Wednesday, August 27, 2014

40% Off Gymboree Labor Day SALE!

Gymboree is having a Labor Day SALE!
40% Off everything for a limited time, 
plus, today only, receive and additional 
20% off on orders of $100.
Use code SAVEMORE at checkout.

Monday, August 25, 2014

45% Off At GAP!

This morning I received an amazing offer from GAP!
45% with coupon DEAL1.
 Online only. Ends 8/27
This promotion is just in time to stock up
 on back-to-school styles and fall layers for the whole family.

Friday, August 22, 2014

The Double Stroller Dilemma

I am now in the market for a double stroller, since in a few months we're awaiting an addition to our family. After obsessively researching all available options, I got as far as deciding on a side by side stroller rather than a tandem. Hopefully, the better weight distribution in a side by side stroller will make it easier for me to push and turn corners. As a side note on tandems, strollers where the back seat is bellow the front, practically under your feet, are my pet peeves. It may be comfortable for a parent to push (arguably), but there's so much dust and pollutants closer to the ground. Why would you want your baby sucking all that up? Plus, it's just not fair that one child always has to look at the other's behind.

Now that I've decided on a side by side stroller,  I'm stomped. After exploring all options, I can't say that I'm thrilled with any of them. Seriously, why can't someone just design a perfect stroller? How hard can it be? I'm probably asking for too much, but here's what I would ideally want out of a double stroller:

1. All terrain wheels
2. Relatively narrow (but not uncomfortably so) frame.
3. Not a heavy tank (after all, I might actually have to shove it into the car or take it down stairs)
4. Multi-position seat recline with flat option.
5. Reversible seats (very few brands offer this option, but it's great to be able to face the newborn, while having the toddler face the street)
6. High adjustable handle
7. Adjustable leg rest -I'm a big believer in kids sleeping with legs outstretched, not hanging down.
8. Bumper bar (two individual bars would be ideal)
9. Large individual canopies 
10. Quality fabrics that are not sweat inducing (I've been very spoiled by Aprica's breathable 3D air mesh seats. All strollers should be made with those.)
11. Removable, washable seat pads
12. Attractive design and colors (no black strollers for me!)
13. Simple, convenient recline mechanism
14. Simple fold (Ha! An oxymoron on a twin stroller)
15. Adequate leg room between the edge of seat and foot rest (Should comfortably fit a child till age 4)
16. Car seat and bassinet compatible would be an added bonus but not a deal breaker for me.
17. The price of the stroller should not break the bank (ruling out all Bugaboos).

Phew! I think I covered it all. None of the strollers I've seen have all of the above features, which means I have to settle for something less than ideal, which means I will probably be agonizing over my choices till my toddler will grow out of strollers all together. There's a tiny little flint of hope that at the ABC Kids Expo in September, some stroller brand will surprise us with a new model that will be sheer perfection. But, what are the odds?

So here are my choices so far. If anyone can present me with more options that would fit the bill better, please do!

What's lacking:
1. Wider and heavier than I'd like
2. Seats can't be reversed (though there's a bassinet option)
3. Canopy is inadequate (though they advertise it as being oversized, it's really average)
4. Fold is anything but simple
5. Not enough leg room (this has been remedied on Indie single stroller, but not on double)
6. Expensive!

 On a plus side, it does come in a variety of attractive colors, the fabrics are good quality, the handle, recline and foot rest are easily adjustable and there are individual bumper bars and all terrain wheels. A bassinet and car seat adapter can be purchased separately. This stroller is so close to perfect, it's just a shame that it stops short. If only Bumbleride updated the leg rest like on a single Indie, extended the canopies and made the stroller just slightly narrower, I'd overlook the annoying fold and the outrageous price.

What's Lacking:
1. Seats can't be reversed (there's a bassinet option)
2. Leg rest doesn't adjust
3. The seats are narrow and shallow.
4. Only one bumper bar
5. Only comes in 2 colors, neither one of which appeal to me. Looks way too utilitarian.

Redeeming qualities:
Width - only 25 inches! That's really awesome for navigating the urban jungle. Not sure how comfortable the narrow seats are for a growing toddler though. I would have to test drive it in the store to see.  Adjustable handle. Construction seems to be quite solid.
Please Mountain Buggy, for 2015 make this stroller in aqua or ocean blue with an adjustable leg rest!

