Friday, April 30, 2010

big package day

get yer mind outta the gutter. not *that* kind of "big package," fools!

i stopped by our mailbox to pick up a package that i'd been waiting anxiously for. and instead, i found myself the happy recipient of not just one, but FOUR boxes of fun.

i'd seen a great deal from amazon on - okay, you can totally make fun - the wii workout program by jenny mccarthy. instead of using the controllers that sometimes get in the way or bounce around annoyingly in your pocket, this one incorporates a camera that captures your movements and gives you tips on form and technique and stuff. i know it sounds super lame, but i'd read some pretty good reviews from satisfied customers.

and then i found an even better deal on a little kit for making "softie" toys that i'd first seen at paper source. in-store, it was the regular retail price of $25. but amazon had it on clearance for $9 - plus free shipping! score!




the second box was what i'd gone to the mailbox for in the first place. last week, while on a high from fun boys weekend in vegas, the hub had given me the green light to take advantage of saks fifth avenue's "friends and family" discount - 20%! - on the marc jacobs bag i'd been eyeing. i opened the box excitedly:



pushed the packing paper aside:



and squealed at the sight of my fantabulous bag.



but i was a bit alarmed at the sheer size of the thing. i put it on, checked it out, and...



um, it looks like a freaking bookbag on me. and the hub snickered. "you could put the bean IN that bag and still have room for diapers and a couple of changes of clothes. or, hey! next time we go anywhere, you can pack your whole wardrobe in there." oy.

but he was right, dammit. and so i think i'm going to get the last laugh and drag his ass down to newport beach this weekend so i can take it back to saks and exchange it for a different bag. too bad, though, for that 20% off. poo. but still - YAY for new handbag!

i'd also taken advantage of sephora's 15%-off friends and family discount and ordered a couple of necessities that never go on sale. nothing exciting, but i also got some freebie samples that look fun.



lastly, the fourth box yielded a slew of super fantastic new samples for my little stella & dot business. we stylists have anxiously been awaiting the release of the brand-new, super adorable little girls' line, and i'd even gotten up stupid early last friday to place my order. i was anticipating a lot of interest from every s&d stylist around, and i wanted to make sure i got my sample order in before a good chunk of the west coast. that early morning paid off, because i noticed lots of "temporarily backordered"-type messages from home office. not for me!\



look at the sweet, girly packaging of this stuff! and if you want to get a look-see at the whole line, check it out on my site.



i'd also met up with my friend lilcee to discuss invitations for her baby girl's first birthday party, and as always, she had a present for me. look at my new wallet (and these cute little bags that i'll probably never use because i don't want to ruin the cuteness)!



and this came on a different day, but i'm sharing it anyway because it goes with the "fun deliveries" theme. twitter had alerted me of a fun new snack - pretzel m&ms! and they were giving away a limited number of samples. well, you know me - i can never pass up a freebie. i entered my address and clicked on "submit" and forgot all about it.

of course, i saw the treats at the store the other day, picked up a bag, snarfed it down in the blink of an eye, and fell in love. they're really delicious! and a great cure for a crampy day, if you get my drift. i wanted more, visited two separate stores to get my fix, and was dejected to leave empty-handed. but then we hit up the mailbox, and the teen grinned when she pulled this out:



cute, right? and inside the box:



a full-size bag of crunchy, sweet/salty nuggets of happiness! i was so ridiculously happy, the teen didn't even roll her eyes at me and just laughed at my giddiness.

it's the little things, people.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

sporty bean

the bean is rather shy. so we've been doing all sorts of stuff to get her out and about with other kids, like the twice-weekly trips to the library for storytime, gymnastics class, playtime at the park. it takes her a little bit to warm up and get comfy with it all, but she's getting better.

i'd also signed her up with the local parks & rec for a "tiny tots all sorts of sports" class. we had to wait until she was exactly 2.5, and so her session started just this week. with the hub out of town for business yet again, the teen and i took her to her first class here:



as we walked in, the instructor, seated at the check-in table, perked up and said "hi! you must be bean," and handed me a cute little nametag in the shape of a baseball. i must've looked really puzzled, because she added "oh, i know her name because she's the only girl! haha!" aw, damn.

