Thursday, July 31, 2008

just what is a LIKEaBIKE?

And why does my son love it so much? I first reviewed the LIKEaBIKE in June of 2006 on Boutique Cafe's Daily Dish. At the time my son was a little too young to truly test it out, and even last summer he didn't hop on it much. But this that's a different story so I had to feature it on today's edition of that's hot! thursday.

Our almost three-year-old lives on his LIKEaBIKE. That kid can cruise like no other. His little legs do a kind of Fred Flintstone-style motion as he picks up speed and then he picks his feet up to coast a while until the feet come back down to help him stop (usually just in time to avoid hitting the mailbox or the neighbor's car). He rides his LIKEaBIKE up and down the sidewalk, all around the driveway, and even decorated it for a 4th of July parade. That not-a-bike was the hit of the party!

The idea behind this "not a tricycle, not a toy car, not a bike with stabilizers, not a scooter" concept is this: by helping children as young as two years old become familiar with the experience of riding on two wheels, the transition to a "real" bike will happen without difficulty (and without training wheels). I can see this idea actually working as I watch little G coast, feet up, without falling over. He's got a heck of a lot more balance at his age than I do at mine!

Read my full review of the LIKEaBIKE here. You can visit the LIKEaBIKE website to learn more about this awesome product and check out their super cool looking Jumper. --Emily

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Z Recommends--recommended reading for parents

What blogs do you faithfully read on a daily basis (besides ours when we're actually posting on a daily basis)? StartupPrincess and Fritinancy (I do have a love of words) are two of my favorite blogs, but as a parent my must-read is Z Recommends. Z Recommends is one of the best product review blogs when it comes to children's gear. With his daughter's help ("Z") the blog's author reviews everything from activities, crafts and toys to music, food and safety items.

The site gives parents the latest news on important issues such as the use of BPA in various products (did you know Congress is moving to ban the use of some phthalates?) and offers wonderful product guides (e.g. safer teethers and safer kids' sunscreens). Z Recommends' ZRecs Hall of Shame is a "growing pantheon of miserably misguided or just plain wrong children's products" and a must-read for parents. Not only is it an extensive list of children's products you want to steer clear of, it also makes for some enjoyable reading. It's kind of up there with those dumbest criminal stories you hear about. Do these companies really make these products? What were they thinking?

And then you gasp when you realize those blinged-out pacifiers you bought, complete with Swarovski crystals, pose "an ingestion hazards when crystals inevitably separated from their pacifiers." Those same crystals contain 32% lead. Yep, lead.

We can all use a little help, a little more info, a little guidance when it comes to keeping our kids safe. Since I have yet to find a childproof bubble in which to put my kids I'll rely on blogs like Z Recommends to keep me informed on the latest and greatest products...and which ones I wouldn't touch with a ten-foot pole. --Emily

Friday, July 25, 2008

peppermint pattie poke cake

My mom left this week after an extended visit and we miss her tons already. Every time I open the fridge I see her half-eaten bag of mini York Peppermint Patties and I'm reminded again how refreshing it is to have her here and how much harder it gets every time she leaves. In keeping with the Peppermint Pattie theme (her favorite "chaser" after a meal), I bring you the Peppermint Pattie Poke Cake for food for thought friday. Mix it, bake it, taste it, then call your mom and tell her you love her.

Peppermint Pattie Poke Cake
1 box triple chocolate fudge cake mix
Water, vegetable oil and eggs called for in cake recipe

1 box (4-serving size) white chocolate instant pudding mix
2 c milk
1/2 tsp peppermint extract

1/4 tsp peppermint extract
1 container whipped milk chocolate frosting
3/4 c coarsely chopped chocolate-covered peppermint patties (8 candies)

Heat oven to 350 degrees (325 for dark or nonstick pan). Make cake as directed for 9x13-inch pan; cool 15 minutes. Poke top of warm cake every 1/2 inch with handle of wooden spoon.

In medium bowl, beat filling ingredients with wire whisk about 2 minutes. Immediately pour over cake. Cover loosely and refrigerate about 2 hours or until chilled.

Stir 1/4 tsp peppermint extract into frosting. Spread frosting over top of cake. Sprinkle with peppermint patties. Store loosely covered in refrigerator.
"Never lose your inner child." --Leah Adler (Steven Spielberg's mother)

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

new designs and a georgie tees BOGO sale!

