2011 Sponsors

In 2011, the following companies provided me with sample products and/or services, meals and/or compensation in exchange for a mention or review on this site and through the many other social media channels where I share information and resources. Some reviews are forthcoming.

Rango – Nintendo DS video game
Organically Grown
Spa Week
Harry & David
Dairy Queen
Stater Bros.
Rock Me! Made with Love in the USA
Jenerations Baby

Byer Clothing
Hyatt Regency Mission Bay Spa and Marina
The Information Blanket
Cube Dog
Juice in the City
First Alert
Natalie Jenette Photography
Digital Folio
BMO Harris Bank
Tiny Prints
Social Vest
native shoes
N-Style ID
Nissan Quest
Ella’s Kitchen
Bunki Munki
Hop – video game for the Nintendo DS
Dagedar – video game for the Nintendo DS
Ruckus Media

I received review copies of the following books in exchange for an honest review (some reviews are forthcoming):

Lust Anger Love
The Sandalwood Tree
Times Two
The Write Start: A Guide to Nurturing Writing at Every Stage, from Scribbling to Forming Letters and Writing Stories

Rip the Page!: Adventures in Creative Writing
The Blessing of a B Minus: Using Jewish Teachings to Raise Resilient Teenagers
Blacklisted from the PTA
The Conscious Parent: Transforming Ourselves, Empowering Our Children

Made to Play!: Handmade Toys and Crafts for Growing Imaginations
Mayo Clinic Guide to a Healthy Pregnancy

The Man Test: Hundreds of Questions to Test Everything a Real Man Should Know
150 Things Every Man Should Know
Hot (Sweaty) Mamas
The Princess and the Peanut: A Royally Allergic Tale
The Thinking Girl’s Treasury to Dastardly Dames
The Like Economy: How Businesses Make Money With Facebook

I was able to attend view screenings of the following films this year in exchange for a review:

The Other F Word
Hoodwinked Too: Hood vs Evil

Please contact me if you’re interested in working with me in any capacity. I look forward to working with more companies in 2012 to help get the word out to healthy, happy, hip moms and dads.

Read the full Disclosure Statement to learn more about my relationship with sponsors, advertisers and companies both small and large, local or otherwise.

BlogHer 2011: Day One

The official events for the 2011 BlogHer conference began on Friday morning. That’s when I got up early (earlier than usual) and packed up everything for a day away from home.

When I arrived at the hotel, the first thing I did was drop off my little guy at the Kiddie Corp room. He was the first child there and the women lovingly embraced him as I filled out the paperwork and left, knowing that he was in good hands while I was just steps away, learning and engaging at the conference.

From there, I headed to breakfast and got to chat with my San Diego blogger friends before heading to the Sports Moms BECOME session, sponsored by Gatorade and led by the President of Gatorade, Sarah Robb O’Hagan.

Sports teach children so much and with the key component to their performance being the things they put into their body, before during and after a competition, this session was a great reminder for me to continue to focus on teaching my sons about nutrition and exercise as they continue to grow into young athletes.

I tweeted a lot of what was talked about during this event (#sportsmoms), including quotes from the Sports Nutritionist and sports moms, Loreane Tomlinson (Ladainian Tomlinson’s mom) and Brandi Chastain (soccer champion).

We took a group photo afterward (yeah, that’s me in the back, between the two tallest women in the room), and received a signed copy of Loreane’s book, LT & Me. I was also invited to be a part of their latest webisode on Sports Moms TV, which was filmed the following day and can be found on the Gatorade website this fall.


A special luncheon was held that afternoon which was sponsored by BillMyParents – a wonderful concept for parents of young adults looking for ways to teach responsibility and money management to their teens.

Another issue of importance to me – financial health – this was yet another reminder and tool to help keep me in check as far as raising children to be responsible and knowledgeable when it comes to money.

The funny duo behind Let’s Panic about Babies, Eden Marriott Kennedy and Alice Bradley were on stage, along with the founders of Cool Mom Picks, Liz Gumbinner and Kristen Chase.

Join the Anti-Green movement!

Friday afternoon would not have been complete without the Voices of the Year. Even though I had RSVPd to some private parties off site, I chose to stick around and listen to the amazing women who were chosen to be a part of this annual event. Hearing them read their blog posts, watching their videos or seeing the images that touched so many readers brought me to tears on more than one occasion and I was so glad I stayed for this.

