Monday, November 30, 2009

Kamen Rider – Win a trip to Hollywood!

_Kamen Rider Dragon Knight_ series logo Ever since I was a little kid, I’ve wanted to do martial arts.  Although I had plenty of opportunities to try different things while growing up, martial arts and ceramics are two things I never got to do and really wanted to.  So, I made a rule that when I have kids, if either of them wanted to do martial arts or ceramics, I’d make sure they could.  Something about wanting a better life for your kids than what you had, right?  So when I was invited to a Kamen Rider martial arts/child safety event, I was all over it to attend with Chip.  Kamen Rider Dragon Night is a tv show that airs on the TheCW4Kids on Saturday mornings.  The event was held at an ATA Martial Arts center in Stevenson Ranch,BRJ_8085 CA.  It was a really well run event that allowed newbies like Chip to participate in martial arts instruction alongside current students of ATA.  I was secretly thrilled that Chip jumped right into the activities and didn’t miss a beat…And he was among the youngest kids in the place!
ATA executives were on hand and were super supportive and encouraging.  The teachers led the kids in learning some techniques from ATA’s “Kidz ‘N Power” S.A.F.E. program.  Moves such as simple break away maneuvers, combining forceful verbal techniques like shouting “NO!” while simultaneously running away, and role playing with possible stranger dangers.  Then the highlight of the event was an “action class” with Kamen BRJ_8612 Rider Axe actor and martial artist, Mike Moh, who demonstrated martial art stunts from the show.  Chip and I got to speak with Mike Moh after the “action class” and he told us that he employs “mixed martial arts” techniques in the show.  He also told us that he is NOT allowed to ride the motorcycle on the show.  See, I had questions inquiring minds wanted to know!  You should also definitely check out the Kamen Rider Dragon Night toys.  They have all kinds of cool merchandise.

The event also kicked off the “Join the Kamen Rider Revolution” Sweepstakes at ATA Martial Arts Schools nationwide where entrants can win the Grand Prize Training Day with Kamen Rider actors and Martial Arts Champions Mike Moh and Matt Mullins in Hollywood, CA. Prizing also includes theme park tickets and Kamen Rider toys. The promotion runs from November 7 through December 5, 2009.  You can enter online at  Check out the video from the event:

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Chip and Lulu go to Build-A-Bear Workshop

Build-A-BearWorkshopLogo_130 Ever since I had a kid, I have wanted to go to Build-A-Bear Workshop.  Yet, even with a second kid, we still hadn’t make it through the doors of a workshop.  That all changed this past Saturday when my family and I were invited to the Build-A-Bear Workshop in Downtown Disney.  The occasion was to kick off a collaboration between Build-A-Bear and ABC Family, “Holly & Hal Moose: Our Uplifting Christmas Adventure” a one-hour feature movie.  This is the first time in Build-A-Bear’s 12 year history that its animals have been brought to life on tv.  

ABC_Family_Logo_150 Our adventure began when we entered the workshop and were greeted by some nice folks who offered our family the chance to test out the process and make Holly and Hal Moose.  Chip selected Hal and Lulu went with Holly.  I thought it was cute that in the movie, Hal and Holly are brother and sister….Just like Chip and Lulu.  One really cool thing about Hal is that his antlers light up with Christmas lights!  Next, the kids took their moose (yeah, that’s plural for moose, not meese!) to the stuffing machine.  They had a blast getting to step on the foot pedal and watch their moose take shape.  Next they inserted “hearts” and watched as their new friends got stitched up.  Then it was off to the bathing area.  This is where Chip had the most fun.  HeHolly_Hal_and_Lil_Hal_150 had a blast scrubbing Hal and Lulu followed suit with Holly.  We next selected outfits—the selection is huge.  I really wanted them to get the outfits that match the moose movie “looks”.  Chip loves camouflage and Lulu looks great in light blue, so it worked out perfectly.

