Jul 2, 2012 Paid/Sponsored Post
This giveaway is now closed, but you can still use the discount code to order your own PaperSalt books until the end of July, 2012! Just enter the code “selfish mom” and you’ll get 30% off of PaperSalt’s already low prices. Congratulation to our winner, Jen, entry number five. And thanks to all who entered!
[The following post was commissioned by PaperSalt.]
Recently PaperSalt books sent me a sampling of their line to try, and I’m in love. I opened the package with my mom and we were both giggling as we looked through them. Let me introduce you to this incredibly cute and useful line of books for families (and make sure to read all the way to the end, because there’s an awesome discount and giveaway!).
The books are divided into categories like “Manners and Respect,” “Healthy Lifestyle,” “Teens,” and “For Fun.” They’re witty, concise, full of common sense, printed on thick paper, and created by parents. Almost all of them are under $10, and the booklet of tear-out kid coupons is only $7.50!
I was able to check out three of them, and was delighted with each. My kids will be getting a lot of use out of these.
This is a book of tear-out coupons for rewarding your kids. I’ve always found that concrete rewards motivate my kids better than vague promises. My kids got really excited when they flipped through this book, picking out the coupons they would most want to earn.
Some of my favorites:
May 28, 2012 Gifts
It was a gorgeous day outside, about 85 degrees. The Ass took the kids to the park to ride bikes. I had the house to myself. So what did I do? Shopped online for coasters.
The men in my life drink a lot of ice water, which in sticky weather like this leaves huge puddles around their glasses. I got rid of our old, broken, ugly, cheapo set of coasters a little while back, meaning to get some before the hot weather hit. But naturally I forgot.
I slogged through hundreds of choices on Amazon, and I’ve posted my favorites below. Even if you don’t need coasters, they make great hostess and housewarming gifts, and there are enough choices that you can match the coasters to the personality of the recipient.
Warning: affiliate links ahead. But remember when I said I slogged through hundreds of choices to curate this list? Surely that’s worth making a few pennies off of your order. :-)
For Wine Enthusiasts
|Sparkly Wine Coasters
|Wine Label Coasters
These nostalgic coasters are made out of absorbent sandstone and feature old wine labels.
|Butterfly Slip-On Wine Coasters
These wine coasters slip on to the bottom of a wine glass. Great for parties.
|Flip-Flop Slip-On Wine Coasters
These are similar to the butterfly coasters above, but they’re flip-flops. So, yeah. Maybe for your beach house? Also available in bright colors.
|Wine Cork Coasters
We all know someone who could fill these coasters with corks in just a few weeks. Tell your wino friends you love them with this unique gift. You could also add a matching trivet set.
|Slip-On Stemware Coasters
These pretty silicone coaster stretch to fit the bottoms of different sized stemware. Also helps your guests keep track of which glass is theirs.
For Game Lovers
These stainless steel coasters might be the world’s easiest jigsaw puzzle, but they’re still pretty cool. Plus, I’m guessing you could connect more than one set together.
|Rubik’s Cube Coasters
Stacked together, these six coasters form the world’s most frustrating game. Add a Rubik’s Cube notepad for the superfan.
This set of six glass coasters is perfect for a friend who loves playing Dominos. Although you probably can’t get much of a game going with six dominos.
This set of 56 disposable bar coasters contains two entire letter sets, and comes in a cute tin. Goes well with Magnetic Scrabble Refrigerator Tiles.
May 8, 2012 Contest/Giveaway
This giveaway has closed. Congratulations to the winner, Jodi F.
I love it when someone I know starts something great! My friend Dara started a company called With Love from Brooklyn that curates items and collections from Brooklyn artisans, so that you can have the best our borough has to offer shipped right to you at an affordable price.
Or even better, this is an easy way to send someone a thoughtful gift! I just ordered these gorgeous tea towels as a hostess gift for a party I’m going to. And I love that I know the artist who designed these towels, too. But if you don’t have a Brooklyn connection, you can get to know the artisans.