What's Lacking:
1. No adjustable leg rest
2. One solid bumper bar (I prefer two)
3. Very heavy! 
4. Though pretty average for a double, it's wider than I'd like
5. Seats can't be reversed but there's a bassinet option
6. Recline is achieved by zippers
7. Expensive and hard to find in USA (This stroller is made for UK market)

Redeeming Qualities:
Awesome suspension! While most strollers with air tires have a soft ride only due to the bounce of pneumatic wheels, this one has the added suspension springs in the back. All reviews state that this stroller is made to very high standards and pushes like a dream. I like the canopies with flip out mesh visors. It's also one of few side by side strollers that can accommodate two car seats (not a feature that I personally need). Though this stroller goes against my better judgement as it's a huge tank, I am a sucker for quality. It's a bummer that I can't find the ocean blue color, which is my favorite, anywhere in the US. 

What's lacking:
1. Not all terrain, but a decent push with front and back suspension. 
2. Not crazy about any of the color options.
3. Doesn't seem to be very durable. Disturbing amount of negative reviews in regards to quality.
4. Expensive

This stroller seems to have everything I'm looking for: Independently reversible seats, two flip-open bumper bars, flat recline, adjustable leg rest and handle. Canopies are awesome with a flip out visors and mesh insert in the back. You also get a lot of extras with this stroller that other companies sell separately: rain cover, mosquito nets, two foot muffs and a matching diaper bag. The stroller can accommodate two car seats or bassinets. Everything sounds amazing, but the quality glitches make me very nervous. 

What's Lacking:
1. Seats don't reverse
2. Not all-terrain (pneumatic back wheels can be purchased separately)
3. Though I haven't seen this stroller in person yet, I have a feeling the quality of fabrics may not be up to my standards.

Redeeming Qualities: 
At 28 lb, this stroller is much lighter than my other choices. I love the fact that the leg rest is adjustable without sacrificing leg room. The foot rest is way down there, leaving plenty of room for growth. Individual bumper bars and adjustable handle. The stroller can also be rolled like luggage when folded. 
Wish it had all air tires and better fabric.

Another amazing stroller in desperate need of a redesign.
What's lacking:
1. Seats are not reversible
2. Foot rest not adjustable
3. Handle is not adjustable, though the high happens to be just right for me.
4. Single bumper bar
5. Only 2 backrest positions - sitting up or reclining. What is this, 1970's Russia?
6. Small sun canopies. The single Coco stroller is equipped with a huge, gorgeous canopy, I don't understand why the double can't have the same.
7. Short distance between the seat edge and footrest.
8. Currently this stroller is only available in Japan and Hawaii. However, there's some hope that perhaps in 2015, Air Buggy will make it to US mainland.

Though this stroller is seriously lacking in many areas, it does have some extremely redeeming qualities. At 28lb it's one of the lightest all-terrain double strollers that I've seen. The Zee Two is also 28lb, but it has many more plastic parts and lacks pneumatic wheels. Air Buggy is made solid and is known for a super smooth ride.  It's slightly narrower (28 inches) than all other options with the exception of Mountain Buggy Duet. The fabrics are high quality and the stroller is easy to fold. If only Air Buggy would update the canopies and bring the recline options and mechanism into the 21st century, I would overlook all of it's other minuses and this would be my stroller of choice.

Some of you may wonder why Baby Jogger City Mini GT is not one of my choices. After all, it closely resembles Air Buggy Coco Double, only with larger canopies, an adjustable handle and more leg room. Sadly, despite the immense popularity of Baby Jogger, it is not up to my standards. Too many plastic parts and the stroller doesn't actually provided a smooth ride. Strangely, despite the air filled tires, the GT is seriously lacking in suspension. I test-drove my friend's stroller and noticed a very stark difference over my Bumbleride Indie single. You may argue that the  difference in wheel size give Indie an advantage, but Air Buggy disproves this theory, providing a perfectly smooth glide over any surface on it's 8 inch wheels. Also, at 32 lb and 30 inches wide, the GT really has no advantages over Indie Twin, which is only 2 lbs heavier. Another thing I dislike about the Baby Jogger are the fabrics. Perhaps some parents appreciate that the seat is hard-wearing and easy to wipe clean, but I would feel bad making my child sit on that stiff, squeaky, stifling nylon with zero breathability factor. Once again, I was spoiled by the absolute luxurious fabrics on my mini Aprica stroller and there's just no going back. True, better fabrics may take a little more maintenance, but I have no problem removing the seats and popping them into a washing machine when necessary.