there were a crapload of t-ball stations set up all along one wall. after being told that it was "free play" for the first 5-10 minutes, we headed over to see how the bean would do. i was a bit apprehensive about the whole thing, because she'd picked that day to go all day long without taking a nap, but she got right into it:



i took this for the hub, so he could see the action for himself. and totally off-topic: the iVideoCamera app i bought for my phone has been the best $.99 i've ever spent. seriously, it's so easy - you record, hit "share," and it uploads straight into youtube or flickr or a couple of other sites that i can't remember. if you have an older iPhone like i do and don't want to spend the cash on an upgrade to get the video capabilities, i highly recommend it.


then it was time to gather in the center and do some warm-ups. we started with "airplane arms," twisting and bending with arms straight out like wings, and went into toe touches and stretching. the bean is a cheater and bends her knees, but she'll get it with time.



the whole class got a little closer and put their hands all together for a team cheer. it was cute.



the next activity was running from one end of the gym to the other, weaving around the cones set up along the way. the teen and i took turns taking her down the line.



i could hear a bunch of the dads speaking in low voices to their boys - "come on, you can run faster than that. you need to beat all these other kids! and hit the ball really hard. make sure you smack it as hard as you can." oy vey. they're gonna be those kind of sports parents.

post-its were stuck all along another wall with each kid's name on them. they were instructed to throw a ball at it.



next, they threw the ball through hula hoops. haha, my kid totally throws like a girl.



the kids were divided into teams to play a "game" of baseball. the bean hit the ball with my help, looked around, heard all the shouting and cheering, and cracked. she melted down like a hershey's kiss in the sun, and that was it. she actually hung in there longer than i thought, and participated more than i'd expected.



luckily, class was almost over at that point. she calmed down when she saw the big, colorful parachute unfolded in the center of the gym, and dragged me over to join in the fun.



the kids all scrambled underneath it as we raised it up and let it flutter down on top of their heads. you can see that this was her favorite part...



...until she realized that everyone was getting cool stamps on their hands. she sat quietly and waited her turn and was rewarded with two little baseball mitt stamps.



one more team huddle, and it was over.



and when she turned in her name tag, she got a snack!



look at how quickly that frown turned upside-down once she got a bag of snacks in her hand! she is SO her mother's daughter.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

near-brawl at the book fair

on sunday morning, we got up nice and early and headed out to the west side for another fun day. this time, we were off to the l.a. times festival of books at the UCLA campus. there's a new-ish show on nickelodeon called "the fresh beat band," and the bean loves to watch the clips aired on nick jr. and dance along. and, well, the teen might have been interested too. heh.

and as we got off the freeway after breezing through sunday-light traffic, we were greeted by this hotness:




after the usual wrong turn or two, we found our way to the parking structure. the festival is a free event, but i knew they'd get us somehow. and they did - $10 for parking.




i've set foot on this campus maybe once in my whole life. and so as we got the bean settled in her stroller, locked the car, and headed out, i got the teen to snap a quick shot of where we'd parked in the hopes of finding our pri-YES after we were done.



it was just a few minutes before 10, and the place was packed already. although free events tend to attract a ton of folks, and this one's always very well-attended, from what i hear.



we perused the map to figure out where we needed to be. the band's performance was scheduled to start at 10am, and i hoped they were running late. i mean, most everything does, right? don't you usually find yourself rushing to a venue for a show, you get there right on time, and then the performer doesn't mosey out onstage till about 10 or 15 minutes later?



after a thigh-and-calf-burning sprint uphill while pushing the heavy ass stroller, we made it to the children's area. and one of our very favorite stores on the planet was a big sponsor.



and, drat! as we approached the target children's stage, the band was already well into their show and we had to do a little maneuvering to find a decent vantage spot. i put the bean on my shoulders and she craned her neck to see what was going on. when she spotted the foursome on the stage, she clapped and danced along (which was killer on my neck and back, but that was okay). i put the teen to work with the camera, and she did a pretty good job:



i noticed a good handful of pictures of this guy - "twist." yeah, they all have really stupid names. kiki, shout, marina, and twist. obviously, the teen has a thing for the tall white dude.


and then, after about half a dozen songs, it was all over. they waved at the crowd and disappeared backstage. as the audience dispersed, we overheard an announcement that the group would be in a nearby tent to meet fans and sign autographs.