I had the opportunity to curate one of the collections on the site, and it’s really beautiful (if I do say so myself). Just think of how happy the mom in your life would be to receive these goodies from Brooklyn – three tasty treats and a gorgeous tea towel.
Whether you’re buying for a relative, friend or a client, these gift collections are unique and charming. Plus, you get the added benefit of supporting local artisans who put love into all they do.
Although this won’t get to the winner in time for Mother’s Day, the Treat Yo’ Mom collection is a great gift for any occasion. Or, just selfishly keep it all to yourself – you know I support that! To win simply tell me in the comments who in your life would appreciate a taste of Brooklyn. (You must leave a comment answering this question before you can take advantage of the second mode of entry below.)
For a second entry, you can tweet about the contest with a link back to this post. The tweet must contain “@SelfishMom” (but should not start with it). Or, you can just copy and paste this:
Want to win the Treat Yo’ Mom gift collection from @withlovefrombk? Stop by @SelfishMom’s site and enter! http://slf.sh/JblxN7
Make sure to leave a second comment with a link to your tweet, or it won’t count (instructions on how to find and post the url of your tweet can be found here).
That’s two entries per household, please. You must be at least 18 years of age to enter, and must live in the continental US.
Originally posted on Selfish Mom. All opinions expressed on this website come straight from Amy unless otherwise noted. This post has a Compensation Level of 9. Please visit Amy’s Full Disclosure page for more information.
Feb 15, 2012 What's Going On
If I’m counting right, yesterday was my twenty-third Valentine’s Day with my husband. He’s taken me through all the phases:
- We’re going to dress up, and I’ll give you wildly over-priced roses, and take you to the fanciest restaurant we’ve ever heard of, one that actually takes reservations, and stare at each other all through dinner.
- I’m completely broke, but I’m going to make up for it by spending a huge amount of time and creative energy making Valentine’s Day special for you. And we’ll stare at each other all through dinner.
- We’ve got money, so I’m going to take you out for an insanely expensive dinner and try to act like we don’t just do this on special occasions. And I’ll stare at you all through dinner.
- Eh, we go out enough. And we’re tired. And babysitters are expensive. Will you cook for me? I’ll buy you something pretty! I’ll even talk to you during dinner.
- And at long last, we’ve settled into: What’s for dinner? Oh, and let’s try not to yell at the kids during dinner.
This isn’t a bad thing. I’ve never been a huge fan of Valentine’s Day. Too much pressure. Too commercial (and if I’m saying that something is too commercial, me, the marketer’s wet dream, then it just is).
I spent all of two minutes planning something for The Ass this year: I told the kids I would pay them a dollar if they took Daddy’s coat and bag as soon as he walked through the door, and waited on him hand-and-foot for the rest of the evening. Which made me look really good, without me actually having to do anything.
Throughout all of the phases, whether there was jewelry, or a fancy dinner, or even a trip (yup, a trip to Vegas one year), my husband has been very consistent about getting me a card on Valentine’s Day. And after all these years, I’m sure it’s hard to think of something original to say. But he manages, every time.
This year’s was perfect: after a message that I won’t share with you (because I’m sure he’s already aggravated that I’m sharing this much), he wrote:
And you shouldn’t feel bad for not getting me a card. (Man, we know each other too well.)
After reading it, and laughing, I asked him what he would’ve done if I’d had a card for him.
He said he would’ve died of shock.
He knows me exactly well enough.
Originally posted on Selfish Mom. All opinions expressed on this website come straight from Amy unless otherwise noted. This post has a Compensation Level of 0. Please visit Amy’s Full Disclosure page for more information.
Dec 21, 2011 Kids
So I’m sitting here surrounded by gifts that need wrapping, a task I actually enjoy (as long as I’m not doing it at 3am on December 25th, which has happened many other years). The problem is, I don’t know how to make out the gift tags.
