Stokke Xplory V.4 Black Melange

Sunday, November 2nd, 2014

The Babyzen Yoyo travel stroller is awesome, but I also wanted a larger full size stroller for walks around the neighborhood and shopping excursions in the city. I must have gone back and forth between the major luxury brands at least 50 times before I narrowed it down to two. The Stokke Xplory V.4 and the Bugaboo Buffalo.

Truth: Finding “the perfect stroller” is as difficult as finding a unicorn. 

There are so many things that I love about the Buffalo. It is beautiful and the materials are high quality. It looks very sturdy and folds up nicely. The feature I love most however is the storage. SO MUCH SPACE. I could go shopping for days and still have room for more. It is also taller than the Cameleon which allows for better interaction with baby. In fact, the only thing that I dislike about it is having to use the carrycot until baby is old enough to transition to the regular stroller seat.

The Stokke Xplory is gorgeous. The style got me from the moment I first laid eyes on it. The storage is not as generous as with the Buffalo but in style it cannot be beat. The hubby was concerned the Xplory was all style and no function so we read dozens of reviews and even went into a local baby store to test it out for ourselves. I was very pleased to prove him wrong! Folding is not very difficult and I could easily steer one handed. My favorite feature of the Xplory is the height. Being able to interact with our baby easily is very important to us.

In the end, we chose the Xplory!

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Isn’t it BEAUTIFUL? I was so excited, I asked hubby if it would be weird for us to take it for a spin before baby gets here. His answer: YES. Okay okay…so no test drive. We ordered ours from Pish Posh Baby (www.pishposhbaby.com). We paid $1099 total. Free shipping and no tax! Pish Posh Baby was also having a special for a free carrycot. Woot!

If you are in the Bay Area and want to test out luxury stroller brands, there really aren’t that many options. We went to Baby World in San Bruno and absolutely fell in love with the store. They have many different brands and the sales people will help demonstrate them all. However, to save tax we decided to order online.



Babyzen Yoyo 0+ Review – USA

Sunday, November 2nd, 2014

I love to travel. If a few months go by with no trips planned, I turn into wifezilla. I get grumpy, stressed out, and pretty much downright unpleasant to be around. Sorry hubby! I blame the day job.

We are determined to travel even after baby comes along so finding a good compact travel stroller was a very high priority for us.

The hubby and I were first introduced to the Babyzen Yoyo 0+ in Paris while we were traveling through France this past spring. It was on this trip that we found out we were were expecting. The stroller was displayed in the widow of a fancy upscale baby boutique and we were intrigued by it’s style and size. By some miracle (since we are American after all) we were able to convince the snooty salesperson to show us the features of the stroller. Two seconds into the demonstration and we were sold! Well…not sold enough to commit to buying at that moment but we figured we would come back home and easily buy it online. My goodness, how wrong we were.

The Babyzen Yoyo 6+ can be bought here in the U.S at many stores online, in department stores, Ebay, and Amazon. The 0+ with the newborn nest attachment however was nowhere to be found. We emailed Babyzen retailers such as Albee Baby and were told that they were not able to get the 0+ version. We also emailed every single online baby store in France, UK, and Australia that sold it. Either they never replied to our emails or the shipping would have made the overall cost too outrageous. So we got to work and researched the cheapest way to combine all the parts necessary to have the 0+ version and the 6+ version. Here is how we did it.

1. We purchased the 6+ version from Albee Baby (www.albeebaby.com). The retail price is $469.99 but we had a 20% off coupon and was able to get it for $375.99 including free shipping. Albee Baby does not charge tax if shipping outside of NY and frequently has sales and coupon codes.

2. We bought the Newborn Nest attachment from Amazon UK for 35.78 GBP which equates to approximately $60.87. This includes the shipping cost.

3. The 0+ Color Pack was ordered off of Amazon France for 155 Euros or $210.78 including cost of shipping. The Color Pack includes the pad, sunshade, and footmuff.

Total Cost: $647.64

Pricey, but not too bad considering this is for both the 0+ and 6+. If ordering from an online baby boutique in UK, the 0+ and 6+ package would be 648 GBP which would equate to approx. $1,036. If ordering from a boutique in France, the cheapest we found was 556 Euros which would be $756. These prices do not include the cost of shipping.

The conversion to 0+ can only be done with a 2014 Yoyo chassis. If the frame does not have this little red button then it will not work. When ordering from Albee Baby we were unsure if it was the 2014 version but we were happy to find out it was! We did a little happy dance…

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chassis with newborn nest:

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We chose the white chassis with the gray color pack. Here is the newborn nest with the pad.