Hearing the courageous posts and bold women standing at the podium talking about addiction, grief and red underwear reminded me of why I began writing and blogging in the first place and inspired me to share my stories, especially those that are the hardest to share.

BlogHer is amazing in so many ways. The Expo Hall, the conference sessions and the women (and men) I ran into in the hallways and in the hotel lobby truly made for some wonderful memories and experiences. I only wish I had more days to hug more people, attend more sessions and to take it all in.

Happy Healthy Hip Parenting

BlogHer 2011: The Unofficial Parties

I bought my ticket for BlogHer 2011 last year when it was first announced that it would be held in San Diego. As many other local bloggers can relate, how could I not attend a blogging conference in my own city?

The first time I went to BlogHer, I drove across the country to get there. Chicago was beautiful and time away with online friends was invaluable. This time was even more exciting because I didn’t have to travel (too far) or spend time away from my loved ones.

For me and many others, BlogHer really began Thursday night, with many unofficial parties and events. My dance card, if you will, was full Thursday evening with some pretty fun events that kept me busy – and up way too late!

My first stop was to the Culy Warehouse where the Sassy City Chicks were hosting the Fashion Bash, sponsored by GMC. Discounted couture was lined up around the many rooms along with jewelry, beauty products and services to keep everyone happy and feeling pampered.

GMC vehicles were also on hand for test-drives and photo opps, not to mention the free flowing open bar sponsored by Pinnacle, who poured lovely cake-flavored vodka drinks while the women shopped and tried on clothes and stood in line to get their eyelash extensions, manicures or hair styled.

I skipped all of those lines and headed directly to the woman giving complimentary chair massages. After learning about the great deals to be had through eLiveLife.com, I ended up purchasing 6 hours of spa treatments for $100. Now that was a true gift (to myself) that I couldn’t pass up!

My next stop was to the Babeland Toy party right down the street at Lounge San Diego. This is a private little cocktail lounge, just swank enough to host a sex toy event, or any private event that requires an intimate space and a bartender or two. I brought home some Body Chocolate to sample and could not have been more pleased (pun intended) with the outcome.

The Clever Girls party was also that night so I walked over to Hotel Solamar to check out all the goodies they had to offer. Somehow I missed the memo on the whole Smurfs theme, but it was fun to learn more about the film, the games and other goodies related to the upcoming film.

@Hip_m0m and @melysa_s

And finally, my last stop of the evening was at the Hard Rock Hotel where the lovely ladies behind Kiss Our Sass apparel hosted a party for singles.

Sponsored by @Match, this had to be the best party I had been to in a long time. I dipped my feet in the jacuzzi and got to mingle with the single lady & guy friend

s that I have grown to love over the years I spent as a single mom, many of whom I finally got to meet face-to-face for the first time.

Those ladies sure know how to throw a party! The photo booth was a hit as were the goodies found in the swag bag from their amazing sponsors.

If you attended the event, you’ll know that Happy Healthy Hip Parenting was also a participating partner so if you’d like more info on how you can receive some great services from me at a discount, mention #KissOurSass and I’ll hook you up with a relationship session that will change your dating experience and outlook from this day forward!

Day Two re-cap coming soon…

Happy Healthy Hip Parenting

SDBlogHunt sponsors and prizes announced

When I attended BlogHer for the first time in 2009, I was completely overwhelmed. There I stood, among hundreds, ok thousands, of my favorite bloggers and it took me a long time to get up the courage to introduce myself and finally say hello.

The best introduction I made at my first BlogHer conference involves my desperate request for a tampon when I suddenly, and unexpectedly got my period on my first day in Chicago.

There I was, in a room full of women. Women who were in big groups, talking, laughing, taking pictures and having a great time. I took my time, looked around the room and finally found the perfect target. There she was, standing with her back to me, standing by herself with an extra large purse over her shoulder. Surely, this woman had to have a tampon in there, somewhere.

Slowly, I worked my way over to her and before I even got a chance to see her face, I asked her if she had a tampon I could borrow. She gave me an odd look (pretty sure she was trying not to laugh) and proceeded to dig several tampons out of her bag. “How heavy is your flow?” she asked as she held up choices like I was standing in the feminine product aisle at the frickin’ pharmacy.

This is when I realize that I’m standing in front of Shauna Glenn. Yes, the Shauna Glenn. At this point, it’s much too late to start my introduction over, so I simply grab a tampon out of her hand and excuse myself while I hurried off to the ladies’ room to put myself back together.

