get the templates for everything and see how to put it all together!) Our friend Courtney discovered the post and shared it with my friend Natalee, who spearheaded my shower. Courtney is good at finding great stuff online. The girl has 53 boards on Pinterest, for Pete’s sake.

    Thank you to my wonderful friends Wendy, Amy, Mindy, Sarah, Natalee and Ana (and Angie, not pictured, who did the flowers). You ladies orchestrated an evening I will never forget and helped welcome Baby Boy Maynard into the world with style!

    Click more to see some fabulous recipes from the shower!

    (>> Find out more…)

  8. Wednesday, September 7, 2011

    Gearing Up for Baby Giveaway: Epiphanie Bags

    This giveaway is now closed. However, you really still need to go check out these bags. They rock.

    I am SO excited about today’s giveaway. Have you heard of Epiphanie Bags? They are camera bags that look like regular purses. Well, actually, there’s nothing “regular” about these bags. They are TOO CUTE. Really, go look.

    What does a camera bag have to do with gearing up for baby, you may be wondering? Well, I am going to be getting the Ginger bag (thank you, Epiphanie!), which will be serving as my camera-slash-diaper bag. And I am seriously giddy for the day that it arrives in the mail. Because I have kids and because I am a food blogger, I LOVE having my SLR camera with me, but I hate dragging around my camera bag in addition to my purse. (Plus, my camera bag has no alibi…because it’s U-G-L-Y.) So…I usually end up throwing my beloved camera in my purse or diaper bag, which honestly is not the smartest thing in the world. I shouldn’t be allowed to have a nice camera treating it the way I do.

    Ginger is going to be my solution. I only ever carry at most 1 extra lens around (if that), so I’ll have plenty of room for my wallet and diapers and other baby “schtuff,” and the adjustable velcro panels inside will be perfect for compartmentalizing. Plus the Ginger has lots of pockets. I’m a big fan of pockets in purses.

    And, yes, this is a giveaway! One lucky, randomly-selected winner will get to choose their own Epiphanie bag to keep! Same drill as always…just post a comment and you’re entered to win! Comments must be added to this post by Midnight on Monday, September 12. Winner will be announced on September 13. Prize must be shipped within the U.S.

    So, get commenting and good luck!!

  9. Friday, September 2, 2011

    ‘Gearing Up for Baby’ Has Begun! Plus…The List

    Today marks the kick-off of Gearing Up for Baby on This Week for Dinner! With my due date just over 2 weeks away, I am in major nesting and preparation mode. I thought it would be fun to share some of that with you…and maybe throw in a few REALLY cute giveaways along the way. Besides, I’m not cooking anything very exciting right now, so I gotta give you something to read on this here blog!

    Don’t worry, I’ll still get the weekly menus up and we’ll still talk some food for the next few weeks, but there will also be lots of other fun stuff mixed in. I’m even going to do some car seat and stroller reviewing because I think that is one of the hardest things to buy! I have years of good and bad experiences, so hopefully it will be helpful for a few of you. (Teaser: Orbit Baby provided me with their G2 Travel System to review…I received it yesterday…it’s amazing…but more on that later…)

    To kick everything off, I have a gift for you. Something that, until now, only went to a few close friends. But I’ve decided it’s time that this something make a public appearance, and that something is The List.

    My sister-in-law Jessica and I were pregnant with our first babies at the same time. Cate came first, so I was the guinea pig in the “new mom” department. Not long after Cate was born, Jess called me on the phone and said, “Okay, now that you’ve had the baby, what stuff do I really need to get?” We spent a good amount of time talking, with Jess dutifully typing away. That was how The List was born.

    The List is meant to be a guide…all babies and moms are different! That said, it’s a good jumping-off point for figuring out what baby supplies you need. I know it’s been helpful for a lot of my friends, and I actually was very grateful to have it myself when it was time to get ready for Baby #3!

    Click here to see The List!

    And, as always, please leave comments if you have your own baby shopping list advice!