Two years ago, when Jake was eight, I almost told him the truth about Santa. Then last year at this time he nudged me about it again, but he still wasn’t ready.
Then, one fateful day that spring in St. Thomas, everything came out. Santa, the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy, everything. We were at Easter brunch at the Ritz Carlton, and there was an Easter bunny taking pictures with the kids. After her picture Fiona said to me, “The Easter Bunny isn’t real, right?” Finally! Making up all these silly stories was getting old. I said, “Nope, it’s just something parents tell kids to have a little fun when they’re little, but you’re old enough now to know the truth.”
Fiona went white and stared back at me with saucer eyes, and said “I just meant that that one wasn’t real – I could see her ponytail sticking out!”
She ran and told Jake. The next morning at breakfast they said they had some questions. Was Santa real? I asked them several times if they really wanted to know everything, and they insisted they did. So I told them. Everything. The Tooth Fairy was the next to fall. And that was it.
Or so I thought.
About a month ago, Jake came to me and said he was writing his list for Santa. “OK, Jake, for ‘Santa.’ Got it.” I made air quotes around the now-fictitious Santa.
Jake got a weird smile and said, “So I think I might have fallen down and gotten amnesia about Santa. He’s real, right?”
Oh bloody hell.
He still wanted to believe, even though he knew the truth. And even though he knew that I knew that he knew the truth.
Later I asked Fiona about Santa and she said “What do you mean?” Except she seemed genuinely confused. Had she really forgotten about the big reveal? Had she convinced herself that the whole conversation hadn’t happened? Or, like Jake, was she just pretending?
I’ve been absolutely terrible about keeping the whole story going since that day. When they told me what they wanted for Christmas I got right onto Amazon and told them whether or not each item was a possibility (“Will be delivered after December 25th” became “Sorry, Santa can’t guarantee delivery in time”). But now here I am with the gift tags, and I don’t know what to do. I know Jake knows. I think Fiona knows, but I’m not sure. As the person who perpetrated this once-fun lie in the first place, what’s my responsibility here in dragging it out?
And good grief, what if they want Santa around for another year, when they’ll be eight and eleven? I just don’t think I have it in me.
Originally posted on Selfish Mom. All opinions expressed on this website come straight from Amy unless otherwise noted. This post has a Compensation Level of 0. Please visit Amy’s Full Disclosure page for more information.
Nov 30, 2011 Paid/Sponsored Post
[The following post was commissioned by Treatful.com]
As anyone with kids (or, um, anyone who’s married to me) knows, stuff piles up. Even the most well-intentioned gift may end up being shoved in a closet, given to Goodwill or re-gifted to an annoying relative. This is why I love the idea of gifting experiences instead of things. Great food is something that will be enjoyed and remembered long after the meal is over.
Treatful is a website that allows you to quickly and easily give restaurant gift certificates. Many of the restaurants even allow the gift to be given digitally, with no gift card to be delivered – a beautiful certificate is emailed to the recipient, who just prints it out and brings it to the restaurant. Easy, but thoughtful. Simple, but attractive. And the best part for you, the giver? No fees! The amount of the gift is the amount you pay. (Actually, my readers will get an even better deal than that: there’s a discount code at the end of this post!)
Here’s how it works:
- Search the Treatful site for restaurants in New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, and San Francisco
- Narrow your search by price, neighborhood, cuisine, and special features; add restaurants to your “short list” as you go, to keep track of the ones you like
- Treatful’s restaurant pages give you a description of the restaurant, pictures, links to Yelp ratings, the location on a map, and a suggested gift amount for two people to have a meal
- Once you’ve chosen a restaurant, you can customize the look of the certificate that will be emailed, or if you want to print the certificate out and give the treat in person, you can have it sent to your own email address
- You can choose a specific date to have your treat emailed on, allowing you to get organized in advance
- You can pay via credit card or PayPal (Treatful is a PayPal verified business)
- That’s it! Your gift will be delivered
- Treatful treats never expire!