Our next stop was over at the movie theaters in Downtown Disney to get a first look at the Holly & Hal Moose: Our Uplifting Christmas Adventure.  It was a really nice event because it was also a drive for Toys for Tots and US Marines were on hand to collect the toys.  Chip and Lulu loved being able to sit with their Holly and Hal and watch Holly and Hal!  It was  really cute movie that inspires viewers to follow their dreams—no matter how big they seem.  You have the opportunity to watch when it makes its nationwide premiere on ABC Family tonight at 7:00 PM ET/PT (encore presentation on Saturday, November 28 at 10:00 AM ET/PT).  I’ve already set our DVR so we can watch Holly and Hal on their adventure again while we cuddle up with our Holly and Hal.  We had a really fun experience and love the opportunity to have the toy and watch the toy onscreen.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

I Love Hello Kitty

Hello Kitty Hello Kitty makes me smile.   I distinctly recall my first encounter with Hello Kitty, ahem, over 30 years ago.  There was a big Hello Kitty display at Jordan Marsh (now Macy’s) in my local mall outside Boston.  I was enchanted by the cute stuff and got a fun colored pencil set that I treasured.  Sure,  My love for Hello Kitty it might be nostalgia for my childhood.  But I think it’s more than that, Hello Kitty is an enigma.  I like enigmas.  Hello Kitty has endured through 35 years and across many cultures.  Changing….Yet not really changing.  When I heard there was a 35th Anniversary Celebration for Hello Kitty being held not far from my home, I just had to go.  The celebration, being held at Royal-T in Culver City, CA has something for everyone.  Let me start off with Royal-T…..And where do I start?  It’s just this funky art-cafe-shop space that is modeled on the Meido Kissa cafes of Tokyo.  In Meido Kissas, the staffRoyal-T Maid Server with Hello Kitty dress as elegant maids and the idea behind that is to make customers feel like they are at home and to encourage them to relax.  I don’t know about you, but there aren’t ANY elegant maids at my house…Not even inelegant ones.  I’d feel at home with spilled sippy cups on the floor.  But I digress.  Suffice it to say, you just need to visit Royal-T to totally “get it”.  I had the opportunity to visit twice in the past week and I love it!  I felt so lucky to be able to attend the first event Sanrio has produced for Hello Kitty fans in North America.
From October 23-November 15, Royal-T is hosting “Three Apples” a multi-dimensional exhibition and celebration of all things Hello Kitty including a product retrospective.  There are various events during the three week exhibit which is free of charge and open 10am-10pm daily.  Although I love Hello Kitty, it’s not like I *know* that much about her.  But, hardcore fans will understand that “Three Apples” refers to Hello Kitty’s weight. 
I stopped in last week about 9:00pm and the place was hopping.  The cafe had about an hour wait and the bar was wall to wall with an eclectic mix of 20-something girls all dressed up in Hello Kitty themed attire sipping sake next to men in business suits.  I had a blast strolling through the 10,000 sq. ft.HelloKittyApartment space taking it all in.  This past Monday, I brought my mother-in-law, sister-in-law, Chip & Lulu in to check it out.  We spent a couple of hours wandering around checking everything out.  The shop has items ranging from pencils to designer handbags all with the Hello Kitty theme.  My favorite part was the Hello Kitty apartment, pictured right.  Everything is Hello Kitty!  Chip and Lulu had two favorite hang outs: The Hello Kitty hot air balloon, that allowed them to hang out in the basket and pretend they were flying and The Hello Kitty cottage, complete with a picket fence.
We stayed for lunch and had a really, really great time.  I got the turkey burger and fries which was really yummy, my MIL got the Miso Chicken Salad and Hello Kitty -  High Tea Set my SIL got the Grilled Salmon Salad and both were pleased with their choices.  For the kids, I selected something for them from the special Hello Kitty Menu, the High Tea.  It’s really a little kid’s dream, Hello Kitty stamped sandwiches, cupcakes, brownies and little treats along with a pot of tea (my MIL drank the tea and thought it was fantastic).  The service was excellent and I intend to return to Royal-T after the Hello Kitty exhibit ends, it was that good!  If you think you can get to the exhibit, definitely make the effort.  If you can’t, you can definitely check out the Hello Kitty 35th Anniversary products available from Sanrio and take a walk down memory lane or start a new lane of memories with your kids.  The kids and I had such a blast, even Chip, who on the ride over said, “Hello Kitty is PINK!” with a tinge of disdain.  Yet, he was the one I had to drag out of there!

