Wednesday, July 20, 2011

*CLOSED* Bloomingdale's Welcomes Miki House Children's Clothing Line

Last week I had the pleasure of attending a preview for children's clothing line Miki House at the Bloomingdale's in the Aventura Mall here in Miami. If, like me, you've never heard of Miki House, it is a 40-year-old high-end brand from Japan. The line consists of clothing and accessories for children age 6 months to 6 years and includes shoes, coats, backpacks, sippy cups, bibs, T-shirts, cotton leggings that look like jeans called "Spats" and much much more.

The clothing is extremely well made and durable (supima cotton, natch) and there is every attention to detail, including no itchy back stitching. Miki House is really known for its quality design and fabrics, which is why it is so popular with moms and celebrities alike (Yoshi Takeda, President of Miki House, couldn't reveal who their celeb clients are, but he did let it slip that Brad Pitt has shopped in their Milan store.) This brand reflects the culture of Japan, where people prefer to dress their children "kawaii" or "cute," rather than as mini adults. Everything in the line is covered in bears and bunnies, is in bright pinks, yellows and blues and is obviously meant to allow your child to look sweet and innocent, not like he or she raided mom and dad's closet.

My favorite item of clothing from the Miki House line was, hands down, the kimono-style tops and one-piece outfits. Anyone who has ever tried to pull a onesie over a newborn baby's tiny head knows how fraught it can be, especially for a first-time parent. You are so nervous about and protective of their soft spot and the baby seems to be absolutely tortured by it too. I always tell moms-to-be to look out for kimono tops but they are incredibly difficult to find in the US. Most of the big name baby stores just don't carry that style. In addition to kimonos, Miki House also makes their regular onesies with super stretchy head/neck openings for just this reason.

If you're local, you should come out to the Back-to-School with Miki House event happening during "tax free" week on Saturday, August 13th from 2-5 at Bloomingdale's Aventura in Young World on Level 3 of the store.

In honor of Miki House coming to Bloomingdale's, I have a $20 giftcard to Bloomie's to give away to a reader. Simply tell me something you like on the Miki House Facebook page. You can get an additional entry by liking my Blacktating Blog Facebook page, please just leave a separate comment for each (two comments total).

Giveaway is open to anyone in the US, winner be selected via on Friday, July 29th. Entries must be complete by midnight on Thursday, July 28th. Winner will be notified by email. If I don't hear from the winner within 48 hours, I will select another winner.

Congrats to #9, Danielle! Check your email!

Monday, May 31, 2010

Review: Hygeia Enjoye Breastpump

A few months ago I was contacted by Hygeia about reviewing their new double electric pump, the Enjoye. As I am no longer pumping, I gave it to my friend Carrie of the Huppie Mama blog to review it for me. Below are her thoughts.

I was fortunate enough to get to review the new Hygeia EnJoye™ Professional-Grade Breastpump. This is an amazing double-pump, especially for the working mother. My greatest fear was that when I returned to work full-time to fill in for a co-worker on maternity leave, my supply would diminish, and I would have to supplement with formula. The Hygeia website actually recommends this particular pump for working mothers so that they can maintain their milk supply while away from their babies. I am away from my 8-month old daughter from about 9 am to 2 pm each day. I pump once at noon, and I get about 4 oz - just enough to give to her babysitter the next day. No formula for us!

This pump has some really great features:
  • The cups are hard, but still comfortable. They're also one size fits all, so you don't have to worry about purchasing the wrong cup size and having to exchange it or purchase a new one.
  • Unlike other breast pumps that I have tried, this pump allows you to adjust both speed and strength, which is especially great for new mommies who may need a more gentle pressure, and mommies like me who want to get the job done quickly!
  • This breast pump has an interesting recording feature. You can record your baby's cry and play it back to assist with quicker letdown. I do not use this feature, but I'm sure it would be helpful for some mommies.
  • It's a double pump, with the option to use it as a single pump. I generally use it as a single pump so that I can have one hand free to write or type. 
  • It comes with two bottles, a large tote, and an insulated bottle storage bag.
  • It can be used plugged in or cordless (when the battery has already been charged). This would be great for use in the car, while out to lunch, or any other place that does not have direct electrical access. My desk at work has so many other cords plugged in, that I love just being able to charge it in a different outlet over night and using it comfortably while sitting at my desk for several days without having to recharge it.
Now what really sets this pump apart from others? It's green! Because of the pump's ability to be shared with others, it is both economically and ecologically beneficial. This pump was designed and registered with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to be a multi-user pump, similar to the larger, more expensive pumps used in hospitals. What does this mean for you as the consumer? After you are done breastfeeding, you can pass it along to other friends and family members so they can use it. Much better than single-user pumps that end up useless to others and in a landfill! All a mother needs is her own accessory set, and she is ready to go! The pump features a filtration system that blocks cross-contamination, the spreading of bacteria and viruses from one user to the next. The pump also has a great three-year warranty, so if anything goes wrong during that time, just contact the company directly. If you are done using it and do not have any friends to share it with, just sent it back to the company for recycling!

