Category Archives: Stuff I have

Win Your Own Bit of Fabulous: a Vivienne Tam HP Wireless Mouse

vt-double-happiness

As I’ve mentioned before, my entire NYC Vivienne Tam experience with HP allowed this uber practical, coupon clipping, “never splurges on self” mommy to enjoy the luxury of a few beautiful things. It wasn’t something for my children or my family – it was just for me. Honestly folks, it’s unheard of around the parts. I am still so appreciative.

And now I want to share a small part of this experience with you. HP has graciously given me three Vivienne Tam HP Wireless mice to giveaway here on Morningside Mom. (Did you know they aren’t even available for purchase in the U.S.?) I am thrilled to be able to share a little bit of beautiful with you all.

vtmouse

How do you enter? Simply leave a comment below explaining how everyday working, parenting, budgeting women can take care of themselves when they so often forget to. I will pick three inspiring comments and announce the winners on Friday, March 6th.

And one last bit of trivia about Vivienne Tam before I sign off. The enter key on the VT HP mini has a chinese symbol on it. Do you know what it means? It means “Double Happiness”. And now doesn’t that just make so much sense? I hope this giveaway brings a small bit of happiness to three of you.

Good luck!

**UPDATE – WE HAVE THREE WINNERS!**

Congrats to our three winners: Cami, Chandra and Carol! They wrote inspiring comments and I encourage you all to read them. In fact, I would encourage you to take a moment to read every comment here – what fantastic advice for women to follow. Thank you to everyone who participated, it means so much that you took the time to share this wisdom.

Advertisements

26 Comments

Filed under Blog love, Contests, Gifts, HP, Mothers, Parenting, Stuff I have, Techie Stuff, Women, Working moms

Vivienne Tam: Giving Thanks and Feeling Worthy

vtstoreme

Do you know that feeling when you watch reality shows like “Extreme Home Makeover” and you see amazing things happen for people and you say out loud “that sort of stuff never happens to me”? Or how about the reality show “What Not to Wear”. Have you ever wondered what it would be like to wear really nice clothes instead of jelly smeared jeans? I know these sorts of shows well. I watch, I smile and I think “not in a million years”.

Well, during my time in NYC, I kind of had an “Extreme Home Makeover / What Not to wear” moment. A real one. I think it would have made a great reality show actually. And it all has to do with Vivienne Tam.

As you know by now, I spent 4 amazing days in New York City for fashion week thanks to the folks at Buzz Corps, HP and Vivienne Tam. The entire experience in itself was “reality show” worthy in that this sort of stuff *SO* does not happen to me. I spent every day thanking everyone around me. I thanked drivers (oh wait I hugged him too), door holders, hotel folks, waiters, even random people I passed on the streets for slightly stepping out of my way. I was so damn grateful to be there. Every crack and crevice I happened upon heard my gratitude, loud and clear.

But then something even more amazing happened to all the bloggers on this trip. “What? MORE?!” I hear you mumble. Yes, more. We were given a gift.

We started out mid morning in our shuttle not exactly knowing where we were headed. When we pulled up to Vivienne Tam’s boutique, it was familiar to us after having been there the night before for her show. So we stepped out of the bus and walked in, curious. The entire space had changed into a “store” with racks of her dresses lined up, mannequins dressed, shoes and bags on display. We all wandered around, happy to see the goods in daylight for better pictures and also excited to see more of her line. We snapped pics, picked out favorites, held them up to each other, laughed at the possibilities and moved along.

And then Alan Wang, the Vivienne Tam boutique manager and all around very nice man, got our attention. He stood at the front of the store and thanked us for being here this week. He told us how much Vivienne Tam truly appreciates our support and that she recognizes the important work we do. And as a symbol of her gratitude, she would like to give us a gift. Each of us were welcome to pick out one dress. To keep.

Blank stares. It dawns on us. Mouths drop. Rushed whispering. Quiet squeals. And then me, “Can I hug you right now?”

I am not sure what he said next (although I remember that he diplomatically ignored my invitation for a hug, smart man), but it had begun to sink in. Kind of. We could pick a dress in that room to take home. To wear. To have. To feel fabulous in.

And we were off. Some spending time carefully considering. Others leaping on the handbags and shoes (understandably). And then there was me who grabbed one dress and dashed for the dressing room. What if they changed their minds? Quick. Let me get this on and out the door before they decide this isn’t such a great idea.