As soon as I returned to the ballroom, I found Shauna again and made a proper introduction. After that, I found it pretty easy to walk up to people and say hello. And this is how the idea for my Scavenger Hunt got planted in my head.

I’ve been reading a lot about people who are nervous and anxious at the idea of being in the same room with thousands of their favorite bloggers and I know there are many who might feel uncomfortable making the first move as far as introductions go.

With the #SDBlogHunt, participants will be required to find several partnering bloggers and take a picture with them and/or their sponsor’s product. There will also be several San Diego location based photo clues and item clues that will encourage attendees to go up to random people and ask for tampons. Just kidding. Tampons are not on the list of clues, but you get the idea.

What I will tell you is that there are a great deal of sponsors already signed up to either donate prizes for the SDBlogHunt winners or participants and many bloggers who will be included among the Photo Clues along with their conference sponsor.

There’s still time to be included, whether you want to participate as a player in the Hunt or if you and your sponsor want to sign up to sponsor a Clue.

Sponsors and partnering bloggers include:

@SurferWife and @Eyedews
@SemperFiMomma and Jockey Person to Person
@SDbargainmama and @DearFoams
UCSD Social Media Professor, Becky Carroll (@Bcarroll7) and her new book, The Hidden Power of Your Customers
@cherishpaperieD and @CherishPaperie
#KissOurSass creators @Melysa_S & @SnglMomSurvives along with their party sponsor, @Match
Designs by Janessa (@DesignsbyJaness)
The Sexucator @sexucator
@SilverDolphin books
Don’t Speak Whinese online store (@dontspkwhinese)

Some sponsors are participating within the Hunt itself, while others have generously donated items for the winners of the #SDBlogHunt. Make sure to follow them online and thank them for their involvement in this fun event!

First place winner of the #SDBlogHunt will receive:
Large pack of children’s books from Silver Dolphin books
$75 to spend with Cherish Paperie
A g-twist vibrator and the g-spot creme ($80 value) from The Sexucator
Signed copy of Becky Carroll’s book, The Hidden Power of Your Customers
Hands-free nursing bra (Snowy Leopard print) from Pump Ease
Slippers from Dearfoams
A Copco To Go Hot Beverage Cup and a Starbucks card from @SDBlogConference
A full Every Drop Beauty Spatula Kit from @TryEveryDrop

Second place winner of the #SDBlogHunt will receive:
$75 to spend with Cherish Paperie
Large pack of children’s books from Silver Dolphin Books
Slippers from Dearfoams
“You are Perfect” t-shirt from the Y.O.U. Institute
A Copco To Go Hot Beverage Cup from @SDBlogConference

Every participant in the #SDBlogHunt has the opportunity to receive many more great items through the clues so be sure to follow the hashtag to find out more about individual bloggers and their sponsors!

The hunt takes place August 3 – 8th. Please RSVP if you want to play along.

Happy Healthy Hip Parenting
Peace Begins in the Home

Intent Web Awards

I’ve been blogging for just about four years now. Happy Healthy Hip Parenting was founded in August of 2007 and while it has brought me some great recognition over the years and introduced me to some great friends along the way, I really wouldn’t be doing what I was doing if it weren’t for the fact that you, my readers, come here and support me with your comments and share my articles with your own friends and family.

For you, I am grateful.

I’m also grateful for the Intent website, where I first listed my blog and began seeing my traffic stem from. Intent is an awesome website and community and one that I don’t visit often enough. Ironically, the profile pic that they use for me – the one with their little icon in the bottom corner – is the same one I use for just about everything so even though I don’t visit their site daily, I’m always reminded of them and how supportive they have been over the years.

Just today, I looked back at my previous intentions and one jumped out at me that I just have to share: “My intent is to be open to love.” I posted this back in July of 2009, just one month before I started dating the man who is now my husband. Pretty cool, right?!

Living with intention is something we should all strive for. The supportive communities you can join through the Intent website are wonderful. Similar to status updates on other social sites, you simply update your Intention whenever you see fit. Others can then support your intention and encourage you to reach your goals.

My new goal is to win their Best Parenting site award! If you have a few seconds, you can vote for us in the 2011 Intent Web Awards under their Parenting category. You can vote once a day through August 20th – no sign-ups, logins or “likes” required!

