Happy Family Tot Review and Giveaway

review picI still remember the day I discovered what is known in our house as “the pouch.” I saw one in a Starbucks the day before I was scheduled to take Graham on a plane to Boston where we were just about to get settled. I needed to find snacks for him to eat easily. He was only 11 months old and I wasn’t looking forward to spooning baby food into his mouth on the plane. The puree pouch was miraculous. And I started finding them on the shelves at BabiesRUs shortly after that. They’ve been a staple ever since. They are usually in my purse, they’re something the kids can eat for any meal of the day, and even Graham has been known to take them in his lunch box.

My independent eaters love to be able to feed themselves without utensils and without a mess. It’s really a win-win for everyone.

happy familyWhile I love the pouches, there are now so many brands out there that it can get a little overwhelming. But I definitely have my favorites after using pretty much all the brands there are. Among my favorites: Happy Family. 

My favorite things? 

  • Price. Some of these pouches are around $2 each! I can consistently find Happy Family pouches for close to $1.
  • Bulk. I can find whole boxes of Happy Family pouches and get them for less than $1 each. Right now I pick them up every time we go to BJ’s.
  • Multiple Food Groups. My kids are always avoiding something, be it vegetables or grains or dairy. The Happy Family pouches don’t have just fruit and even go beyond the fruit/veggie combo. They also have salba grain, great for my carb-avoiders. And they have new Greek Yogurt pouches when someone’s going on a milk strike.
  • Organic. I don’t always get to go organic for my kids, so that’s a plus.

The kind folks at Happy Family sent over some of their products for the kiddos to try out and we’ll be giving away a bundle of Happy Family loot!

Happy Family Toddler Giveaway

 

We got 4 new kinds of pouches to try: the Plus pouch with loads of healthy boosting ingredients (kale, apple and mango), the Greek Yogurt pouches (one with kale, apple, spinach and one with pomegranate, apple and beet), the Super pouch (with Acai grape and apple) and the Treat pouch (caramel apple). My kids went through the Plus, Greek Yogurt and Super pouches just as fast as they usually do. All finished, all happy.

As for the Treat pouch, that came in handy for a bit of healthy bribery (only 100 calories) while I finished this post.

In addition to the pouches we got happyyogis (yogurt/fruit drops), happy munchies (carrot rice cakes) and toddler meal bowls. The yogurt melts went fast and while they were a little puzzled by the rice cakes, they happily took them when they realized they were just like a chip. 

The only thing that wasn’t a resounding success was the toddler meal bowls. But then again, my kids don’t really like it when their food touches. So they don’t like ANY meal bowls.

I’m definitely pleased with the new pouches. I need to get as many nutrients into my picky kids as I can and they almost never say no to a pouch. And we’ll be adding the rice cakes to our snack routine.

If you want to find Happy Family products near you, check out the Store Locator.

And YOU can win a Happy Family toddler pack, too!

Happy Family Recipes
Happy Family reusable tote bag
Take One coupons
(2) Free Trial coupons for each: Happy Yogis, Happy Tot Plus, Happy Tot toddler meal bowls, Happy Tot pouches
Hey, free snacks for your kids. Get a chance to see what they think of the Happy Tot offerings. Good luck!
Here’s how you can enter:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thanks to Happy Family for providing us with their product for this review and giveaway.

The Great June Book Giveaway

I was getting ready to write another roundup of summer reads when I realized I have half a million books in my house. 

I have to share the love.

So today it’s GIVEAWAY TIME!! FREE BOOKS, Y’ALL!!

There are too many to send to just one person so I’ve divided them up into 4 separate giveaways. Yes, I know, I’m crazy.

I’ll choose 4 winners and they’ll get to choose their prize in order they’re chosen. 

The Greatest Hits Bundle New books by Curtis Sittenfeld, Colum McCann, Karen Russell, Jonathan Lethem, Chris Bohjalian, Jhumpa Lahiri, Aimee Bender and Alexander McCall Smith. This list is ridiculous. 

The Crime Fiction Bundle with thrillers and mysteries galore.

The Historical Fiction Bundle WWII, 1960s South, depression-era adventure, and romance straight from the Romantic. 

The Kitchen Sink Bundle has all the rest, a little bit of everything for the reader who wants it all.

Here’s a peek at the titles. These are all pinned from their Goodreads pages so go ahead and click through to see more about them.