I also did not mention any of the numerous stroller brands that make double strollers with three wheels instead of four. Tipping over a double stroller when coming down a curb is not something I ever want to experience. Hence, I stick with four wheels.

So, dear readers, if you have any experience with any of the above strollers, or can suggest another option, do chirp in!

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Stroller Liners And Accessories SALE!

Zulily is having a SALE on Cotton stroller liners. These liners are reversible, so you get two looks for the price of one! In addition to liners, many useful stroller accessories are also on sale.

Monday, August 18, 2014

New Britax 2015 Marathon, Boulevard, and Advocate Car Seats Preview

Britax has just unveiled new versions of Marathon, Boulevard, and Advocate car seats for 2015 with  a new, ClickTight installation system. So many awesome changes have been introduced to these seats. First and foremost, no more latches! Can you believe it? Seriously, my mouth dropped open when I saw the new installation system Britax has in store for us. Second notable change that I'm pretty excited about is a 7 position recline. Finally, your child can get some good, comfortable sleep in the car! Also, the Boulevard and Advocate ClickTight models have been updated with taller height limits, both is the rear-facing and forward facing positions. All three models will be available in a variety of new color options. Britax will also be offering an anti rebound bar as an optional accessory. 
The new models will be somewhat heavier than the G4 versions, but hopefully the extra bulk will translate into safer and more comfortable seats for your little ones.
I gotta say, I'm really looking forward to seeing these seats in person. The ClickTight models should start appearing in stores in mid to late September. Stay tuned for a complete review.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Adorable Leather Baby Shoe On SALE

Zulily is having a sale on various brands of high quality leather first walker baby and toddler shoes.
There are lots of adorable styles to choose from. This sale came just in time, as my toddler is due for another pair!

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Monday, June 9, 2014

Best Lightweight Strollers 2014

Being a petite, skinny (oh wait, that was before baby!) lady and having to log a stroller up and down a flight of stairs every day, I'm always on a lookout for an amazing lightweight stroller. I do have two of those already, but new ones come out all the time and I'm not ruling out the possibility that maybe I'll be swayed to upgrade. 
Disclaimer:  I always had a suspicion that Europe and Japan produces some amazing strollers. Some of these buggies/pushchairs make a lot of sense in my mind. That is why I included in my "best stroller" list some models that are not sold in US. If you're in love with any of them, don't despair. In our modern day and age, for the right price, anything can be shipped anywhere. That is how I ended up with an Aprica stroller made for the Japanese market. Were the shipping charges worth it? To me, YES!

Here are some of the most innovative (in my opinion) Light Weight Strollers of 2014.

Recaro Easylife Stroller
Due in stores around July
Weighs 12.5 lb
All wheel spring suspension ensures a smooth ride
One-hand compact fold
Stands upright when folded
Multi-position recline 
Decent size sun canopy
Breathable mesh fabric
Decent size basket
Will be available in 6 colors!

Could be better:
Leg rest is not adjustable,
Can't be used for babies younger than 9 months,
No bumper bar.

Overall, this looks like a promising little stroller! The compact fold will make it very convenient for travel. 

Weighs 13lb
Shock absorbents on all wheels
Multi position recline
Compact fold
Adjustable leg rest
Large basket
Comes with rain cover and mosquito net
Available in 10 colors!

Could be better: 
Canopy is inadequate in my opinion. 
A canopy extender can be purchased separately.
Bumper bar is sold separately.

This stroller has a very elegant appearance due to it's slim frame and vibrant colors. Plenty of user-friendly features.

Weighs 17lb
Sleek aluminum frame
One hand multi-position seat recline
All wheel suspension
Roomy seat
Adjustable leg rest
360 ° swivel, lockable wheels
Removable canopy with mesh window
Includes rain cover

Could be better:
At 17lb, it's not as light as some other options.
The basket is pretty small.
When folded, the canopy lies against the wheels, 
which is my pet peeve in umbrella strollers.
This is not unusual, but many lightweight strollers 
are now made with a more sensible fold.

This stroller is sleek and packs lots of style. More importantly, the seat is very roomy for a larger child.