I wound up with the second dress I tried on. I truly felt amazing in it. I ran around the store in it. I teared up. Three times. Shamelessly. My friend Moosh in Indy saw my Hanes her Way and that’s cool by me. This was serious business. I got an amazing dress. A Vivienne Tam dress. Glamorous pieces of clothing like this just don’t exist in my life. But now one does. (And it is laughing at everything else in my closet as I write this.)

So what happened next? Just wait. Yes, there’s more.

That night we were welcome to attend another event back at the Vivienne Tam boutique. This was the official launch of the Vivienne Tam Hp Mini. Another night on the town? What better excuse to don our fab dresses. And that we did.

vtdresses1

I also brought my VT HP Mini with me. I just figured it would be good to have it since that evening was all about it.

And so what happens? Vivienne Tam arrives, speaks to her guests and then offers to sign anyone’s computers. So now, under my right hand in the bottom corner of my Mini, is Vivienne Tam’s signature. She signed it for me and you know what she said to me? She said I was so beautiful in her dress.

Wow. This mom with jelly smeared jeans and a leaking sippy cup in her purse could be beautiful.

It was a moment. To be sure.

vtsig

And that’s what the dress and the computer have come to represent. Women running around managing the insanity of their lives, elbow deep in dirty boy socks and sticky pots of mac and cheese DO deserve nice things. A dress like this, a computer like this – well, they are simply special things. Little bits of fabulous that remind you that you are actually “worthy” – socks and mac n cheese aside.

So I had that “What not to Wear” moment. And staying true to the thanking theme of my week, I thanked Vivienne Tam that night. I thanked her for making me feel more beautiful and special than I had in years.

My gratitude is endless, my heart is full and my sense of beautiful is in check.

For that (just one more time) I say: Thank you.

vtandme

For more information about the HP products I review, please visit my HP Update page.

12 Comments

Filed under Blog love, Bloggers, Gifts, Giving respect, HP, Identity crisis, Mothers, One of those moments, Parenting, Shopping, Stuff I have, Techie Stuff, Women

Trying my Damnedest to Be a Part of It, New York, New York.

leavetonyc
Start spreading the news, I’m leaving today.

That’s right, the day has come. Morningside Mom is finally heading to the City. My parents have flown in to help take over all of that stay at home, groundhog day, going around in circles, cat corralling that I do on a daily basis. Today I fly away from the “oh so predictable” kid schedule of my life and drop into the land of fabulousness, cosmos, culture, no bedtime routines… hell, I’m about to go spend 4 days at the center of the universe.

Bring it on.

And I am going all for the sake of the Vivienne Tam HP Mini Netbook. See mine sitting there? All ready to go?  And the new uncomfortable looking but actually very comfortable shoes I bought for the trip? (Target, by the way. Don’t tell anyone.)

And check out that bag. My mom brought it back for me from Vietnam. The fabulous part is that the silk lining of that bag almost exactly matches the silk handbag that comes with the Vivienne Tam Netbook. Cool, huh?

Well. I think so.

So. Ok. Here I go then. I am going to try and blog as regularly as I can. I’ll be twittering it all too and uploading pics and video when I have something cool to share. And of course, I’ll be doing everything from my VT Netbook.

So here I go, leaving the mommy gig at the door. Off to be… um… fabulous.

I hope I don’t look as clueless as I feel. See you on the flip side.

1 Comment

Filed under Bloggers, Packing, Panicking, Parenting, Stuff I have, Techie Stuff, Travel, Vietnam

Vivienne Tam HP Mini “Netbook” Review

hp-viviennetam_270x486

Ok folks. I got really lucky again. And I mean REALLY lucky. My favorite PR peeps over at Buzz Corps brought me into the fold of another project for HP. And a couple days ago, they sent me the product we’re reviewing this time. What is it? Oh, you’re gonna like this one. Its a Vivienne Tam HP Mini Netbook. It’s pretty damn fabulous – and I’m going to tell you why.

Now, I am going to warn you. I am going to post here all about how I endorse this product. But I am going to try my damnedest NOT to sound too much like an infomercial… I’m not sure I’ll succeed, but stick with me anyway, ok?

So to keep it interesting, I decided to also check out the 12 seconds site. Instead of typing a bunch of bladdy bladdy blah text, I thought I would try sharing my top 5 reasons why I love the HP Mini on there. Consider it my first stab at “Vlogging”, if you will. But I love the concept of the videos only being 12 seconds – its my personal guarantee that this review can’t get too boring. So check it out because if you’ve read this far, you clearly have an attention span of more that 12 seconds.

So here we go.

