I've been anxiously awaiting this event despite the fact Ethan is 19 months old and I am in no way, shape or form even near considering the arrival of another sweet, cherubic infant in the foreseeable future because, well, baby stuff just rules. I think the only thing more fantastic than being able to browse all of the crazily awesome baby gear (that has somehow advanced by leaps and bounds even since I was pregnant with Ethan) with awe and aww would be being able to interact with vendors from companies of whom I am a huge fan. Melissa and I were able to learn about some pretty incredible companies and products, meet some fabulous people and enjoy some delicious food and "mocktails" (I just learned that word yesterday. Am I living under a rock or what?). It was a great night finalized by Melissa winning a Beco carrier -- totally cool, right?!
The first thing we did was grab a delicious "mocktail" (now that I learned it, I'm totally going to wear it out) and a great bag from the folks at The Bump. It feels like it was just yesterday I had initially signed up with them after a positive pregnancy test and I still rely on their weekly toddler updates to ensure me that Ethan is on par to where he's supposed to be and as awesome as I think he is.
First up, was the Pediped table, which I was can't-contain-myself excited about from first glance.
Sitting on the table in front of Pediped's so very awesome marketing associate, Kelly, is an assortment of some of Pediped's supportive-as-they-are-adorable shoes. I'm a total barefoot hippie and am steadily raising Ethan to be the same so what I admire most about Pediped is that their shoes are the closest thing to bare feet. The natural, top of the line arch support they provide is out of this world. When Kelly showed me a pair of their newest toddler shoes with memory foam inside, I was in baby shoe heaven.
Next up was another vendor I was excited to meet: Babyganics! We've been using Babyganics products for all our sanitizing and cleaning needs since Ethan was born and, not to mention, their wipes are the only wipes (ever!) I will let go near Ethan, even for something as quick and seemingly harmless as a hand wipe-off. Their gentle products with safe and efficient ingredients are fabulous cleansers, even at removing some pretty harsh stains (I am the mom who lets my kid run his matchbox cars through a vat of coffee grounds and cocoa powder, so it's totally cool if you take my word on this one).
One of the vendors I was most excited for was Happy Family! Ethan has essentially grown up on their products (insert nostalgic memories of infant Ethan only being able to tolerate grocery shopping if he could share the cart with containers of Happy Baby puffs!) and still to this day enjoys their fruit puree pouches (fruit pops, anyone?) as a quick snack. It was awesome to meet Happy Mama Keymia and get a glimpse at some of Happy Family's newest products geared for toddlers!
As I mentioned, Melissa won a Beco baby carrier in one of the raffles! Beco carriers are awesome and so was their display at the Biggest Baby Shower last night!
If there's one familiar and constant name in the stroller and baby product industry, it's Maclaren. Maclaren had some amazing stroller accessories and other goodies on display -- plus some really awesome raffles going on (free stroller, anyone?!). In a sheer coincidence, it also turns out that Maclaren's marketing representative and I went to middle school together many, many years go. Small world, big baby shower.
When it comes to baby carriers, Ergo is my go-to and my admitted favorite. Can we discuss how absolutely adorable this black-and-silver star pattern is?!
While on the Ergobaby floor, we got the chance to meet with Orbitbaby and test run some strollers. I know I keep saying no new babies in my future, but that doesn't mean that testing out double strollers isn't fun. Melissa and I had a blast giving Orbit's amazing double stroller a test run. The stroller was absolutely gorgeous and extremely streamlined, which I imagine is vital in a double stroller (some of them are like buses!). Orbit's marketing rep was too, too sweet (and I'm not saying that only because she assured us it was no big deal Melissa steered the stroller right into some guy!).
After taking a break for some latkes -- this Jewish girl was in latkes-with-applesauce-and-sour-cream heaven -- we continued on through the ballroom to gawk at all of the great displays. Project Nursery had an exquisite set-up!