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footmuff and canopy. The head cushion pictured here was included with the chassis.

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And some pictures of hubby modeling the Yoyo to show how truly compact the stroller really is.

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A bit ambitious but we plan on flying to Korea with the baby when he’s about 3 months old so will update with a full review of the Yoyo 0+ in action!

 



Mimo Baby vs. Sproutling

Wednesday, September 10th, 2014

Battle of the Smart Baby Monitors! Mimo Baby vs. Sproutling

I previously discussed the Mimo Baby Smart Monitor that monitors baby via a onesie and a smart sensor shaped like a turtle. Now let me introduce you to Sproutling. Sproutling is another wearable baby monitor, but unlike the Mimo Baby, it does not require you to keep buying larger onesies. Sproutling is a hypoallergenic wearable band that is paired with an app and measures 16 different things about the baby all in real time.

Some of the measurements include:

Room Temperature
Baby’s mood
Heart Rate
Predicting when the baby will wake
Brightness of a room
Noise level of a room

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I knew about the Sproutling but did not know when it would be released so I was very excited when they opened up pre-orders about a month ago. Initially we were planning on ordering the Mimo Baby but the bracelet monitor just seems so much more economical. We ordered it the first day pre-orders started and cannot wait to see the final product. The first shipment comes out in March and our baby is due in January so there will be a few months in between where we won’t have it, but I really don’t see this as an issue as I mostly want the wearable to monitor our baby after I return to work. We will be using a Dropcam or other baby monitor in the meantime.

To find out more information or to pre-order – www.sproutling.com

 

I will do a full comprehensive review once baby and monitor are both here!



THE APPLE WATCH!

Tuesday, September 9th, 2014

I admit it. I am a tech junkie. More specifically, I am an Apple product junkie. I have an iPhone, iPad, mini iPad with retina, MacBook Pro and an iPod. Heck, I even own a good amount of shares in the company itself. Something about the clean simple lines of their products gets me every single time and I just HAVE to own it. Before every product release announcement, I feel like a small child on the night before Christmas. Today’s event was no different. The grand reveal of the iPhone 6 and the larger iPhone 6 Plus along with Apple Pay definitely got investors excited, but it was the reveal of the much anticipated new Apple Watch that really had everyone talking. Sleek styling with customizable bands and a plethora of new features, it was love at first sight.

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So will I be one those “wasteful consumers” who has no better place to spend their money by buying one? Most definitely!

Will deciding between the gold and rose gold be easy? Definitely not!

 



Harmony Test Review – Bay Area Peninsula

Thursday, July 17th, 2014

In a previous post, I mentioned that I took the Harmony Pre-Natal Test and this is how hubby and I found out we were having a boy. I was so traumatized by the whole experience (yes I’m dramatic) that it’s taken me some time to write out this post. I first heard about the Harmony Test from a co-worker who at the time was over 35 years old and pregnant with her second child. She told me the test consisted of a simple blood draw and was highly accurate in assessing risk of fetal trisomies 21,18, and 13. In addition to assessing risk, the test can tell you the gender of your baby as early 10 weeks! I have another co-worker who was telling me how painful the amnio was…so I tucked away this information in the back of my mind for the future.  I’m 28, and not considered “high risk” but really wanted some peace of mind without having to go through a painful procedure. I researched the Harmony Test and their competitors like materniT21 and Verifi. Essentially all three of these companies do the same thing. My insurance is through Kaiser so I knew that this would be an out of pocket expense and would need to find someplace in the sf bay area that does not require a referral from my doctor.

After some research, I found Peninsula Diagnostic which is located in Downtown San Mateo (only about 15 minutes from home). I called them to see if I could make an appointment and was told that for the Harmony Test, they only take walk-ins. I asked what the price would be if I wasn’t going through insurance and was told it would only be $189. Score! This was much less than the amount I was expecting so I did a little happy dance. To be able to go to the office during their operating hours, I needed to take time off work so I requested the hours off two weeks in advance. I walked into Peninsula Diagnostic’s office and there was one other patient in the waiting room. I was told that they were very busy so would need to wait. No problem – I’m a pretty patient person so filled out some paperwork while waiting. The nurse at the front desk was very pleasant and seemed apologetic for making me wait. I asked again how much the test would be, and was blown away when she said it would be $495 dollars. I informed her that I was told $189 on the phone. She just said that person was mistaken and I would have to pay the $495. Okay…once again no big deal. It was a price I was willing to pay.

