Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Tuesday Tip #3: Once Upon a Child

I had heard of Once Upon a Child, and I know some of my friends have sold items to our local store, but I had never been inside one before this past weekend.

After realizing that O had outgrown the bouncy seat my mom had bought for her house, she had talked to me about getting some kind of entertainer.  On Sunday, we were driving out to spend time at their camper at the beach, and we were going right past Once Upon a Child. (They have locations all over, so check their website.)  We parked, Hubby stayed in the car with the boys, and before I even went in, I was waving at him to look at a fancy double stroller on the sidewalk.  (I really wish I hadn't done that because all I have heard for the past two days is how we could have saved a ton and had a nicer stroller.)

I'll admit that I can be a bit of a snob when it comes to buying things for my babies, but this place was CLEAN.  And everything looked new.  If I had all day, I may have browsed up and down every aisle.  I may or may not have told hubby that I want to go back with him alone next time we have a babysitter.

I left with this exersaucer for $45, and it's actually cleaner and in better shape than the one at my house I got new for JD.

We also scored this walker for $20, which is a big improvement over this one.  His feet actually reach the floor!
And it tastes good!

All of the infant clothes still have tags on them (the only way they accept them), they had every toy, book, bike, and fancy bouncer or swing, and they are super selective about what they accept to sell.  I was told that they check everything for recalls and make sure each toy works and has all the pieces.

If you are looking to unload some of your baby gear, they pay you 30-50% of what they sell the item for.  Not too shabby!

Give them a try!

Thanks to Trop50 for sponsoring my writing about fabulous bloggers. This year Trop50 is granting 50 Fabulous Wishes. Click here to enter for a chance to win $1,000 to celebrate a friend with a refreshing attitude about looking and feeling fabulous!

I hope that if you have ever read my blog before, you have found an idea or product to try with your little one.  Today, I want to share five fabulous bloggers with you who inspire me to try new things!

  • My friend Suzanne at bebehblog has the greatest ideas, and she is so crafty!  Most recently, she's got me reorganizing my closets after this post.  And I am always so jealous of her awesome monthday posts.  
  • If you have time to spare and some crafty talent, check out Cook, Clean, Craft.  I don't own a sewing machine, but after seeing things like this, I may have to get one.
  • Amy at a good life hosts the link up for the week in phone pics post I do each saturday, and I am so thankful!  Knowing about this weekly post definitely pushes me to take more pictures of my boys, and that is priceless.
  • While I'm thinking about pictures, Shannon at living with the lowrys takes the most gorgeous pictures!  And her blog makes me want to travel to all of the fun places she's been, like here and (just today) here.
  • I got to know Stephanie from Stephanie's Mommy Brain during a SITS class. She is so sweet and was amazing at suggesting ways for me to improve things around here.  And from her blog I get many ideas about everything from parenting to fitness to meal planning.

So if you don't already read these fabulous blogs, go give them a try now!

Don't forget to enter the 50 Fabulous Wishes contest for a chance to win $1,000 to celebrate a friend with a refreshing attitude about looking and feeling fabulous. I was selected for this Tropicana Trop50 sponsorship by the Clever Girls Collective, which endorses Blog With Integrity, as I do. I received compensation to use and facilitate my post.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

My 20th Week in Droid Pics!

This was a crazy week (hence no posts since Tuesday)!  Hubby was away for most of it, we visited my parents for a couple days, and we took two trips to the city.

We went out for breakfast before Hubby's flight.  This is my son dipping his pancake in ketchup.  Whatever makes you happy, kid!
We dropped Hubby at the airport and went to a birthday party at My Gym.  Unfortunately it was nap time, and I swear I will never take them to a party by myself again.
Biggest teething ring EVER.

All JD wanted to do was wear the hat and eat pizza!
We drove out east to visit my parents.

I don't think the bouncy seat is a safe option anymore.

Uncle Justin helped with a sticker book.  
JD had a go-see, and my brother tagged along to see what it's like & to help with O. (It was definitely not as glamorous as he expected.  We were in & out & back to the car in less than 30 minutes.)

But we upped the coolness factor by visiting the only drive thru in midtown.

We celebrated O turning 7 mo. by visiting Safari Adventure.
We were killing time at Babies R Us when I spotted some pics of JD from a shoot last September.    I had given up on ever seeing those!
Hubby's flight was super, SUPER delayed, so we had dinner at Panera, and he took a cab home after the boys were in bed.

We were back in NYC bright and early for a job for O.  He will be appearing on the packaging for a Casper the Ghost costume this Halloween.

When we got home, JD occupied himself for a long time pouring water back and forth between these two buckets.  
JD spent the morning in his snow boots and bike helmet.  He even let O try it on  :)

We took advantage of the summer weather and hit the beach!

O loooooooves the sand!  And I will be adding the beach to the list of places that it is impossible to enjoy when you bring 2 babies by yourself.
JD "helped" me get started on some projects for his birthday party.

And O entertained himself.  This baby is awesome  :)

I am really looking forward to enjoying the rest of the weekend, and I promise I'll be preparing some fun posts for next week!  I need to find a good balance between daily posting and taking some down time to enjoy the sunny days and summer nights.  Got any big plans for the weekend?

Did you take phone pics this week?  I'd love to see them.  Visit Amy for the code, and link up!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Tuesday Tip #2: Breaking Into Baby Modeling

If you are a regular reader, you know that both my boys do a little baby modeling.  I often get asked how we learn about auditions and how we got started.  Here are a few quick tips for breaking in.