 [alpine-phototile-for-pinterest src=”board” uid=”jessicaesquire” board=”the-great-june-book-giveaway” imgl=”pinterest” dl=”1″ dlstyle=”medium” style=”wall” row=”4″ num=”20″ size=”192″ shadow=”1″ border=”1″ align=”center” max=”100″]

So enter using the Rafflecopter below. I’ll also have it up at Red Letter Reads, where we’ve been tearing it up with some great reviews.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good luck, everyone!

Crowning a Fetching Winner

It’s been over a month since this happened. I’ve been glasses-less for weeks.

But today I had a happy package waiting for me. My new frames from the lovely folks at Fetch.

Here’s the new me wearing Sadie in Ballet.

Going so long without glasses means it’s a little bit of a readjustment, but I feel really great. My glasses compliment my face and serve as an eye-catching accessory instead of just a way to see stuff that’s far away.

Which brings me to the winner of the giveaway! It was SUPER hard to choose, you guys, and I just had to pick the finalists. I was so impressed with your boards. 

Ultimately I narrowed it down to 3 that I dubbed Red & Black, Unique You and Roman Holiday. I loved how all 3 boards had a theme and drew on a great variety of elements to really give you a feel for a specific style. Plus they all worked with the glasses perfectly.

I sent off my finalists to Fetch and they have crowned the winner: Mayette with her Unique You Board. Mayette pinned a lot of her own outfits and really went all out building this board. Great work. (I particularly love her pins of pups in glasses.)

[alpine-phototile-for-pinterest src=”board” uid=”lookscutethough” board=”fetch-style” imgl=”pinterest” dl=”1″ dlstyle=”medium” style=”floor” row=”4″ num=”12″ size=”192″ shadow=”1″ border=”1″ align=”center” max=”100″]

Enjoy your frames, Mayette! 

Thanks to everyone who participated. I cannot even tell you how hard it was to choose finalists. These Pinterest giveaways are hard work, y’all! 

Finding My Style with Fetch Eyewear

Today I’m writing about the super cool glasses from Fetch Eyewear. I was provided a set of frames to review and one to giveaway. I was not compensated for this post.

I’ve talked a little before about the Year of Jess. This year I’m taking back myself and trying to move into a more mature and sophisticated style. I don’t have a big budget to go buy myself a new wardrobe or a closet full of shoes. So instead I’m gradually going piece by piece, little by little. But one of the easiest decisions about how to up my style game was something I already use every day: my glasses.

me in glasses
Practical but Boring

I’ve worn the same set of frames since I first found out I had to wear glasses at the ripe old age of 26 when I did a physical for a new job and told the lady administering my vision test that the machine was broken because the letters were all blurry. My frames have been with me for 7 years and while they compliment my face shape they haven’t done me a lot of favors style-wise.

I want my glasses to do a few things:

  • Highlight my best features. I have nice eyes but my cheeks are quite chubby and I have a weak jaw. I want frames that draw the eye up. And while I know a rectangular frame works well for the chubby-cheeked crowd, I also want more of my eye on view.
  • Be a daily accessory. I don’t have to wear my glasses for reading and such, it’s more for far-vision, but it’s best I wear them often. I want something that will work with a lot of different outfits and styles.
  • Contribute to my style. I’m done with boring frames. I want a set of frames that people compliment the way they’d compliment a cute pair of earrings or a nice shade of lipstick.

Then there’s one other obstacle: shopping for glasses. When I had an eye exam last week it was awful. Not the exam, but having to do it with a 1-year-old in tow. When I have time alone I don’t want to spend it doing this kind of stuff. And that baby wasn’t going to let me stand around trying on glasses for a few hours.

fetch logoSo I reached out to Fetch Eyewear. I chose them because 1) they let you try on at home, 2) they have frames that are classic, stylish and distinctive and 3) they’re a nonprofit who support animal rescue. (All together now, awwwww.)

They’re basically perfect for me and I loved the variety of styles. Because I wanted to branch out I chose 6 different frames that covered a spectrum from rectangular to slightly more square/round. If you want to be more specific, the site lets you sort frames by face shape as well as by width. I have a wide head but my eyes are close, so I stuck to narrow & medium frames that worked for oval faces. I should also mention they make prescription frames, reading frames and sunglasses. Awesome.

Also: lifetime warranty against breakage. Which is a big deal because did you see what happened to my last set of frames? (The perpetrator is unknown…)

Once you choose the frames you’d like to try you get a package of them in the mail along with a return postage slip. I loved the Fetch frame box (you can see it displayed in the pics below) and I toted it around with me for a couple days so I could try on a pair in front of someone whenever the urge struck.

I also found all the frames to be sturdy and beautiful in person. Photographs just can’t portray that. They’re well-made without being heavy. And they have a great variety of colors and finishes. None of them pinched on my wide head. A big plus.