This may be a short-and-sweet post (it's 1:39am and I'm quickly fading) but it's one of the best ones this year! We finally have our new designs online and here are the highlights:

And because we're in such a celebrating mood we're also celebrating National Vanilla Ice Cream Day, which is today, with a super yummy BOGO sale! Basically buy one georgie tee and get a second item for 50% off!* But you have to hurry because this offer is going to melt away within the week! Don't keep a sale this sweet to yourself; it will go right to your hips.

* The fine print: Sale excludes sale & clearance items; second item must be of equal or lesser value. Discount reflected once order is process. Expires 7/30/08.

So hurry over to to check out our new designs and decadent sale. Those few extra clicks of the mouse just help to burn more calories...promise! --Emily

Monday, July 21, 2008

CareerDiva gives advice on mixing love & business

So far I've been able to successfully mix business and friendship with LeShan, my best friend and business partner. I consider myself extremely blessed to work with someone who's my perfect complement, someone who understands my rambling emails and love for crunching numbers.

Though I have yet to start a business with my husband, the possibility of doing so is around the corner and I'm not sure it will be as easy a working relationship. I've heard success stories of husbands and wives who've mixed love and business (e.g. Penny Loves Kenny Shoes), but they're few and far between. Why is that? Eve Tahmincioglu, the woman behind, spoke with Donny Deutsch about "why couples fail when they mix love and business."

In the interview Eve highlights five main things that can go wrong when couples go into business together:

  • Marriage and business both go belly up
  • Romance fizzles
  • Dining room becomes the boardroom
  • Feelings get hurt
  • Power struggles often ensue
Though it feels like a pessimistic view of things I look at it as more of a reality check, a good reason to step back and take stock of your relationship. Ask the tough questions: If the business fails, will the financial strain have a serious impact on our relationship? Do we place enough importance on separating business and pleasure so romance can survive?

Just because you've lived together for 12 years (has it really been that long?!?!) doesn't mean you can do business together for 1. I'm thinking we might even want to work out the details of our working relationship and document them. Yes, that's my Type A personality creeping in, but my husband's going to have to learn to work with that too! has other great posts relating to work-life balance that are definitely worth the read. Take a few moments on this mompreneur monday to browse the site. Her posts on screwing the works are an especially enlightening read. --Emily

Friday, July 18, 2008

a "pear" of recipes for you

Today's food for thought friday includes two yummy, summery pear-infused recipes. I love! Happy July 18th!

Roquefort Pear Salad
1 head leaf lettuce, torn into bite-size pieces
3 pears - peeled, cored and chopped
5 oz Roquefort cheese, crumbled
1 avocado - peeled, pitted, and diced
1/2 c thinly sliced green onions
1/4 c white sugar
1/2 c pecans
1/3 c olive oil
3 T red wine vinegar
1 1/2 tsp white sugar
1 1/2 tsp prepared mustard
1 clove garlic, chopped
1/2 tsp salt
fresh ground black pepper to taste

In a skillet over medium heat, stir 1/4 cup of sugar together with the pecans. Continue stirring gently until sugar has melted and caramelized the pecans. Carefully transfer nuts onto waxed paper. Allow to cool, and break into pieces.

For the dressing, blend oil, vinegar, 1 1/2 teaspoons sugar, mustard, chopped garlic, salt, and pepper. (I prefer to do this in one of those shaker bottles--super handy and less messy.)

In a large serving bowl, layer lettuce, pears, blue cheese, avocado, and green onions. Pour dressing over salad, sprinkle with pecans, and serve.

Fresh Pear Pie
1 recipe pastry for a 9 inch double crust pie (or make it easy and use refrigerated pie crusts)
1/2 c white sugar
3 T all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp lemon zest
5 c peeled and sliced pears
1 T butter
1 T lemon juice

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Combine sugar, flour, salt, cinnamon, and lemon rind in mixing bowl. Arrange pears in layers in a 9-inch pastry lined pan, sprinkling sugar mixture over each layer. Dot with butter. Sprinkle with lemon juice. Roll out remaining dough; cut slits for escape of steam. Moisten rim of bottom crust. Place top crust over filling. Fold edge under bottom crust, pressing to seal. Flute edge.

Bake for 10 minutes. Reduce temperature to 350 and bake for an additional 35 to 40 minutes. Serve warm. (I'd add a dollop of vanilla bean ice cream for a really "cool" treat!)
Excess on occasion is exhilarating. It prevents moderation from acquiring the deadening effect of a habit. --W. Somerset Maugham (1874 - 1965)

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Billion Dollar Brows are "bringing the arch back!"