Reason #1: It has a camera

Reasons #2: It’s the perfect size

Reason #3: Lovely design = “Mommies Only”

Reason #4: It’s light

Reason #5: SD port for pics

(So, be honest. I really don’t think I got away without sounding a little bit like an infomercial, did I?  Yeah well, what are you gonna do. I’m sure Vanna White is quaking in her stilettos…)

Now there are certainly many other reasons why I like this mini so much. And I know that if you read on it will take more than 12 seconds, but bear with me if your interest is peaked now.

viviennetamhplaptopmini

While it is certainly very light and easy to pop open and work on just about anywhere, it also doesn’t get as hot as my other HP laptop. The weight and low temp make this HP Mini seem almost effortless – and extremely easy to curl up on the couch with. (I guess it should be no surprise it has an energy star rating, right?)

The operating system is Windows XP and comes with Windows Media Player (which I use all the time). But I know someone else who just put Windows 7 on theirs and it sounds like it is working great.

It has two USB ports, one of which I am using for the remote mouse, a headphone/mic jack, a network jack, an expansion port, an SD card reader, and a security cable connector. Along with its camera, the HP Mini has speakers to play tunes on (and for such a little thing, its speakers actually sound surprisingly good – about as good as my regular sized HP laptop).

I know I talked about the design in Reason #3 but I have to go over that point one more time. It is really lovely to look at. The design makes it feel very unique. This mini even comes with a silk cloth “clutch” that you can slip it into. From there, I slip it into my purse. And as I mentioned before, all the flowers and femininity acts as its own security system – my husband, brother, father and the rest of the dudes in my family won’t be taking it out in public to use. With no threats of it disappearing, this mini has become the uber Mommy laptop.

Ok, how about a couple cons? Well, once again, I would have to say the very shiny screen is a frustration (this has been an issue I’ve seen with most HP screens). The shininess is very pretty to look at initially but it is just too shiny. Its very hard to look at outside, especially if the mini is unplugged and the screen is not as bright.

The overall shininess of the Mini also means many finger prints. Finger prints (and other various types of smears) are a reality in this mother’s world. I feel like I need to wipe it down a lot to keep it looking beautiful.

Also the camera seems dark. I need to be outdoors or near very bright light to have any hope of being seen. Perhaps I don’t have a setting quite right but I have heard this is an issue for other VT users too.

**Update about the Webcam!**

While on our Vivienne Tam NYC trip, the wonderful HP rep who came along explained to us that some of the first VT HP minis still have a small bit of plastic over the webcam. She wasn’t exactly sure why it was left on, one idea was that it was to protect the camera from the paint treatment. Nevertheless, it is fixable. She actually opened each of our VT HP minis and peeled the piece of plastic off. If you are having issues with yours, I would call HP tech support and explain the problem. HP has now recommended that you do not try to do this on your own in case it causes unnecessary damage.

If you unplug the Mini fully charged, you really don’t have too long on it without having to power it up again. I think I’ve gotten a couple hours out of it, but that’s about it.

All in all, it is a fabulous ride. And my bottom line is: if you’re someone looking for something stylish and easy, something more than just a blackberry but less cumbersome than a regular sized laptop, you might want to check out one of these Vivienne Tam HP Minis.

In the meantime, I am going to hope the men in my family don’t get over their complex about flowers too soon and do finally walk off with the thing. Wish me luck.

For other blogger reviews of the HP VT Mini, visit this post of mine for links to each blogger involved in this review. They should be listed at the HP Website also. For more information about the HP products I review, please visit my HP Update page.

11 Comments

Filed under HP, Reviews, Stuff I have, Techie Stuff

This Week: My Thoughts, Some Causes and Other Stuff.

Do you ever call a best friend or favorite aunt or your mom and just chatter endlessly? Filling almost the entire hour conversation with everything you’re doing, what you’re thinking about and what you kids did this week? Never quite taking a moment to breath and allow the other person to get a word in edgewise? 

Please tell me you do this, because I do this ALL the time.

And guess what? I consider you are all close friends of mine, so I am going yammer on here for a little bit. Inspired by my “always the link lover” friend Florinda at the 3 Rs, I want to share some links that have me thinking this week as well as just some stuff I like. I am warning you, it will be haphazard, one sided and excessively chatty. But you all don’t mind right? That’s whats friends do, at least what my wonderfully patient friends do, I guess.

First of all, Ike. Yup, the hurricane. It busted right through Texas last week, remember? I know all I saw were live garbled feeds of newscasters positioning themselves in the wind, doing their damnedest to get knocked over. (Is that like some sort of notch on a weather forecaster’s belt? To get blown over during a hurricane?)  And then I saw some pretty insane damage being reported the following day. But then little by little, I haven’t heard much else thanks to our piss-poor economy and election updates.

