Sunday, November 27, 2011

Name Bubbles - one of my favorite products ever!

As a disclaimer, I'm not getting a kickback for writing this.  I just had to share how much I love this product and company.  And with Christmas coming up, it's something to think about.
A few years ago I came across a blog review of a new product called Name Bubbles.  I was intrigued.  Stickers that stay on in the laundry, microwave and dishwasher?  The review was glowing, but I still wasn't convinced.  "IF they stay on," I thought, "they must be made of something so heavy duty that it would irritate your skin like a cheap tag pokes at you all day."  How wrong I was!  These labels are everything they promise to be.

My oldest daughter has some skin issues and since she was a tiny thing, she has complained about itchy tags in her clothes.  Some I would just cut out of her clothes. Since I wanted to save some of her nicer things for either selling later or handing down to her sister without wondering what size they were, I didn't want to cut all the tags out. Many of them had bandaids covering them.  Some bandaids stayed on for a long time, some created a sticky mess.

So to make a short story long, I emailed the new company and asked if these award winning Name Bubbles would irritate my daughter's sensitive skin, figuring, if they said, "no" I'd try them out.  Instead of assuring me that they would not bug my daughter, the owner asked if she could send me a sample to try out...for both of my daughters!  I was stunned and excited to try them out.  A few weeks later, I got 4 packs of adorable tiny little stickers with my girls' names on them.  I was impressed just by looking at them, but the real test was whether they really do stay on in the laundry or dishwasher and whether my daughter would squirm and whine about them against her neck.  They were more thin than a bandaid and they were flexible.   I immediately stuck one on her shirt.  She didn't complain.  I stuck them on everything: clothes, bottles, shoes, coats, anything that left my house regularly.

They stayed on in the laundry and the dishwasher and didn't make a sticky mess.  2 years later, the labels are still attached and have gone through 2 kids and favorite t-shirts.  I've told many friends about the company and the product and many have purchased this amazing product.  I am thrilled to see that Name Bubbles, designed by then new mom, Michelle, is growing and succeeding.  What's not to love about this company?  A mom sees a problem, solves it and then offers the solution to other moms with the same problem.  Clearly put your kids' names on their stuff - you can read it and it won't wash off.  Brilliant!

So, here's my plug for Name Bubbles:  BUY THESE!!!  There are many value packs to choose from, many styles, sizes and color themes.  My personal favorite are the Bitty Bubbles and Bubble Tags, mostly because they're what I've used most.  They're tiny little labels that fit on anything.  They also have medical alert labels, allergy alert labels, contact info. labels, labels for shoes, oversized labels, tiny labels and they're dishwasher and laundry safe!  Their laminated laundry labels can withstand bugspray, sunscreen and the heaviest of detergents.  Really, how can you NOT be impressed?

In addition to various size options, there are icons and shapes to choose from too.  There are juvenile styles for young kids and monogrammed or classic styles for older kids and adults with fun color options for everyone...and they can be used on everything. 

So, in thinking about the holidays, these are great stocking stuffers for any kid from newborn to college.  They're great for adults too, I kind of wish I had some with my name too, since I'm prone to leaving my things all over town.  There is a great sampler pack that includes six pages of personalized stickers that you can order up to 6 different names.  This pack is only $19.88 and is great for stocking stuffers for multiple children or party favors or if you have several kids and only a few things to label.  I love how they offer this product for almost every budget.

Here's a section from their last press release, and it still doesn't adequately describe how much easier your life will be with these labels!  
Name Bubbles' School Labels and Preschool Labels come in a variety of sizes and styles that are waterproof, dishwasher, laundry, and microwave safe.
"My son enters Kindergarten this fall and I believe I may be more nervous than he is. I’ve already started labeling his lunchbox, clothing and school supplies, so I’ll have one less thing to worry about as the big day approaches," said Michelle Brandriss, CEO and founder of Name Bubbles. "This will be the first time my son will be solely responsible for carrying his own backpack and keeping tracking of his personal items. The amount of supplies that he is required to bring at such an early age was surprising, and I want to avoid digging through the lost-and-found box."
Name Bubbles School Pack is a perfect mix of labels for school and afternoon activities. The label pack has an easy press-and-stick application with many designs and colors to choose from. With 88 personalized labels for $33.88, your child will be using their bubbles in many practical ways, including:
*  8 Square Bubbles - perfect for big ticket items, such as an iPod or gaming system, that might need a phone number and e-mail to be returned
*  16 Fun Bubbles - great for water bottles, bento boxes, and pencil cases
*  18 Mini Bubbles - skinny waterproof labels for pencils and pens, staplers and tape dispensers
*  2 Super Bubbles - extra large labels for sports and after-school gear
*  28 Bitty Bubble OR 25 Bubble Itz (laundry labels differ by style chosen) press-and-stick kids clothing labels, the perfect solution for quick and easy labeling that stays put
*  16 Pairs of Bubbles Toes - our popular shoe labels that are laminated for extra durability but can be used on any personal item heading out the door.
Created for busy families - by a busy mom.
Prior to founding Name Bubbles, Brandriss home-tested name labels from several companies, but she quickly became frustrated with their limited options for styles, colors, and personalization. There were so few colors and designs available that mix ups still occurred and she also learned the extent of her son’s food allergies. Wanting a label that provided both medical instructions and contact information, Brandriss took the reins and designed her first series of Name Bubbles at a local coffee shop in Upstate New York. Since then, the company has grown into a print facility and offers an entire line of personalized waterproof labels to families all over the world.