I have a foodie sister in San Francisco who would love to get a gift like this. I even found the great Italian restaurant down the street from me on Treatful! This is a great way to support local restaurants. Maybe I should buy that treat and give it to myself. :-)
As if the very idea of this site isn’t great enough, here’s an extra enticement to try it out: just enter the code SMOM at checkout and you’ll receive 10% off of your order! Discounts on gift certificates are rare, so this is like getting free food. But hurry, this fantastic discount code can only be used through December 31st, 2011.
Originally posted on Selfish Mom. All opinions expressed on this website come straight from Amy unless otherwise noted. This post has a Compensation Level of 13. Please visit Amy’s Full Disclosure page for more information.
Nov 22, 2011 Paid/Sponsored Post
[The following post was commissioned by “The Smurfs” on Blu-ray™ + DVD Holiday Combo Pack]
So I’ve been tasked with getting together a gift guide for Gutsy Smurf, the tough, brave and adventurous Smurf from the new Smurfs movie, coming out on Blu-ray™ on December 2nd. This was a very easy task, since Gutsy Smurf reminds me very much of my son Jake, minus this kilt, sideburns, and Scottish brogue, of course.
Document your adventures
Before Gutsy Smurf sets off to do anything gutsy, he needs some way to record what’s happening. At under $100, this Sony Cybershot camera is the perfect entry-level camera for someone with no photography experience. With Sweep Panorama Mode and SteadyShot image stabilization, this camera helps ensure dramatic, sharp pictures, no matter the conditions.
This camera is so smart, it can even detect if the subject is smiling or blinking!
Protect your tech toys
This gift is very basic, but very important for anyone setting off on an adventure: proper cell phone protection. Smurfs – and tweens – can be very rough on their phones, but Otter Box provides the solution with their Defender Series cell phone cases. These cases provide superior protection against bumps and drops.
They come in a wide variety of models, for everything from iPhones to Galaxy Tabs. The front has a clear protective screen, and all buttons and ports are easily accessible.
Learn how to fly
Next up, Gutsy Smurf needs an adventure to take his protected phone on. What takes more guts than flying through the air? Trapeze Experience offers lessons for anyone over five years old and under 250 pounds. With locations in New York and Florida, you can live out your dreams of swinging and flipping at this acclaimed trapeze school.
Even if you’ve never done anything like this before, Trapeze Experience will get you started. With two-hour lessons for $100, you can give your little Smurf a taste of what it takes to become a trapeze artist.
A skateboard on steroids
Skateboarding is so 20th century. If you want your Smurf to get a real workout while he rolls, get him a Shred Sled. These affordable, wheeled toys take skill, balance, and ab muscles to ride. I’m grateful nobody was videotaping me when I tried Jake’s Shred Sled, because I lack all three – it was not pretty.
Jake took to it quickly though, and after a couple weeks’ practice it became his favorite mode of transportation, even more than his bike. Shred Sleds mimic the “carving” motion of snowboarding, and you can even propel yourself uphill without pushing off. I’m sure Gutsy Smurf would have no trouble mastering it – I just hope he remembers to wear his helmet!
Go on a high-tech scavenger hunt
The Apisphere Geomate Jr. is a handheld geocaching GPS game that the whole family can play. What is geocaching? It’s a world-wide scavenger hunt that’s catching on with adventurous Smurfs everywhere. For about $65 Gutsy Smurf can hunt for a quarter million different clues hidden in all fifty states.
No internet connection is necessary. The battery-operated unit will direct you to the nearest geocache, which can be hidden almost anywhere. The unit also logs which ones you’ve found, and can direct you back to your starting point so that you don’t get lost.
Read the adventure
Of course even Gutsy Smurf needs some down time, and this spectacular book will keep him transfixed for hours (my little guy has read through it several times already). “The Invention of Hugo Cabret” tells the story of an orphan in Paris, partly through words and partly through exquisite drawings that bring the characters to life.