While on vacation in California I was reminded of another favorite product I just had to feature on that's hot! thursday: my Billion Dollar Brows Universal Brow Pencil. I first reviewed this on Boutique Cafe's Daily Dish almost a year ago ("How babe-alicious are your brows?") and I have been a faithful user of their brow pencil ever since. Here's why:

  • I am constant amazed at how well the color blends with my own natural brow color
  • This fabulous brow pencil requires no sharpening
  • It's a pencil and styling brush all in one--what more could you ask for?
  • The easily blendable color is water resistant (great for summer weather)
  • The longer length means I can find it easily among my over abundant collection of eyeliners
Though I don't use Billion Dollar Brows' Brow Boost that often it does come in handy when I've over plucked. And their Brow Gel does a great job keeping my brows in place. Both products continue to hold up well in the heat and the brow gel never feels heavy or crispy yet manages to "keep my brows "in perfect formation.

Billion Dollar Brows also offers a line of brow and lash cosmetics, kits, and tools plus a salon in Beverly Hills where you can get your brows shaped, tweezed, tinted, and permed. Girls' day out, anyone? --Emily

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

wallhogs turn your walls into works of art!

It's been a while since we've done a wonderful web wednesday so here's a fun site I came across recently. wallhogs lets you turn your photos into artwork with just a few clicks of the mouse, and I'm not talking a little cropping, a sweet border, and an 8"x10". I'm talking wall-size vinyl stickers, posters and canvas!

With wallhogs you simply upload a digital photo or hi-res graphic and the choose whether you want to print it on reusable vinyl, Photo-Tex, glossy poster or fine art canvas. (Photo-Tex is their new polyester fabric with a special adhesive that can be re-used on just about any indoor or outdoor surface!) With six-color digital printing, scratch- and water-resistant inks, a 10-year guaranteed on indoor durability, and a 100% money back guarantee you'd think wallhogs would take a small business loan to purchase but they're actually really affordable!

wallhogs also has an online catalog of images for you to choose from. Or if you're like me, use the catalog to help get your creative juices flowing. wallhogs is a fun and easy way to decorate a teen's room with their game-winning catch or add your company logo to your new office space. It's kind of a nice change from the typical vinyl lettering you see in homes. (I've got a few quotes on our walls so I'm not pointing fingers). I'm thinking a giant poster of my son hugging Goofy is a better souvenir of our recent trip to Disneyland than any of the other mementos we brought home! --Emily

Monday, July 14, 2008

talking through the chaos

This is going to be a quick post because it's 11:19pm and I should be in bed resting up for the 10+-hour drive back home tomorrow. It's actually tomorrow's long drive (with four kids and lots of stuff packed into a very small, enclosed space) that got me thinking of today's mompreneur monday question: How is it your kids know when you're trying to make an important business call and choose that moment to wreak havoc in the background?

I find my children get along really well until I pick up the phone to make a call (okay, it doesn't matter if it's for georgie tees or to catch up with a good friend). The minute the line on the other end starts to ring it's complete chaos! My 2-year-old has chocolate all over his fingers and is wiping it on the couch, my older girls are suddenly fighting over whose turn it is to play our sole Super Mario DS game, and my 11-month-old is no longer happy with any of her toys and wants my phone instead. I'm starting to believe a freak force of nature goes to work on my children because somehow my home goes from tranquility to tornado in mere seconds.

And I know I'm not the only one. I've made a phone call or two and heard similar chaotic episodes in the background (and I find myself smiling in sympathy). Whether you chalk it up to Murphy's Law or motherhood it's pretty much a sure thing in my home. Pretty soon I'll be left with just two options: one, make phone calls from my bathroom, or two, invest in a lot of duct tape. --Emily

Friday, July 11, 2008

anniversary fajitas

I am still vacation in California with the kids, and though we've had record temps (104+ degrees) and a yucky, smoky haze we've also had a heck of a lot of fun! This week was my parents' 30th anniversary so I treated them to some yummy grilled steak and chicken fajitas with a side of El Torito's sweet corn cake (found the mix at the local Bel Aire grocery store) and a side salad. I thought I'd share the fajita recipe I used, which I found on the Food Network's site courtesy of Paula Deen.
Note: Grill the steak or chicken before you cut it into bite-size pieces or strips. If you don't you'll have to use a grill saute pan and kind of stir fry the meat. Yeah, common sense would tell you to do just that but of course I'm on vacation and common sense is in short supply...duh!