Well, here’s the scoop. A fabulous blogger, Julie Pippert, expereinced the hurricane for herself. Please read her plea for help here. Things there are NOT ok. And as you will read in her post, a donation to the red cross, even $5, will make an enormous difference. Please consider giving.

How much disposable stuff do you go through? How many paper towels? How many grocery bags do you stuff in your closet or throw away? How many diapers do you use? How many wipes? The Crunchy Domestic Goddess is running a Ditch the Disposables Challenge for September and October. She is asking all of us to try and cut down on some of your disposable products. My goal is to not use paper towels or paper napkins but use cloth towels and sponges. (Shoot, its partially a selfish thing, paper towels are expensive!) Also I am desperately trying to keep using those cloth grocery bags. I think I am doing pretty well with it actually! They stay on my car front seat so I have them ready to go. Also, I am using my old plastic grocery bags as my trash bags and won’t buy actual trash bags either.

Can I just make one more plea for folks? Join the 29 Day Giving Challenge! It’s really been a lot more do-able than I expected. Plus, I am having fun trying to think up a new thing to give everyday. Often I have 2 or 3 things on my list!

Um, this is kind of an obvious one (but who am I to ignore the obvious). A veeery important election is coming up. Have you registered to vote? Do me a favor and please make sure you are registered.

If you know me, you know I feel very strongly about equal rights. One of these rights is marriage – loving couples of every sexual preference deserve the right to marry. A fantastic writer and person, Lesbian Dad, is living in CA. right now with her family. Please read her blog when you can, and this post has a great video to watch. If you live in CA., vote no on Propostition 8. But you certainly don’t have to live in CA. to donate to the cause, so please consider doing that if you can’t vote. There is a long way to go to change discrimination against same sex couples. Did you know that here in Florida, a same sex couple, or single homosexual person, cannot adopt a child? It’s outrageous.

Speaking of discrimination, do you know what I have been recently stressed out about? Racism in this election. I wonder why this election is so close when Obama seems like such a strong choice. I wonder if he were white, if the spread would be larger. I wonder if this country really wants change… or can change. I know there is a post coming about this in my future but read this post here from Momocrats about individuals out rightly admitting they would never vote for a “black”. (Shudder.)

So why should you really vote for Obama? In case you still need more convincing (and assuming race has nothing to do with your decision… please, tell me it doesn’t), the amazing Queen of Spain did a fab job this week of continuing to back Obama. Read about it here. Don’t know who Queen of Spain is? If you have been watching CNN recently during both the DNC and RNC, you’ve seen her. Shoot, here she is – just a mom blogger in her own right – interviewing Obama himself.

After posting about my son C. getting his doll, I read this article here from Motherhood Uncensored about her son playing with “girl” toys. I thought it was fantastic.

Oh and hey, did you know I am writing for Type A Moms now? I am their “Liberal Moms Editor”. Perfect, huh? Here’s the funny part, I am nervous about having a grown up EDITOR title and, as a result, I am having some major writer’s block for my next (and really first ACTUAL) post. I’ll come up with something – I have ideas of course, but nothing seems good enough quite right. I just need to get into the groove of it and gather some confidence, right? Wish me luck.

Finally, I want to list some fun stuff I just plain old really like.

My 5 year old T. and I have been reading these “From the Black Lagoon” books about different people he might meet at school. They are hysterical and I really recommend them for your children if they are just starting at a new school too!

My 2 yo C. and I have just started Music Together classes. He loves them and the music is fabulous (we truly enjoy the 2 CDs you are given when you sign up, one for the car and one for home). There is great teaching about children’s development for the parents and I honestly get a workout every Friday jumping, spinning, dancing, and marching with my kid. If you’ve got the time, I wholeheartedly recommend signing up for a class with your children in your area.

Need a good gift idea for someone or for Christmas coming up? Hyper-dashis a huge hit in my house. I bought it on a whim and both kids really love it. It really gives them a work out too! Yay for tired children more likely to nap…

We recently were given a subscription to High Five Magazine. What fun for my kids to get a magazine in the mail too! They read it cover to cover, T. loves the Spanish learning section in particular.

And another adorable book that I can’t get enough of? The Peace Book. LOVE IT.