  1. DO NOT spend money for professional headshots or pay any money AT ALL to an agent!  Reputable agencies will never ask you for money, and one agency specifically asked for non-professional shots.  It is standard for the agent to take 20% of the child's earnings, but that is taken AFTER the child has worked.
  2. When you send pictures to an agency, make sure the baby is looking directly at the camera, you see their full face, and they are not wearing a hat or holding any other props.  
  3. After sending pictures to an agency, if you do not hear anything back after a couple months, try again.  I was told by our current agent that they get thousands of pictures every month and only go through them once a month.  When they do go through them, they are looking for something very specific.  For example, the current blue-eyed, bald baby is getting older, so they need a replacement to send on calls for that "type" of baby. 

This model mommy was really great for my self-esteem!  But at least she was super sweet and helped me make sure none of the cake actually made it into his mouth.  About 2 inches outside of the frame, I am standing behind JD propping the stupid hat on his head and keeping his hands away from his face.  Oh, and I had to watch a you-tube video on my phone to figure out how to pin on the old-school cloth diaper because the wardrobe lady had no clue.

JD was a mini-celebrity in Target when people saw me snapping this pic.

A few things to know up front:
  1. It is not all "Toddlers & Tiaras".  I have never seen fake anything on a child at any of the go-sees or jobs.  All of the moms I have met are very down-to-earth and friendly, and most sets are very low key.
  2. Most print jobs pay $100/hr and last less than 2 hours, which sounds great, but you also have to factor in the time and cost of getting them to the job, the go-see, and sometimes a call back.  Larger commercial or TV jobs require special permits, bank accounts, and much more time, but the pay is much better.  And don't forget the agent takes 20%.  
  3. EVERYTHING is done last minute.  Most times we get a call in the evening about go-see the next day.  
  4. We have never been able to keep any of the clothes or toys from a shoot.  The best perks are the catering, but sometimes that is for the crew only.  
  5. We probably have only seen 1/3 of the work JD has done.  Sometimes a shot is used that he wasn't in, they re-shoot it at a later date, or they scrap the idea all together.  Sometimes the shoot is for company materials and is never public or they are a foreign/out-of-state company.  The agency doesn't know (or care) what the pictures are used for, and I am always hunting them down.  
  6. You can always say no.  One audition we showed up for wanted me to make JD cry.  Another job asked if he could eat cake when he was just starting solids.  You are always the boss of your baby!
I searched for JD's face (or tush) in a Huggies ad for months before I tracked down somebody who told me these were his toes.
O had a ton of great pics in this wholesale catalog, but I can only see it online.

I could write a book about the things I have learned from going to auditions and jobs, so please don't hesitate to contact me if you have any other questions.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

My 19th Week in Droid Pics

This week it rained. A. Lot.  But we kept very busy, and the sun is out now, so no complaining :)

I gathered up all the things I needed to start making decorations & favors for JD's birthday party.  The box is now sitting next to me looking exactly the same.
In the morning, we went to classes at My Gym and at the library.
Then we took the train to a go-see in the city.  O took a great nap.
JD did not.
We walked home from the train station and found this on the side of the road! (Picture me pushing the double stroller while dragging this along... haha)
JD was very anxious to clean it off and start playing, but it started raining.
Most annoying WWF game ever, but I did come back for the win!
JD really didn't want to share his blocks.
I gave one back to O.
JD turned his back and pretended it didn't happen.


The boys fell asleep in the car, so I drove through Starbucks and enjoyed the quiet!
We went to Hubby's gym to play, and I caught JD breaking into the lunch bag.

It stopped raining long enough to play in the new car.

Humidity does really fun things to JD's hair.

We finished P90X, and I got to the real gym 3 times this week!
I may or may not have started buying monster favors for O's birthday- over 5 months from now.
JD was trying to teach O to play catch.  He was remarkably patient!
JD showed off his mad jumping skills in this puddle while at a playdate.  Yuck.
O got his thumb super stuck in his paci.
But he is definitely enjoying this weather!
I had a great time shopping for pretty girl things for a gift.
I'm hoping you are all enjoying this non-rapturous day!  Did you take any phone pics this week?  I'd love to see them.  Visit Amy for the code and link up! (Coming soon)

Friday, May 20, 2011

Friday Favorite: Sun Smarties Family Beach Cabana Tent

We've had our Sun Smarties Family Beach Cabana Tent for about a year now.  If this rain ever stops, I am so excited to get it out for a new season of beach weather!

We first tried it out in the backyard. 
The winds are always pretty high at our ocean beaches, and I have yet to find an umbrella that doesn't blow down, but this tent holds up great! I never use the stakes that come with it because it works best when you fill the outside pockets with sand.  JD now loves to help shovel the sand in, and when we are done for the day, we just dump it over.

Hubby & JD last summer. (Here we made the roof high, but you can spread the sides out, making it lower but bigger inside.)
Favorite details:

  • Set-up takes less than 10 minutes- less if you have help shoveling in the sand.  The tent shakes open in 1 second, so I can sit O under the tent while we anchor it down, so he isn't baking in the sun (It has UPF 50 protection) while we set up.  
  • You can close the windows and doors for complete privacy while changing or nursing, and to shade the light for nap times.
  • If you don't use the stakes, it is all just one piece- no poles, ropes, etc.

Folding it back into the backpack carrying case takes some practice, but once you get the hang of it, it is remarkably fast.  I was definitely cursing the (way too brief) instructional diagrams the first 5 times we used it last year, and I was a little nervous that I forgot over the winter, but it was like riding a bike!  I'm proud to say that I have never left the beach without it zipped back into the backpack  :)
In case I do ever forget, the diagrams are sewn right into the backpack so you never lose them.  There is also a video at OneStepAhead.com.

It's still a little chilly at the beach, but that doesn't scare us!  We had friends meet us, and all three kids & two grownups were shielded from the sun & wind under here!

What are your favorite beach items?

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