At over 500 pages, this book might look imposing, but Smurfs of all ages will soon be sucked into the story of a broken mechanical robot that holds a secret, if only Hugo can get him working again!
I hope I helped you with some shopping ideas for the adventurous kids on your holiday list! And to help some other deserving kids have a good holiday, just leave a comment with your best suggestion for a gift for Gutsy Smurf. I get to decide which gift I think is the most creative, and a Smurf backpack and Smurf toys will be donated to Toys for Tots in the commenter’s name.
As part of this campaign I’ll be receiving the new Smurfs Blu-ray™ + DVD Holiday Combo Pack, and knowing my kids (who are Smurf crazy) it will be played until it is memorized. I think it would make a great gift for your little Smurf.
Brought to you by The Smurfs on Blu-ray™ + DVD Holiday Combo Pack! Includes the never-before-seen The Smurfs Christmas Carol, an all-new Smurftastic adventure! Get more at www.smurfhappens.com, including games and other Smurfy goodies!
Originally posted on Selfish Mom. All opinions expressed on this website come straight from Amy unless otherwise noted. This post has a Compensation Level of 1 (Shred Sled, “The Smurfs” on Blu-ray) and 13. Please visit Amy’s Full Disclosure page for more information.
Nov 22, 2011 Product Review
My husband, son and I have been fighting over a pair of Sol Republic Tracks headphones since they arrived from the company for me to review a few weeks ago. At a retail cost of around $100 they would be a fantastic gift for someone in your life who really appreciates good sound.
Luckily I had them to myself for the first day, since my husband was at work and Jake was at school. I put them on, adjusted the headphones – I’m sorry, the “sound engines” according to the box – and cued up “Defying Gravity” from the Wicked soundtrack on my computer. Now, this is a song I’ve heard probably two hundred times, mostly in my car or through earbuds (and I don’t use cheap earbuds, I’ve got good ones). But from the first notes I could hear the difference. I could hear a string bass line that I’d never heard before, deep and rich! A few more songs had me convinced that these headphones were worth the size. Normally I go for whatever’s tiniest, but I don’t think I’ll ever wear earbuds in the house again.
When I was done listening I started doing other things on my laptop. It wasn’t until I got up about half an hour later that I realized I was still wearing the headphones; they’re so comfortable I hadn’t even noticed I’d left them on. That’s kind of a big deal for me, because most headband-style headphones give me a headache. The ear pads are big and cushiony and fit snugly over my ears without squeezing my head.
These headphones have a unique design that allow them to feel just as comfortable on my daughter’s little head as on my son’s larger one. Instead of the headband part being adjustable, the sound engines slide up and down. They even come completely off, and the cord can be removed. This would be extremely handy when traveling, since wrapping the cord and squishing the headphones in to a suitcase or bag would make me nervous.
For what it’s worth, the website claims that the band is nearly indestructible. Having lost a couple pairs of pricey headphones to a cracked headband, that’s rather important to me (although I’m not willing to sacrifice mine in order to test that claim – sorry!).
They have several features that I don’t think I would ever get any use out of, since I don’t think I’d ever use these out of the house (like, on the subway or walking around), and I rarely use Apple products. But they have a microphone that can be used with most Android and Blackberry phones to take calls, and a three-button iPod/iPad controller for iTunes. There’s a list of compatible devices here.
So now, my husband can sit on the couch while someone else is watching TV or playing music, and listen to his own stuff on the iPad. They don’t cancel out all outside noise, but they muffle it enough that I have no problem hearing what I want to hear through the headphones when the kids are being their crazy selves or the TV is blasting. I’m able to work on podcasts or videos without having to tell everybody else to quiet down.
These would make an excellent gift for that person in your life who cares about the sound coming out of his computer or phone, but values comfort first and foremost. I really love these headphones and highly recommend them.
Originally posted on Selfish Mom. All opinions expressed on this website come straight from Amy unless otherwise noted. This post has a Compensation Level of 1. Please visit Amy’s Full Disclosure page for more information.