Friday, May 16, 2008

Maiden America barrettes - made in America but are they made to last?

My daughter inherited my husband's blue eyes and his dimple. From me she got her skinny legs and long torso. And from the both of us, our impossibly thin, straight hair.

Sorry kid.

Barrettes are a must for her, however. I'm letting her bangs grow out so her hair will be all one length and that makes at least one barrette a necessity. She's pretty good about letting me put them in and leaving them alone, but because her hair is so silky and fine most barrettes tend to slip out. I can't even count how many we've lost to date.

We seemed like the perfect candidate to test out the Maiden America barrettes who claim that their barrettes "Stay where you put them. Even in the finest hair." I'll get to that claim in a moment.

All of their clips are handmade by (to quote their website) "by moms, military wives and the like, in the beautiful Pacific Northwest" with luxe touches like Swarovski crystals and Cabochon pearls. Most of the styles are a bit too precious for a recovering tomboy like myself but with a little searching I found a few different styles that were pretty without being too cutesy or over the top for every day use. Like the "Daisy May" with it's gingham ribbon, small flower and Swarovski crystal. That one has quickly become my daughter's favorite. And I did order a couple that will be reserved for special occasions, like the Velvet Crystals in ruby red, that will be set aside to be worn with things like Christmas outfits. Even the daughter of a woman like myself needs a little bling sometimes.

The clips are pretty and my daughter regularly requests them - I think because most of the ones we have have flowers on them - and I'm happy to oblige because the Maiden America barrettes are easy enough to put in and go with most of her outfits. And, for the most part, they live up to their claim of staying put. However, even though the prices of their products are fairly reasonable, I will think twice before sending my daughter out to rough house with her friends while wearing pretty ribbons and crystals in her hair. Just this morning while she was running around like the crazy monkey she is with a couple of friends I had to put her Maiden America barrette back in her hair at least five times. The clips stay put during normal activity but during an extreme game of "Chase the imaginary monster" the barrettes just couldn't keep up.

I wasn't expecting miracles. I have yet to find a barrette that could contain my kid's hair. The nice thing is that my daughter is so fond of them that she notices when the barrette is slipping and immediately asks me to fix it because she's afraid of losing it.

Would I recommend Maiden America barrettes to my friends? Well, I have one friend whose daughter has curly hair, so Maiden America's clips in their different sizes (xs, small, medium and large) would be perfect for her. Another girlfriend has a daughter with fine hair like my daughter's so she might find the same problems with the grip, but for a nice occasion she might like a fancier alternative to the cheap barrettes you can find at the local Target. The quality is good and the add-ons are very pretty. It's also nice to know that they're hand made with non-toxic glue, especially with a little girl who will occasionally chew on a barrette when she's bored.

All in all, the Maiden America barrettes are a good product and in the future when we're in need of more hair clips I will definitely keep them in mind. Especially when we're in need of something fancy. A girl does need to feel pretty every now and then, even a tomboy.


This was a review for the Parent Bloggers Network.

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Friday, May 09, 2008

Kinzin - It will help keep you in the will

"Lazy" is one word I would have no problem using to describe me. "Procrastinator" is another one. Put the two together and throw in the fact that I only use digital cameras to take pictures of my daughter and my poor family and friends never get copies of all the adorable shots I take.
They beg. They cajole. They threaten sometimes, if I'm being frank. We'd really like some pictures of our (granddaughter, niece, etc.) at some point, they tell me. Maybe some nice pictures of her third birthday, before she turns 18. Uh yeah, I'll make sure to get some printed for you. And then I forget. I'm definitely not winning any points for mother of the year and I'm pretty sure I'm going to be disowned by the family.

Enter Kinzin, the FREE website that's perfect for the sometimes lazy and oftentimes stressed mother I am. At Kinzin you can upload your family's pictures and share them with your extended family and friends - for free (did I mention free?). You can customize your own page with your kids' photos and a little bit of information about them (they're wishes, for instance, if a birthday is coming up). From there, you can make photo books with the pictures you've uploaded or even connect with other parents online, if that's your thing. I prefer just keeping my pictures private for my close relatives and good friends to view whenever they so desire.

The best part about Kinzin is for a low fee of $2.99 per home address you can have up to 10 pictures of your choice sent to the people in your Kinzin address book each month! Automatically! Kinzin does the sending for you! Notice the exclamation points!! I'm very excited about this service and think that $2.99 is totally worth having someone do my dirty work for me!! And if you're sending them within the United States shipping and handling is free!!!

I think I just passed out from sheer happiness there for a second.

A word of caution about the prints - make sure the quality of your digital photos are exactly what you want. Kinzin is not going to touch up or make your dodgy pictures look nicer for you. What you upload is what you get. Just keep that in mind when you're manipulating your pictures into something unrecognizable and they're all cropped strangely.

I'll be recommending Kinzin to my friends, especially those who, like me, would rather do just about anything than worry about printing digital pictures of their adorable cherubs to send to grandma and grandpa. And the bonus? I'm sure my dad will still keep me in his will.


This was a review for the Parent Bloggers Network.

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Monday, May 05, 2008

Good for the Rookie Mom and the old pros too

Okay, so I'm not exactly what one could call a "Rookie" mom. I have one daughter who by the grace of God, Allah, or Snuggle the Fabric Softener Bear (pick your deity, I'm flexible) has made it to three years old without once being sold to the gypsies.

Though we did threaten on occasion to give her to Goodwill or leave her by the side of the road in a box that said "Free! To a good home."

But we didn't do that. My husband and I rolled through four months of colic and the rest of infancy and then onto walking, talking and all through the not-so-terrible-twos - which really weren't so bad.

However, if I had had the "Rookie Moms Handbook - 250 activities to do with (and without) your baby" the first year might have been a bit easier and all that trial and error might have been shaved down a bit, freeing me up for more important things. Like showering.

The "Rookie Moms Handbook" is a small, easy to read guide chock full of tips on how to survive those first months of motherhood. It's perfectly sized to fit in your diaper bag and would make a great addition to any baby shower gift. Because who doesn't need a little more advice, right?

Written by moms who have been there so you know these are tried and true ideas, it's a book you'll want to pull out and peruse when you're sitting at the playground with your four month old, wondering what the hell you're doing there in the first place with a baby who can't even sit up on his own yet. (Hint, try bringing the baby to the museum instead. Tip #66. The baby is still portable and you can fill your mind with something stimulating instead of another round of Baby Einstein DVDs. Does the baby care where he is right now? In a word, no.)

I do wish I had this book before my daughter was born but I am glad that I have it now. I'm not a rookie but I'm not an expert either and there are still some ideas in the "Rookie Moms Handbook" that I'll put to use when baby #2 arrives in the next week or so. Wow, that's coming fast. I better call my Nana (Tip #6 - Grandmothers are extremely useful!).


This was a review for the Parent Bloggers Network. Make sure you enter their Blog Blast this Friday for a chance to win one of two fantastic gift bags filled with stuff every new mom covets.

And make sure you check out the Rookie Moms blog for even more tips on entertaining your baby and yourself!

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