Update 11/14/09: I went to the closing weekend fashion show at Royal-T tonight.  It was really crazy with lines down the block.  Since I'm media, I had bit of an easier of time of it and was one of the few able to make it into the show.  I hung out with Erin Anadkat of the LA Magazine Style Blog who took pictures while I tweeted from the show.  Check out Erin's post with pictures here.  It was really amazing to see several different designers interpret Hello Kitty in so many different ways.  Including a couple of male models on the catwalk looking quite masculine with just a touch of Hello Kitty (not pink!) to be found.  Special thanks to JapanLA and  Charm School for inviting me.  I highly recommend you check out JapanLA's site because they are promising and pictures and video from the show!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Win a Safety 1st Complete Air Convertible Car Seat!

carseat1We have a winner as selected by! Rhonda from Louisiana, #149 has a new car seat on its way to her.  Thank you so much to all who entered.  Lots more excellent giveaways coming up between now and Christmas....Stay tuned!

When you are a parent, you are on an almost constant vigil concerned for your child’s safety.  I spend a lot of time driving around in my minivan with two toddlers in car seats.  Car seat safety is a huge topic.  Did you know that car seats actually expire?  Yes, they do.  Each car seat has a Date of Manufacture on it and the car seat expires 6 years from its Date of Manufacture.  So odds are, that as a parent, at some point, you will be researching car seats.  I had the opportunity to meet the team responsible for The Safety 1st Complete Air Convertible Car Seat and was instantly intrigued by the seat’s features:
The Safety 1st® Complete Air™ Convertible Car Seat with Air Protect™ Side Impact Technology is perfect for infants rear-facing from 5-40 lbs. and 19"-40" and toddlers forward-facing from 22-50 lbs. and 34"-45".
  • Air Protect™ Revolutionary Side Impact Technology: Breakthrough system shields head and immediately reduces side impact forces through the precise release of air.
  • QuickFit™ Harness System adjusts harness height from the front in one easy step without uninstalling from the car.
  • Harness accommodates children up to 50 lbs.
  • One Click LATCH installation system allows for faster and easier installation when moving between vehicles.
  • 5-position adjustable headrest easily accommodates your growing child.
  • Removable cup holder.
  • Styles: McKenna (Black/Grey), Harvest (Brown/Orange)
I also learned that over the past 20 years, the number of deaths related to front impact crashes has declined, while side impact crash fatalities havecarseat2 increased by 20 percent, in part due to larger vehicles, like SUVs, on the road. In a side impact crash, there is an average of just eight inches of steel protecting children in the back seat. Side impact collisions are among the deadliest type of collision for children, accounting for one in three child crash fatalities, nearly all of which are caused by head trauma.  This was pretty shocking to me as I had no clue that side impact crashes were so different, statistically, from front impact crashes.

The media team for Dorel Juvenile Group the parent company of Safety 1st  have been kind enough to send over a car seat for Chip and Lulu to try out.  I really love this seat!  It is so easy to adjust.  The center section slides up and down allowing you to adjust the height of the shoulder straps without having to undo the straps and re-thread them back through the seat and cover.  Installation is a breeze.  The instruction booklet is very easy to follow.  Chip has been napping less and less, yet, he still falls asleep in the car often.  The Complete Air Seat allows him to lean against the side impact protection headrests and he says it’s much more comfortable than his other seat.  The other really nifty feature is the removable cup holder (not pictured).  Chip loves being able to put his drinks right within reach.  Why doesn’t every car seat have this???

I always like to go to the experts for everything--it makes my life easier.  The car seat experts online can be found in the forums at as well as on their blog,  I'd like to give them a special thanks for publicizing my post to their many helpful, knowledgeable and fabulous members!

I’m so thrilled that Safety 1st has offered one of their Complete Air Convertible Car Seats for one of my readers to win!  With a price of $249.99, The Safety 1st Complete Air Convertible Car Seat is a dream to install and use.  Here is how you enter: Contest period runs from Sunday, November 1, 2009 at midnight (Pacific) until Saturday, November 14, 2009 at midnight (Pacific). Enter by leaving a comment stating what your dream road trip destination is (have fun, be creative, your answer has no bearing on your chances of winning), and leave your e-mail address. If you don't leave a comment that includes your dream road trip destination and your e-mail address, your entry will be disqualified.  One entry per person. Winner must provide a US mailing address. At the end of the contest period, I will utilize to randomly choose a winner. Winner will be contacted by e-mail the business day following the end of the contest period. Winner has 72 hours to respond to my e-mail. If winner does not respond within 72 hours, the Safety 1st Complete Air Car Seat will go to the second place winner as decided by Good luck!