Gold Medal Sizzling Fajitas
1/4 cup vegetable oil, divided
3 T lemon juice
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
Dash hot sauce
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 1/2 lbs meat (boneless, skinless chicken breast, steak or peeled and deveined shrimp)
1 medium onion, halved and sliced lengthwise
1 green bell pepper, sliced
1 red bell pepper, sliced
8 (8-inch) flour tortillas

1 lime, juiced (we actually didn't have lemon juice for the marinade so I used the lime juice instead--super yummy!)
Sour cream
Cheddar cheese, shredded

In a resealable plastic bag combine 2 T of the vegetable oil, lemon juice (or lime juice), garlic, cumin, garlic powder, onion powder, hot sauce, salt, pepper and your choice of meat. Seal and toss the bag around to coat. Marinate in the refrigerator: 15 minutes for shrimp; 20 minutes for chicken; 1 hour for steak.

Preheat your cast iron servers in a preheated 400 degree F oven for at least 20 minutes, to get a good sizzle when you plate the fajitas. (We so skipped this step but if you've got cast iron servers and no small children around this could be fun!)

Heat the outside grill or a large indoor grill pan to medium-high heat. Remove the meat from the marinade and place it on the hot grill; discard the marinade. Cook meat until cooked through (chicken about 5 minutes per side, skirt steak about 3 minutes per side for medium-rare and about 2 minutes for shrimp). Slice the chicken and steak into strips.

In a large skillet heat up the remaining 2 tablespoons vegetable oil and fry the onions and bell peppers until crisp-tender with some salt and pepper.

Wrap the tortillas in foil and warm them in the oven with the servers for 15 minutes (or do what we did and microwave for about a minute). When you are ready to serve, remove the cast iron servers from the oven and quickly arrange the meat and peppers and onions on it. It will immediately start to sizzle from their fat and moisture. Serve sizzling immediately with the warm tortillas and other accompaniments. (Or just lay everything out buffet style and dig in!)
A great marriage is not when the 'perfect couple' comes together. It is when an imperfect couple learns to enjoy their differences. --Dave Muerer

Thursday, July 10, 2008

CurrySimple simplifies homemade Thai food

Though today is halfway over I felt it wasn't too late to highlight a recent favorite from Boutique Cafe's Daily Dish. And if you love Thai food but have yet to attempt making it at home, today's that's hot! thursday is for you!

CurrySimple prepares their sauces in Thailand from scratch using fresh, natural ingredients. They are so authentic CurrySimple counts many restaurants, caterers and private chefs among their best customers. The product line has received rave reviews from a variety of customers and publications alike, and the company now packages their sauces in smaller sizes so us common folk can cook gourmet Thai food at home.

CurrySimple’s product line includes curry sauces (red, green, yellow and masaman, Thai tea concentrate, Pad Thai sauce, Thai stir fry sauce and Coconut Soup (Tom Kha).
Read the full CurrySimple review to find out whether or not my husband, who loves all things Thai, enjoyed his Yellow Chicken Curry using CurrySimple's Yellow Curry Sauce.

Monday, July 7, 2008

all mompreneurs deserve a little R&R

I'm starting to detect a theme when it comes to my random mompreneur monday posts this summer. Perhaps it's because I've actually taken my own advice and am enjoying summer vacation...even with the kids at home. I'm currently typing this from my parents' home in California waiting for the 104-degree weather to hit. I'm hoping to cool off inside Trader Joe's, one of my must-visit places when I come out here since we don't yet have one in Utah.
Anyway, Trader Joe's Dunkers and Dark Chocolate Covered Raisins have nothing to do with today's post, which highlights a site I think is a fabulous resource for women business owners. I believe I've mentioned it before but it's worth mentioning again. is "an international network for women entrepreneurs to learn and support one another." The site, started about two years ago by a mom struggling to launch her own company, offers wonderful resources such as interviews, articles, and the ever popular networking events. Members even have access to experienced mentors (a.k.a. Fairy Godmothers) willing to share the secrets of their success with other Startup Princesses.

I have read numerous articles (I suggest you add the site's RSS feed to your blog reading list) and bookmarked many of them for future reference. I especially love the ones dealing with Life Balance issues. (Made a good start on that one this summer!) As a business owner I think it's extremely important to find sites chock full of resources and information that will help you grow your business, and is one of those sites. Check out the article "Success is a Decision." It just might change your thinking when it comes to the success of your own business (or any other task you undertake).

While you read I think I'll head downstairs, in my PJ's of course, and have a big bowl of Cocoa Pebbles for breakfast. I am on vacation, you know, so anything goes (and it's all calorie free!). --Emily