After about forty minutes, they tell me that the doctors/nurses at their office are too busy to do the blood draw. They hand me the little cardboard box test kit and instruct me to take it across the street to Mills Peninsula Hospital. I let the nurse know that I was not too comfortable with this idea but she assured me that they send patients over there all the time and that they would know exactly what to do. I get to Mills Peninsula and hand the techs at the lab window the little kit and ask to have my blood drawn. They had absolutely NO clue what I was talking about. They had NEVER seen it before. I quickly explain to them that I was at Peninsula Diagnostic and that I was sent over to just have my blood drawn. After making a bunch of phone calls and making me wait, they tell me they can’t do it for the following reasons.

Reason 1: I am not a patient of Mills Peninsula.

Reason 2: I do not have acceptable insurance (since I have Kaiser).

Reason 3: The kit has instructions that indicate the samples will need to be overnighted and they don’t have any more Fed Ex pickups scheduled for another four days

After explaining that I had specifically requested time off from work to do this test, they asked why I couldn’t just go back across the street to Peninsula Diagnostic. Well..by this time, Peninsula Diagnostic had JUST closed for the day so that wouldn’t work out. I think they could tell by this point that I was pretty distressed so after a couple more phone calls, they decided that they could indeed do the blood draw but would need to charge me $40 since I’m not a patient there. I was pretty livid at this point, but what could I do?

The tech comes in to do the blood draw and just stares at the kit for a minute before asking me “do you know what I’m supposed to do?” uhmmm noo. So I tell them the instructions are right there on the box and that they should probably just follow the instructions. After drawing the blood, the tech looks at the samples and tells me she thinks she has to “spin the samples”. Nowhere on the instructions does it say spin the samples, so I politely told her to just leave the samples as is. The kit needed to be properly packaged so the tech took it away to figure out how the packaging would work. I waited another 20 minutes just to get my kit back. I quickly drove over to Fed Ex before they closed, and dropped off the kit. From start to finish, the entire process took almost three hours and I was exhausted and annoyed by the time I got home. I was also anxious because I wasn’t sure if the samples were done properly.
After 8 days, I called Peninsula Diagnostic and was told that my results had just come in that morning and that a doctor would need to read the results for me. I was told I would receive a call back shortly. After sweating it out about an hour, I received the phone call. I was told that I was very low risk with a 1 in 10,000 assessment and that I would be having a boy. Overall, even though it was a very long frustrating process just to have my blood drawn once I found out my results I was pretty happy that I did the test. So would I recommend the Harmony Test? Absolutely. Would I recommend Peninsula Diagnostic? Absolutely not.

I quickly snapped some shots of the kit in the Fed Ex parking lot before sending it off.

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Tech Lover and Baby – The Mimo Baby

Tuesday, July 15th, 2014

Hubby works at a tech startup and is a huge lover of anything gadget-y and tech-y. We can unlock all our doors with our iPhones and all the lights in our home can be turned off/on/different colors with our phones as well. And of course, we also have the Nest thermostat – what tech lover doesn’t have one? As soon I as I found out I was pregnant, I knew I could count on my husband to find all the coolest/latest gadgets for baby.

So I really can’t say that I was surprised when he sent me an email with a link to a smart onesie that can monitor baby’s breathing, activity level, temperature, and even allows you to listen to your baby. It’s called The Mimo Baby and is made buy a company called Rest Devices.

You can find more information at http://mimobaby.com/

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Doesn’t it look adorable? Currently, The Mimo Baby can only be bought at Babies R Us and retails for $199.99.

http://www.toysrus.com/product/index.jsp?productId=33321926&cp=&parentPage=search

Most parents might find this to be a little steep but for peace of mind and a little extra sleep, I’m thinking it might be worth it. Hubby had a younger sister who died from SIDS and he was only a young toddler when he found her unresponsive in her crib. I know that he worries and researches baby monitors for this exact reason. We are still in the research process, so not 100% sold on this onesie, but it is definitely now in the running! If we do end up getting it, I will be sure to post a lengthy review as I have not seen many independent reviews out there.



Harmony Test – It’s a boy!

Monday, July 14th, 2014

My husband and I are expecting our first child and we could not be more over the moon! As first time parents, we are nervous about our baby’s health so we decided to do the Harmony Test which is a non-invasive pre-natal blood test. They simply draw blood from the mother and then separate out fetal blood from maternal blood to run the tests. The whole process was surprisingly one big pain in the butt (will go into more detail in a later post) but we did find out that we are “low risk” with a 1 in 10,000 chance of Trisomy 21, 18, and 13. In addition to this information they told us we are having a boy! Hurray!

We couldn’t wait to announce the news to everyone via instagram/facebook so I picked up a balloon on the way home and dragged hubby out as soon as he got home to take pictures.

We are so excited and can’t wait to meet our little man!

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