Maybe you haven’t heard of the website Starfall? It is honestly the best letter and phonics learning website out there. And that’s not just my opinion. My teacher friends, my pediatrician and my speech pathologist aunt all heartily agree. T. likes to put it on with C., teaching him the ABC’s while playing fun songs and games. Its really terrific, they are on it right now.

Oh and I saw a pretty funny movie last night that I hadn’t even heard of. The Promotion. Great actors you (and esp. your husband) love to watch: Sean William Scott (aka Stiffler) and John C. Riley. And the story is just about regular guys trying to get ahead and take care of their families. I really enjoyed it!

And…. I’m spent.

And how was your week?

12 Comments

Filed under Bloggers, Causes, Election, Equal Rights, Getting green, Hurricanes, Inspiring people, Marriage, Money, Movies, Obama, Philanthropy, Racism, Raising Awareness, Reccomendations, Stuff I have, Teaching kids, Toys

Playing with Dooce, HP and Canon.

Voila! I present to you the first video ever taken by *moi* and my new HD Canon video camera! And who is the subject of my first video? None other than the most famous mom blogger ever, Dooce. And where was this video taken? Where else but BlogHer 08. Granted I am hardly a professional movie maker, its kind of jerky (but *whine* my arm was getting so tired). Still. The picture, the subject, the whole thing. Pretty fly, no?

(Does anyone ever use the word “fly” anymore? Or did that go the way of the Running Man, MC Hammer pants and “Criss Cross will make you jump, jump”… It did? Whatever, cut me a break. I’m a 35 year old mom, “getting out” is drinking a bottle of wine with mom friends in my driveway with the monitor on.)

But back to the camera. Before I left to BlogHer, I was offered this laptop and video camera to review by a cool little PR company called Buzz Corp. They are good people – I’d say they are even pretty “fly” folks (No? Time to let that one go?) – who seem very focused on the mom blogger perspective and what products make us tick. (And I will also say they are not paying me a lick to say anything about them. Shoot, there wasn’t even any pressure to post about any of this.)

Well. I can certainly tell you, my HP Pavilion laptop makes me more than tick. It makes me purr. It makes me sing. It makes this little ol mommy blogger positively resonate at every possible frequency. I love this thing. I live on this thing. All I need is some sort of security “add-on” against myself, where upon at a certain time limit it will snap shut and shoo me away from it.

And the HD Canon video camera is small, easy to use and takes the clearest picture I’ve seen. I only recently started playing with it for real (other than just taking video) once I got the fire-wire I needed. Granted, after scratching my head for the last month or so, I admit I didn’t realize I needed one until my tech savvy brother walked me through video camera 101. I learned – ahem, after reading the manual, blush – that the firewire does not come with the camera. I gather that is standard, but was only just an additional $6.00 online at Office max. So anyway, the fire-wire arrived, I plugged it all in and it hummed to life.

Over the past few days, I have been playing around with Windows Movie Maker. WHOA. Cool. Fer real. And this afternoon, I popped out this one cut from BlogHer of Heather speaking. She’s funny. The whole thing was great. I just now wish I had that camera roped to my head and caught absolutely everything I experienced – every speaker, every panel, every conversation – on film. I am now trying to grasp the concept that I can capture what I see, and not just simply write about it. Huh. Oh the possibilities.

Anyway, many many thanks to Buzz Corp. Please enjoy Dooce at BlogHer. I just wish I had more to share of the panel. But you can be sure there will be many more videos to come in the future.

(Oh and quick sidebar: If and when I ever review products here, I promise you, I will only review things I actually find to be quality products I truly support. Please consider my opinion legitimately my opinion. Crazy to have to qualify that but you get me, right? Thanks folks.)

For more information about the HP products I review, please visit my HP Update page.

6 Comments

Filed under BlogHer Conference, Stuff I have, Techie Stuff

A Puddle of Fun for the Weekend.

Well, I don’t know about you, but I need some fun around here. At the BlogHer conference, I was given a subscription to Smilebox. I had already been using the free version of Smilebox before but then, to have been given the upgrade, well I was loving the swag life for sure. Now, they haven’t paid me one single dime to endorse their product but I gotta say, I have a ton of fun with it. You can add video too. There are a ton of designs to choose from. They make THE best personalized e-cards. You can send them, blog them, whatever.

So for some fun this morning, I put together a series of pics for you all to enjoy. These were taken last February but they are some of my very favorites. This is my oldest, T., being the wonderful boy that he is.

Have a good weekend!

Click to play Puddle of Fun.
Create your own slideshow - Powered by Smilebox
Make a Smilebox slideshow

4 Comments

Filed under Boys, Stuff I have