Another vendor I was ecstatic to mingle with was Joovy. I've been admiring their Room2 for travel purposes for so long now that I couldn't wait to check it out in person and discuss the features with their representative. As it turned out, we were flooded with information on great, new products from Joovy and introduced to their fabulous representative, Pam, who let us in on a sneak peak for Joovy's new bottle called...wait for it...Boob. Love it.
Joovy's new Boob bottle is pretty epic. Though bottle-shopping is a thing of our past, I'm always saying how I absolutely refuse to go for plastic bottles again with any future children. Of course, I tried glass while Ethan was an infant and, well, let's just say those shards have long since been vacuumed up and tossed away. What makes the Boob bottle truly neat is that it's made of a special plastic called PPSU which does not absorb odor or color. It's a medical-grade plastic that is even packaged under utmost care. While I was trying to wrap my mind around the sheer epicness of the Boob, Pam also showed me Joovy's Moon Room which just about outdid any super-duper high expectations I already had. How absolutely fantastic is the Moon Room?!
Though you pretty much had to pry Melissa and I away from the Joovy display, we did manage to snap a final picture of us with Pam and our Boobs. (Yeah, I'm like a 12-year-old. I had to go there.)
It was love at first sight for me with Quinny's Moodd by Britto stroller. It is described by Quinny as "majestic" and it truly is, every last bit of it. I sat there staring at it while angels sang and imagined how dapper Ethan would look, cruising and strolling under the shade of the too, too cute little umbrella. One touch automatic unfolding? Use from birth through 50 pounds? Love it. It's also compatible with Maxi-Cosi's plush, comfortable Mico and Prezi infant seats. I've already decided in the event I have another infant (like how many times I've said that despite having begun this post with the bottom-line that nothing of the sort is in my near future?), they'll be snuggled up safely for travel in Maxi Cosi's Prezi.
Another great vendor that fell steafast into the why didn't I know about this before I had Ethan? category were Daddy Scrubs. Though their New Daddy scrubs are pretty much the greatest, they also have a whole slew of gifts for the dad-to-be and new dad, from t-shirts to the all-too-hilarious Daddy's Diaper Changing Toolbox.
We got to watch another neat double stroller demo by Phil & Ted's sweet rep and, really guys, I'm just in awe at how intricate these double strollers are! There's definitely a style for everybody. Phil & Ted's double stroller was another gorgeous one!
Ella's Kitchen's motto is "good in every sense" and their rep Erika's motto should totally be "fantastic in every sense." She was a wealth of knowledge on the products that Ella's Kitchen creates and even sent me home with a fun shaker for Ethan. (Kid loves his musical instruments!) She also sent me home with some of Ella's Kitchen's natural teething cookies which Ethan happily taste tested and devoured this afternoon as he un-cleaned the house in my wake as I attempted to tidy. For all of you mamas to littler ones, keep an eye on Melissa's blog for a potential Ella's Kitchen review and giveaway (er, spoiler alert?).
We also had the chance to meet the ladies of Bibbitec who will be appearing on an episode of Shark Tank this week. Their product is extremely cool and they had me convinced during their demo. If maple syrup can wipe straight off their bibs (which can also be used as smocks in bigger kids) without a single bit of residue leftover, I imagine these would have been pretty handy during the days of beginning solids. Which isn't to say Ethan doesn't eat like a total slob despite the fact he mostly has a grasp on using his utensils but, you know, those days of wiping up green bean puree are still fresh in my mind. These would be fantastic smocks for art projects for bigger toddlers and children, too!
Melissa and I finished the evening off with massive quantities of cotton candy and an apology to our Stroller Strides instructor (Hi, Silvia! We love you!) who is out on maternity leave and can't beat us up too badly right now.
I would also like to extend a huge thank-you to Robin Diamond, PR and marketing goddess who made this whole thing possible. Thank you for everything, Robin! Melissa and I had a blast!