One of my favorite things? A lot of these frames are unisex. And I love looking at the pictures on the models, one frame can look so different. (This was proven true by my friend Kathy, who tried on all 6 pairs of mine and looked amazing in all of them while I felt like there were a couple more obvious choices for me.)

Let me introduce you to my favorite pairs and give you an idea of what Fetch frames look like:

Fetch Eyewear Alex Frames

Fetch Eyewear Jill Frames

 

Fetch Eyewear Sadie Frames

 

After a while all frames can look the same but I was amazed at how subtle changes in shape made such a huge difference on my face. For example, the straight brow of the Jill seemed to dominate my face while the more feminine Sadie looks somehow delicate despite its strongly shaped corners. You really do have to put them on. (You can see my frightening no-makeup frame try-on pics here.)

For me, I felt that only a couple frames really didn’t work. Besides that it was just about picking a style. 

It ultimately came down to Sadie and Alex. While I also loved the Carolyn, neutrals don’t work for my coloring. (Note to Fetch: please make Carolyn in a lovely blue-ish shade, okay? I would get them in a heartbeat.) When I crowdsourced, both frames had strong fans and I had to really think. I’m getting down to the final decision and I’ll get back to you on that.

But right now I want to talk about you. YOU and your frames. As I’ve been talking about glasses with people for the last couple months in anticipation of this post I found that almost everyone who wears glasses wants a new pair. You want to try new colors and styles. You feel restless and a lot like I did. So let’s make it happen, okay? 

Fetch Pin to Win Giveaway

Fetch Eyewear has graciously agreed to provide a set of frames to the winner of this giveaway and I so want one of you to have as much fun as I’ve been having picking out and trying on frames. 

Since their glasses are so much fun to look at and have such a neat style I want to run this whole giveaway around that: style.

I built myself a nice little Fetch Style Pinterest Board and that’s going to be your mission, should you choose to accept it. Finding the right frames means finding something that fits your style, or maybe the style you want to have. Here’s a peek at my Fetch Style board. I pinned the Alex and the Sadie and then went crazy in all directions. Not just clothes and shoes and jewelry, but where I want to go in my frames and the puppy I’d like to take on a walk in them. (I don’t technically WANT Rachel McAdams, I just want her haircut.)

[alpine-phototile-for-pinterest src=”board” uid=”jessicaesquire” board=”fetch-style” imgl=”pinterest” dl=”1″ dlstyle=”medium” style=”floor” row=”4″ num=”16″ size=”192″ shadow=”1″ border=”1″ align=”center” max=”100″]

And now you get the chance to pin your wear to a new set of frames. Here’s your instructions.

  1. Follow Me (Jellyfish Web/jessicaesquire) and Fetch Eyewear on Pinterest.
  2. Create a board for your pins. You can call it “Fetch Style” though that’s not required.
  3. Pin 2 pairs of Fetch frames to your board. This is your style base, where you’ll draw your inspiration. (When you’re looking at the pair you like in the color you like, you’ll see some social media buttons right below the description of the frame. The Pinterest button will let you pin them super easy.)
  4. (Updated rule!!) Please re-pin the Giveaway pin. (The hashtag is being a little unreliable and I don’t want to miss you.) Here’s the link.
  5. Fill your board with your style. Tell us what you want to wear, what you want to do, what you want your house to look like, etc. 
  6. Make sure all your pins have the #fetchstyle hashtag in the pin description.

The top 3 boards will be selected by me (and showed off on the blog next week) and then the folks over at Fetch will pick a winner with their favorite board. (It’s very likely that pics of cute pets will help you win favor with them…)

You can leave a comment here with the link to your board to help us find it. They do men’s and women’s frames (not kids, sorry) so feel free to do a board for you or your friend or your partner or your dad or whoever. Just show us your style. Full rules at the end of the post.

Frames are one of those things that can take a bite into your budget, so I know this will be huge for the winner. (Although Fetch frames are nicely priced at $125.) You may even want 2. (Can I admit that I kind of want both of my final 2 frames?)If you have questions about what kind of prescriptions they can fill and whether you can use your flex spending account, check out the Fetch FAQ.

So get to work, my pinning friends, I’m super excited to see what you get. And you can follow along by using the #fetchstyle hashtag on Pinterest.