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Suave Naturals Mango Mandarin Body Wash Giveaway!

Last year I was invited to host a Shower Yourself Beautiful party sponsored by Suave. I was sent several different body washes from their new "Naturals" collection and instantly fell in love with the Ocean Breeze scent. I am a huge fan of body washes, perfumes, lotions, candles and room sprays that smell "clean." I'm just not into heavy scents, I like my fragrance to be light.

So I was happy to try out the latest edition to the Naturals collection, Mango Mandarin, when I was contacted by Suave. This body wash is fabulous! You know how some body washes and lotions that are scented with oranges just end up smelling like medicine? This is not like that. The fragrance is refreshing and the mango is a perfect match for the mandarin orange scent. As with all the Suave body washes I've tried so far, a little goes a long way and it foams up really nicely. It left my skin lightly scented and moisturized. My husband, who has extremely sensitive and dry skin, was also able to use this body wash without any problems. The scent is neutral enough that he was able to use it too (and I'm not sure if that's a good thing!)

Suave has been generous enough to offer one of my readers their own bottle of the Mango Mandarin Body Wash to try out yourself. If you'd like to enter this giveaway, just leave me a comment telling me your favorite Suave product! The giveaway will end next Saturday, May 22 at 11:59 PM. Open to residents of the US 18 and older. Winner will be contacted via email and will have 48 hours to respond or another winner will be selected. Good luck!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Mother's Day Giveaway: Escada Marine Groove

Last month we had the pleasure of attending a party thrown by Escada on the Venetian Lady yacht. It was an intimate crowd of about 50 and the guest of honor was singer Mya. No, our lives are typically not this exciting, but thanks to my friend Jewel we had the opportunity to rub elbows with the rich and fabulous for three hours on the Bay in Miami.

The party was in honor of Escada's latest fragrance, Marine Groove. Mya is the face of the fragrance and joined us on the yacht for cocktails and hors d'oeuvres. Yes, she's super pretty in person, but more importantly, really nice. After the yacht ride, we were each given a goody bag with a bottle of Escada Marine Groove inside.

I really like this fragrance! I've been wearing it ever since and I love the jasmine in it. It's citrusy, too. A very sensual fragrance, perfect for hot nights in Miami (or for when you're wishing you were here!)

Since I have the extra bottle, I figured I'd pass it along to one of you and you can either keep it for yourself or gift it to the Mom in your life. The contest will end on Sunday, May 2nd at 8 PM EST so I can ship it out on Monday and you'll have it by Mother's Day.

To enter, simply tell me who the perfume will be for. Want some extra entries?

"Like" The Blacktating Blog on Facebook

Follow me on Twitter- @Blacktating

Tweet about this giveaway. You can copy the following text directly into your Tweet:
Enter @Blacktating's Mother's Day Escada Marine Groove #giveaway! Ends 5/3

Please leave a separate comment for each of your entries. This contest is open to all US residents age 18 and over. Winner will be notified by email and will have 2  days to respond or another winner will be chosen. Good luck!

Monday, March 1, 2010

Simplisse Manual Pump Review & Giveaway

I was recently contacted by a representative from Simplisse Breastfeeding Products to review their new manual breast pump, called the Simplisse Breastfeeding Companion.

I was intrigued by this pump because it was created by lactation consultants to more closely mimic breastfeeding than traditional breast pumps on the market now. Did you know that the original breast pump was created by an engineer and based on the machines used to milk cows? Yikes! Simplisse wants to make pumping more comfortable and easier for moms. Since I am no longer pumping, I decided to pass this pump along to my friend Carrie and allow her to put it to the test. I knew Carrie would be perfect to review the pump because she works from home and only has to pump on occasion. Carrie was pumping with a good, single electric pump so she had something to compare the Simplisse to.

Here are Carrie's thoughts on the pump:
I tested the Simplisse Manual Breastfeeding Companion. Prior to actually trying it, I noticed how soft the breast cup is. It has a skin-like texture that is extremely flexible, conforming to the shape of your breast. The opening for the nipple seems somewhat small, but it worked well for me. It took a few minutes to begin expressing milk. I’d probably suggest manually expressing some prior to pumping just to get it flowing better. I found that it worked well if I pumped quickly at first, but then slowed down to increase the quantity of milk expressed with each pump. As the packaging states, it feels like a baby nursing. In fact, it’s more like a newborn nursing – very gentle. My electric pump often makes my nipples a bit sore, but this was very comfortable.

One thing I noticed after pumping for a few minutes was that the valve (piece between the bottle and the pump itself) would invert itself and would have to be fixed in order for the milk to drip into the bottle. Another difficulty was that although the pictures show a woman pumping with one hand, I found this to be awkward. I had to use one hand to hold the pump close to my breast and one to actually pump. Also, because it is so comfortable and does not create the same seal around your breast that an electric pump creates, some of the milk leaked as I was pumping, so make sure you have a wet wipe nearby.