Please let me know how I can support you!

Happy Healthy Hip Parenting
Peace Begins in the Home

Father’s Day Gift Guide

Our 2011 Happy Healthy Hip Father’s Day Gift Guide will inspire you to pick out something for the dad in your life that he probably would never think to buy himself.

For the Sports Enthusiast:

Those Guys Have All the Fun: Inside the World of ESPNEX3D Glasses (to enjoy ESPN 3D)

For the Gamer:

Monopoly Nintendo
Jesus saves after each level T-shirt
iCade Arcade Cabinet for iPad

For the Grill Master:

Grill Seargeant men’s apron
Dad’s BBQ Branding Iron
Cedar Grilling Planks

For the Bartender:

iBottle Opener
Buzbox Stackable Grid Ice Cube Trays – Double Pack
Beer Making Kit
Mixology Starter Set

For the Working Man:

File Folders with Attitude
Scratch and Scroll Mousepad

For the Music Lover:

Griffin AirCurve Acoustic Amplifier for iPhone (Clear)
Sleep Phones
Pickmaster Plectrum Punch

Happy Father’s Day!

Happy Healthy Hip Parenting
Peace Begins in the Home

Size does matter

If I didn’t have kids, I would still drive a mini-van, in fact, I drove a mini-van in high school and for a brief period during college. True story. Of course, it was my parents’ vehicle in high school and I inherited it after moving away to school.

It was the party van when I was behind the wheel – only because it fit so many passengers that I quickly became the official designated driver for every occasion. Of course, that meant I had to spend the night wherever we were if alcohol was involved but that was fine with me. I could sleep in the back comfortably with the seats down. I’d use blankets and a sleeping bag to stay warm so it was perfect for me for so many reasons.

My snowboard fit perfectly in the back as well, so the seats usually remained folded down. I’d use the back to get dressed and undressed after a day on the hill.

For a small period after this mini-van stage, I did drive smaller cars. I drove a Plymouth Horizon, a 1967 VW Beetle and a 1999 Honda Civic. The Civic was what I was driving when my first son was born. It didn’t take too long to realize that it wasn’t the most convenient vehicle to get a car seat in and out of after having a c-section. I hit my head one too many times backing out of the back seat after getting him settled into his spot. It got old really fast, although I do wish I had the luxury of having my mid-life crisis car on hand as well.

The third generation Nissan Quest came out in early 2004 and with its unique design (at the time), it appealed to me in many ways. I purchased a brand new SL edition when my son was just 4 months old. It was the perfect upgrade for a new mom. The features were great, especially the automatic doors and the fact that I could sit in the back row seat to breastfeed, change his diaper and easily store the stroller along with groceries and large boxes of diapers without compromise.

When I moved (two times in the last two years), the seats folded down to reveal the massive space where I was able to fit dozens of boxes, furniture and pretty much every single one of my possessions. And now that I have a new baby, I’m revisiting the back row to breastfeed and change his diaper. And, once again, the Costco trips are much easier with the automatic back door that allows room for the big boxes of items we stock up on every month.

Recently, I had the opportunity to test drive the new 2011 Nissan Quest and although I didn’t have my kids with me at the time (I was pregnant with Baby #2) I fell in love with the new features that make this 4th generation mini-van even more appealing than my current vehicle (the 2004 Nissan Quest).

The back seats go down now with the touch of a button and the windows roll down in the second row where my kids would be. My oldest son would love this feature. He always complains that his window doesn’t open. I know we’d all appreciate the dual opening glass moonroof. The Clean Air System is also an exciting feature since it filters out the cigarette smoke coming from the car in front of you (my biggest pet peeve while driving).

The body of this mini-van stands out again as it does not look like a mini-van nor does it look like a boxy SUV. Driving it was a dream. It felt like a luxury vehicle and (maybe because my kids weren’t in the back) it did not feel like I was driving a big car with room for 7 passengers.

My family is visiting soon and I’m eager to put the 2011 Nissan Quest to the ultimate test. I’m waiting to find out if we’ll be able to have an extended test drive in March so that each of the seats can be utilized and we can truly check out all of the features and get the full experience of having the car in our possession for more than a few hours.

If I didn’t have kids, I would still drive a mini-van and the 2011 Nissan Quest would be the one I would choose if I could.

Nissan provided me with a spa treatment and lunch on the day of my #NissanQuestDrive experience.