Rules: No purchase necessary. By leaving a comment you agree to the rules of this giveaway. One entry per household. Limited to entrants over 18 in the US and Canada. Contest begins as of the time of this post and entries are final on Wednesday, May 22nd at 6 pm Eastern Time. The winner will receive a set of Fetch Eyewear Frames, a retail value of $125 US. The number of eligible entries received will determine the odds of winning. Three finalists will be chosen by Don’t Mind the Mess. The winner will be selected by Fetch Eyewear. The winner will be chosen based on the pinterest board described in the instructions. Winner will be notified by email and must respond within 48 hours to receive their prize. If the winner does not respond within that time, a new winner will be chosen. The prize will be provided by Fetch Eyewear. Don’t Mind the Mess is not responsible for any problems with receipt of the prize. This contest is governed by the rules of Massachusetts, void where prohibited.

Boston’s Drool Baby Expo 2013

This post is all about the super-awesome Drool Baby Expo. I’m attending this year as one of their promotional bloggers and have been provided a complimentary pair of tickets. I will have the super sweet recap up in a few weeks, so watch out, Baby Gear fiends…

It’s back, one of my favorite events of the year: the Drool Baby Expo.   

Drool Baby Expo 2013

If you don’t have kiddos you may not realize how useful a baby expo is for parents. But when you’re shopping for baby gear, it’s really hard to comparison shop. No matter how big or small the store, the selection is never as varied as you like and you usually have to go to a lot of different places. And some stuff you can’t find anywhere and have to rely on internet reviews which are notoriously unreliable when it comes to baby stuff.

This is why the baby expo is the best thing ever. ALL the things are there. Plus you have the brands themselves answering your questions. And they have great deals. And Drool Baby has the swankest gift bags you’ve ever seen. Check out my recap of last year’s expo to see what I mean.

Sure, my baby is 14 (almost 15!) months old now, but the expo is great for parents of toddlers, babies and parents-to-be. Also they have treats and prizes and spa treatments and more. Even if you’re not sure what you need, you can still have a delightful time.

Tickets are $35 and include a gift bag. And if you want to bring a friend or spouse you can get them a value ticket for just $15 that won’t include the gift bag. Let me tell you: these gift bags cost more than the price of a ticket. No. Joke. Plus if you’re looking to buy any big gear you’ll save a lot more than that, too. Last year I bought our Diono Radian car seat at Drool Baby and saved a bundle. (Diono could hire me as a spokesperson. I love them so much.) 

My favoritest thing, though, isn’t the big brands with their big gear. It’s all the local boutiques and brands you didn’t know about that you’ll find.  Like last year when I discovered Tiny Hanger and their super adorable shop in Coolidge Corner. Or Kaya’s Kloset and her super cute cloth shoes for baby. If you love local, it’s a great time to find wonderful stuff near you. And if that isn’t enough, just take a peek at some of the stuff I saw and loved last year

And lucky you, I’m giving away a pair of tickets (1 standard, 1 value) to a reader. Woohoo! So please enter, and if you don’t win, head on over to Drool Baby’s site to snatch up a ticket for yourself. The Expo is Tuesday May 21 from 4 to 9 pm at the Westin Waterfront Hotel in the Seaport District. (Speaking of which, how much do I love the Seaport district? So much awesome stuff there of late.)

To Enter:

  • 1 mandatory entry: leave a comment with what you’ll be shopping for at the expo.
  • 1st bonus entry: Make sure you follow me  and Drool Baby and then tweet the following “Win a pair of tickets from @jessicaesquire to Boston’s event for all things baby-gear @droolbaby expo! http://ow.ly/kMOy9 ” Leave the URL of your tweet in a comment.
  • 2nd bonus entry: Make sure you’re following me on Pinterest and then re-pin something from my Best of Drool Baby Pinterest board from last year’s expo. Make sure you re-pin with the hashtag #droolbaby  Leave the URL of your pin in a comment.
  • You can do either bonus entry or both or neither. Your call. But you MUST leave a mandatory entry.

Rules: No purchase necessary. By leaving a comment you agree to the rules of this giveaway. One entry per household. Limited to entrants over 18 in the US and Canada. Contest begins as of the time of this post and ends on Tuesday, May 14th at 6 pm Eastern Time. The winner will receive a standard ticket and a value ticket to the Drool Baby Expo, a retail value of $50 US. The number of eligible entries received will determine the odds of winning. The winner will be selected using the “And the Winner Is” plugin. Winner will be notified by email and must respond within 24 hours to receive their prize. If the winner does not respond within that time, a new winner will be chosen. The prize will be provided by Magic Beans. Don’t Mind the Mess is not responsible for any problems with receipt of the prize. This contest is governed by the rules of Massachusetts, void where prohibited.