the teen, pushing the stroller, waved me on ahead to weave through the hordes of folks trudging along. as i walked, i noticed a few red t-shirted target employees next to me, discussing the autographing session and watching the line as it grew and grew. when i finally joined the line, one of them stood next to me, having been told that i marked the end of it. the band was only signing for about 45 minutes, and i was the last one that was virtually "guaranteed" to get into the tent. whoo-hoo, score!


as we stood in line and listened to the chatter all around us, another employee came through the line with these pre-autographed cards. she wrote down kids' names on a post-it and stuck it on their card for the band to personalize them, and the teen thought this was super lame. "why even stand in line, then? oh, but i want to meet twist. he's hawt." muahahahahaha. i was also excited to see my friend nanette with her hubby and their adorable toddler - we'd traded a few text messages during the show and she easily found us standing in the insanely long line. i got baby em one of the autographed cards, but they didn't care about meeting the group. we chatted for a bit and then they took off to check out the rest of the festival.


the bean had zero idea of what was going on, but she was comfy in her stroller and munched on her free z-bar that i'd picked up at the clif bar booth nearby.


a few of the kids in front of us had these lanyards. i wondered why they were stuck in the back of the line like we were.


out of the corner of my eye, i saw a woman approach the teen with a handful of brochures. "my husband did a documentary about the mormons and i just want everyone to see it," she said. the teen politely declined, but she pressed on. "do you know anyone who's been on a mission?" she asked. and when the teen shook her head, she drew in a shocked breath and practically shouted "you DON'T KNOW ANYONE WHO'S BEEN ON A MISSION?"

at this point, i was pissed. "we're really not interested, but thank you," i told her. and even then, the crazy heffa wouldn't give up.

"it's just a documentary, i just want everyone to see it," she said.
"i'm sure you're proud of your husband, but we. are. not. interested. we're christians, we have no interest in learning about mormonism." i said. the others in line were starting to stare. not at us, but at the freak who was making an ass out of herself.
"mormons are christian, too." (they are?)
"that's fine. we're not interested. move along, please."
"i'm not trying to convert you."
"great. we're still not interested." we were in a line that we didn't want to give up on, so we were freaking stuck.
"but it's not a religious documentary!"
"WE. ARE. NOT. INTERESTED." i was ready to junkpunch this bitch. i'm getting aggravated again just remembering it.

and finally, she threw up her hands, muttering about how unreasonable we were being, leaving a gaggle of folks shaking their heads after her. i couldn't believe how ridiculously pushy she'd been, and had no clue as to why she'd targeted the teen for her tirade. she's lucky i didn't kick her ass, but i didn't want to make a scene in front of the kids all around us. we got plenty of words of support and sympathy from those around us, including target boy (still stationed next to us, but not exactly lending a hand during the mormon rant).

the line finally started moving, and once it did, it went fast. we found ourselves in front of the tent with 20 minutes to spare before end of the autographing session, and the folks in line behind us cheered and clapped. the autographed card-hand-er-out-er returned to write down their names on post-its, and everyone rejoiced.



the teen plucked the bean out of the stroller and took her to meet the fresh beat band, and i snapped away.



afterwards, she headed to this tent to see what it was all about while i got the bean re-settled.



she came back with a couple of screening passes in hand. guess i know what we're doing on may 6th.



she was also pretty stoked to pick up a movie poster for a certain upcoming flick she's dying to see.



as we cruised the booths, i grinned when i saw that the homeland was representin'.



the lakers' jeannie buss was autographing books, too.



and i really didn't know who this dude was, but i recognized the artwork on the promo poster from seeing kids' books at barnes & noble. the line to meet him was pretty damn long, too.



as we rounded a corner, this giant coffeemaker caught my eye, and i got in line to grab a sample.



i guess it's another one of those single-cup keurig-type machines.



my iced mocha was tasty, but i just can't see taking up valuable counter space for this gizmo.



didn't stop me from hamming it up, though.



the teen went for a jamba juice smoothie. i kind of wanted some food, too, but i really hate paying festival prices for food i can get anytime.



these girls were so excited to take a picture with the UCLA bruin statue with their USC sweatshirt. like, they were squealing with glee. i kind of wanted to smack 'em.



the bean didn't want to come near the thing.



i still don't know who these people were, but there were some super stoked folks in their audience.



i'd hoped to meet up with nanette and a few other friends who were there, too, but we had one more activity for the day. plus, we were sweating our asses off and i lose patience when i'm in the throes of perspiration.

and yes, we managed to find the car with no difficulty. yay!
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