Happy Healthy Hip Parenting
Peace Begins in the Home

Losing the Baby Weight

My baby is a week old already and up until a few days ago, I was feeling good about losing the baby weight one day at a time. Up until my older son told me that I no longer looked pregnant; I look fat. Yeah, at least he’s honest.

Luckily, I have the #NewYearNewMe challenge to look forward to. I feel like I’ve already made progress. The CalorieStory app on Facebook keeps track of my daily calorie budget and with the help of the amazing sponsors of this weight loss / get healthier challenge, I’m excited to share my goals and work toward reaching them.

This year, and this month in particular, I  pledge to exercise for at least 30 minutes three times a week, take the stairs when I can and eat a healthy breakfast each morning.

Take the pledge with me and challenge yourself to a New You this month. It’s a New Year and you deserve the best start possible. Every pledge you make enters you into a drawing to win some great prizes from the following sponsors.

The Carb Lovers Diet is a book filled with recipes that I immediately started to incorporate into my daily routine. Eating oatmeal with bananas, walnuts & cinnamon is a  healthy and delicious breakfast. I’m excited to try out the other recipes that feature the thing that I craved most during my pregnancy: carbs.

I won’t fit into it just yet, but another sponsor, Our Love Yoga, sent a beautiful purple tank top which I plan on using once I reach my weight loss goal.

Yoga Pulse DVDs were also provided for my participation in this month-long challenge and Goodbelly sent a 12-day supply of their Pomegranate Blackberry flavored probiotic drinks. You can take their 12-day challenge as well. They’re so sure Goodbelly will put a smile on your face after 12 short days that they guarantee it, or it’s free!

Larabar, another sponsor, sent a t-shirt and a bag of 100 calorie fruit & nut bars, made of 100% whole food. They come in a variety of flavors and I have yet to find one that I do not like. I threw a few in the diaper bag already and everyone in my house has been enjoying them since they arrived and I intend to refill our supply as soon as we run out.

Head on over to Facebook to make your pledge, invite your friends to support you and your goals for creating a healthier you. You deserve it!

Happy Healthy Hip Parenting
Peace Begins in the Home

Tiny Prints, Big Smiles

For the first time in years, I’m looking forward to the holiday season.

Our blended family will be celebrating our first Thanksgiving together, our first Christmas as a family and welcoming the newest member of our tribe as we get closer to 2011.

This year, I’m also excited to send out holiday cards, something I’ve dreaded in the past (single parents tend to have a hard time finding pictures of themselves with their children, so finding photos to use in past years was way more stressful than fun).

My husband and I recently spent one evening designing our 2010-2011 holiday cards on the Tiny Prints website. Even though I was getting a little frustrated with the process (picking a design that would work with the photos we wanted to include and finding the perfect font), it ended up being a fun experience as we pored over photos from this year (and laughing a lot). After a couple of hours (and a few drinks for my husband), we created a beautiful photo card that we’ll be sending out to family and friends.

I was introduced to Tiny Prints many years ago and have watched them grow through their use of social media and expanding of their product line and the many designs they offer. When we were given the opportunity to receive our holiday cards from them in exchange for a review, I jumped at the opportunity since I have admired their simplicity and style for years.

The hardest part of the process was picking out a design. There seem to be almost too many to choose from although I managed to dwindle down my top picks to about a dozen templates before my husband and I finally selected one that worked. We chose a tri-fold, double-sided design which allows room for four photos and personalized text.

We included a large close-up of my son, an ultrasound profile pic of baby (due to arrive January 2nd) and a few pictures from our summer wedding.

Even though we haven’t even sent out our cards yet, I’m already looking forward to start our next project – designing baby announcements from the Tiny Prints collection. We only have a few dozen or so designs saved in our account to choose from.

Tiny Prints provides simple, modern and unique stationery from Christmas cards to personalized greeting cards to thank you cards and even business cards. Offering exclusive designs from the nation’s top designers, easy card personalization, a powerful preview engine and top-notch customer service and paper quality, their designs have been lauded by numerous television networks, publications and celebrities.

Tiny Prints offer perfect party invitations for every occasion and memorable personalized photo-gifts like notebooks, photo-books and calendars.

Disclosure Statement: We received complimentary holiday cards in exchange for our honest review and mention of the Tiny Prints product line. If you have a blog, you can apply to review them too!

Happy Healthy Hip Parenting
Peace Begins in the Home