About Name Bubbles
Winner of the prestigious iParenting Award for Outstanding Products, Name Bubbles are fun and functional waterproof press-and-stick name labels designed to help busy families keep track of school supplies, toys, clothing, hand-held electronics, baby bottles, school uniforms, sports equipment, and much more. Name Bubbles waterproof labels are safe for the dishwasher, laundry, and microwave. Custom label packs are available for school labels, daycare labels, camp labels and clothing labels. They can all be personalized and purchased right on the Name Bubbles Web site at
So, there you have it.  A great gift, a great product, a great company.  I can't reiterate enough.  BEST PRODUCT EVER.  Really. Get them.  Go buy these NOW.  Have I stated this clearly enough yet?  Am I starting to annoy you?  GOOD.  Then do something about it.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Sweet Baby Girl

A friend of mine is having a baby girl.  This wouldn't be unusual or overly exciting for most, but this particular friend has 3 boys already.  We were all shocked and thrilled for her when she told us she was expecting a girl this time around.  She's a wonderful mom and I've always thought that good parents should have lots of kids.   My sweet friend, Tiffany thought it would be fun to shower her with girl clothes and accessories (since her house is full of all things boy), so she recruited a couple of us to help throw her a shower.  Our friend, Meredith, is a wedding planner and what better person to help with a party than a party planner, right?  She was amazing.  I can't take much credit for this party other than the cupcakes (shocking, right?) and it happened to be at my house.  I can't really even take much credit for my house being clean, since my mother did much of it the night before when she was babysitting for my girls.  (I have the BEST mom ever - don't even try to argue that one, you'll lose.)

So, in addition to the beautiful decorations and candy buffet that was set up on my dining room table, there was a lovely fruit display that was made to look like a baby buggy (thanks to Renee).  The main cupcake request was carrot cake, which honestly, I can hardly say aloud without gagging a little, but my friend over at MommaCakes gave me her fail-safe recipe and I hear they tasted good (to those strange people who eat veggies in their cake).  I also made devil's food and butter cupcakes, for the rest of us.
Carrot with Cream Cheese frosting

Butter with Classic Vanilla Buttercream

Devils Food with Buttercream
(and, to toot my own horn, those little hot chocolate cups on top were my favorite!)

The punch was a hit too, though again, I can't claim credit for it.  We did a chocolate coffee punch and a strawberries and cream punch that were both amazing.  I think the recipes were found online somewhere, but here they are!

Pink Strawberry Punch
1/2 gallon vanilla ice cream
1 2-liter Strawberry soda
1 qt. fresh strawberries, coarsely mashed

Allow ice cream to soften and add 2/3 of it to a punch bowl.  Add strawberries and strawberry soda and stir.  Add more ice cream to the top.

Chocolate Coffee Punch
8 tbsp. instant coffee
3 qts. hot water
1 tbsp. vanilla
2 c. sugar
2 qts. milk
1 small can chocolate syrup
1/2 gallon vanilla ice cream

Heat water.  Add coffee and sugar and stir until dissolved.  Let cool.  Add milk, vanilla and chocolate. Refrigerate overnight if possible. 30 minutes before serving, scoop ice cream into punch bowl and add coffee mixture.  Makes 40 servings.

Happy Baby Girl, Heidi!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Midnight Snacks

I've been wanting to try these for a LONG time, but haven't had the energy for it until this week.  You'd think I'd find a different weekend than the one I have to make 6 dozen cupcakes for different events and people, but no, no.  I'm crazy like that.

And let's face it, I secretly also want everyone to think I'm a super star and a little superhuman.  Don't pretend you wouldn't wish it.

I call these little cakes Midnight Snacks.  They have everything you need for a late night snack:  dark chocolate, vanilla ice cream, potato chips and soda - or pop for the mid-westerners (I'm so with you guys) or Coke for the southerners (ya'll are a little weird).  Salty, sweet and plenty of chocolate!

These are divinely dark chocolate cupcakes filled with sweet vanilla cream (my take on ice cream), with chocolate cola flavored buttercream and topped off with chocolate covered kettle potato chips.  What could be better?

(And don't worry, you southern folks, when I lived there, for a season of life, I called all pop Coke too.  I remember the first time I asked for a Coke at a restaurant and the server asked me "what kind?"  It took me a while to get it, but I eventually learned to fit in.  People make fun of us mid-westerners for calling everything "pop" too.)

Friday, November 4, 2011

dabbling in card making

I love bartering...for many reasons.  I love that I can share in someone else's expertise for something they can offer.  I have exchanged voice lessons for babysitting, cakes for photos, and a variety of other trades.  One I'm looking forward to is having our favorite nurse practitioner at our pediatrician office knit me a felted purse if I do the finishing work for one for her.  When you barter, you get things at cost, you get them more personalized and you know what to expect because you usually know someone's work already.

My latest exchange is with my favorite photographer,Olive Avenue Photography.  I designed and made thank you cards for her business and she is going to design my Christmas photo cards...if I ever pick my photos for her.  I used to make cards all the time, and I sometimes make them for something special, but I don't do it much any more for one reason or another.  When I'm commissioned to do something creative, I'm always up for the challenge.

Jess wanted something simple and classy, but also fun.  Here is what I came up with and I think she likes them!

 The envelope has one single heart front center.  Some with bubble dots, some without for mailing.

Anyone else want to barter?  If you'd like a list of my services available, let me know.  They are vast, because, as we all know, I'm so very wonderful and you know you wish you were me.  <insert laugh track here>