One thing I am known for doing is accidentally spilling the milk after pumping. It’s such a horrible waste!!  This pump comes with a small stand to place the bottle after pumping before you are able to get the cap on – Perfect!

This breast pump would be really handy for traveling. I could imagine using it as a passenger in a car on a long road trip (as long as you use the milk immediately or have a cooler in the car with you). Just make sure that you bring along the instruction booklet since the assembly is a bit complex. This is a great inexpensive pump that is compact, comfortable, and convenient!

Carrie really liked this new pump and was thrilled with how comfortable it was. Simplisse also has a full line of breastfeeding products in addition to this new manual pump (the double electric will be coming soon). These include disposable breast pads which are ultra thin for comfort, an all-natural lanolin & paraben-free nipple cream, lactation supplements and breast milk storage bags that zip seal and stand upright for convenience and piece of mind.

I love the packaging, too! Want to win your own Simplisse Manual Breast Pump? Simplisse has been kind enough to offer one of my readers not only their own manual breast pump, but a goody box that includes the breast pads, lactation supplements, milk storage bags and nipple cream!

Want to win? Just leave me a comment letting me know why you'd like to try the Simplisse pump! Since this is such a great giveaway, you can get some extra entries by
  • Following me on Twitter  
  • Becoming a fan of Blacktating on Facebook
  • Tweeting about the giveaway (leave a link to your status update by right clicking on the time stamp and copying the URL)
That's a total of FOUR entries per person. Please leave a separate comment for each entry and be sure your email address is in your public profile or leave it in your comment. This giveaway is open to US residents 18 and older and ends at 11:59 PM on Monday, March 8th. Winner will be contacted via email and will have 48 hours to respond or another winner will be selected. Good luck!

*CLOSED* Congratulations, SocMama!

Monday, February 1, 2010

See's Candies Valentine's Day Giveaway!

I have the most amazing husband. He cooks for me, takes great care of our son, is handsome, kind and someone I have a great time with. He's sturdy, a man's man. He's reliable, honorable, and practical. What he's not is a romantic.The way he expresses his love for me is by always taking out the trash without having to be asked, fixing things around the house, washing my car, etc.

So imagine my surprise when, while working away in my office last year, my co-workers told me I had a package at the front desk. When I opened the package, inside it was a beautiful box of strawberries covered in a variety of different flavors of chocolate, along with several mini cheesecakes! I was floored, not only because the gift was so fantastic, but because it was something he had pre-planned and was a fabulous surprise. Since I don't expect him to display his love in ways like this, it was totally unexpected. Also, let's face it, women eat stuff like this up. And the fact that my co-workers were green with envy was just the icing on the cake! That sweet gesture made my day, and is something I'll remember for a long time.

Do you have a Valentine's Day or romantic story to share? See's Candies* is running a contest this week titled "Share Your Sweetest Story." Leave a comment on this post with your sweetest love story and you'll be entered to win a See's Candies Red Signature Box, a whopping 2 pounds of chocolatey goodness.

Do you really, really want to win? Here are some opportunities for extra entries, in addition to your comment with your Sweetest Love Story. Please leave a separate comment for each entry.

  1) Visit the See's homepage ( and sign up for the newsletter

  2) Tweet about this contest using the #seescandy tag (you can Tweet daily and post the link in the comments below!)

  3) Blog about why you want to win the Share Your Sweetest Love Story with links back to this post, as well as to the See's homepage ( and post the link to it in the comments below.

  Enter Now!
  Deadline for entries is midnight, PST, Friday, February 5th and winner will be notified by email.

*This post has been sponsored by the Clever Girls Collective and See's Candies.

CLOSED- Congrats, LeeAnn! 

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Review: Bravado's Allure Underwire Nursing Bra

A few months ago, Bravado! was kind enough to contact me to see if I wanted to review one of their two new bras, The Allure or the Sublime. I agreed and was sent the Allure Underwire Nursing Bra in ivory to try out.

Now, you've probably heard me say in the past that you should avoid underwire nursing bras until your milk supply is well-established and that remains true for this bra. It's for moms who are already at least 6 weeks into their nursing relationship. Otherwise an underwire can cause plugged ducts which can lead to mastitis and no one wants that!

So what makes this bra different from other Bravados I own? First, the cups are more molded and firm. This is definitely the kind of bra you want to wear to work under your professional clothing because it provides a lot of shaping and lifting. It's also a sexier bra than my other Bravados, and I love the detailing, like the little ribbon in the center and the embroidered straps. This bra also looks and feels more like lingerie than my other Bravados.

What hasn't changed? You're still getting the same things you've come to love and expect from Bravado: a great, comfortable fit, light and breathable fabric, and cups that fully drop when you unhook the bra. I did notice after a few months of wearing and washing that the wire had shifted a bit, but I find this to be common with underwire bras and I was able to easily push it back into place.

Overall this is another hit for Bravado and a bra I'd highly recommend!

Cost of this bra to me: Free
Cost of this bra to you: $59.50