Weighs 6lb - lightest reclining stroller I've ever seen!
Available in 4 colors
Multi-position backrest recline
All wheel suspension
Swing aside bumper bar
One hand compact fold
Stands upright when folded
Can be rolled like luggage when folded
Decent basket, considering the size of stroller
Breathable, washable seat liner

Could be better:
No leg rest. Canopy is small, 
but how much can we expect, 
considering the stroller weight? 
Not for bumpy roads.

Don't be fooled by this baby's size. Amazingly, it packs many features that are not commonly seen on such lightweight strollers, like a reclining seat, bumper bar and suspension. This stroller also has a slightly bigger brother, Magical Air Plus, weighing 7.3 lb. The difference is, slightly larger wheels, canopy and ventilation system on the seat back. 

Weighs 16lb
Accepts Maxi Cosi Mico and Prezi infant car seats
Multi-position backrest recline
Adjustable leg rest
Stands upright when folded
Reversible seat liner  
Decent size basket
Wheel suspension
Includes parent cup holder
Available in 3 colors

Could be better:
No  bumper bar,
No peekaboo window on canopy,
The canopy is just average. I wish it was larger.

 I absolutely love the vibrant color of the Bohemian Blue and the fact that this stroller can be used with an infant car seat. 

Weighs 17lb
Huge canopy completely shields from the sun
Peekaboo window on canopy
Multi-position recline
Adjustable foot rest
Pocket on the back of canopy
Comes with carrying case
Decent size basket
Available in 6 colors/patterns

Could be better:
Not the lightest in it's class,
Canopy touches the wheels when folded.
Difficult to access basket when stroller is reclined.

This is a gorgeous, if not so light, umbrella stroller! I am mesmerized by the "Apple Of My Eye" color. The canopy is the best I've seen on umbrella strollers so far. Lots of matching accessories, like winter muff, rain cover, seat pad, baby blankets, diaper bags, bibs, hats and mittens are also available.

Weighs 13lb
One hand, multi-position seat recline
Large canopy
Adjustable leg rest
Zipper pocket on the back of canopy
Carrying handle
Decent size basket
Lockable front swivel wheels
Available in 5 colors

Could be better:
No bumper bar,
Basket is hard to get to.

Weighs 13lb
Multi-position recline
Adjustable leg rest
One hand umbrella fold
Stands upright when folded
Wheels with suspension
Height adjustable handles
Peekaboo window on hood
Carrying handle
Parent cup
Available in 7 colors 

Could be better:
No bumper bar,
Basket is small and hard to access,
Need two hands to recline.

This is a great stroller to take on public transportation because of it's swift fold, carrying handle and ability to stand upright.

Weighs 17.6lb
Multi position recline
Adjustable leg rest
Extra large canopy with peekaboo window
Very easy fold
Stands upright when folded
Roomy seat
Car seat compatible
Flip flop friendly break
Large basket
Available in 5 colors

Could be better:
No bumper bar,
Not as light as some other strollers in it's class.

I love that the seat reclines to an almost flat position and that the stroller is car seat compatible. The huge canopy makes it very baby friendly.

Weighs 17.6lb
All terrain air tires
Stands upright when folded
Bumper bar
Extra large canopy with peekaboo window
Canopy doesn't make any noise when being adjusted
Breathable seat fabric 
Holes in the rigid seat back insert for ventilation.
Large basket with zippers on the sides for easier access
Includes rain cover, drink holder and air pump
Available in 4 colors

Could be better:
Seat has only 2 positions - upright or reclined.
Leg rest is not adjustable. 
Bumper bar is removable, but doesn't swing aside.
Back recline is achieved by two zippers on either side of the stroller.

I just had to include this stroller in the lineup because, although it's not an umbrella stroller, it's the lightest stroller with all terrain wheels that I've seen. It reminds me of Baby Jogger City Mini GT, but it's 3 lbs lighter than the GT, with an aluminum frame. Also, while the GT back wheels are 24.5 inches wide, the Airbuggy Coco is only 22.8 inches wide! That is a pretty narrow frame, convenient for navigating urban chaos. Airbuggy also makes a version of this stroller with a hand break, which is available in 11 colors and is only 21 inches wide at it's widest point! Sadly, the break version is not as light, at 21 lbs.
Airbuggy strollers are made for the Japanese market, are also sold in Hawaii or can be ordered from Global Rakuten.