Wednesday, March 23, 2011

music for a snowy day

When you work at home and, as I do, mostly alone, music is an important part of the day. Music covers up the sound of me talking to myself out loud while it also sets the tone for the task at hand. I have playlists for different moods and jobs. Paperwork, my nemesis, requires something optimistic and toe-tapping to keep me from unravelling during my most loathed chore, while beat-the-clock packing sessions need something with a high BPM.

I'm always kind of giddy when I discover a new artist. Last night I was at Jeff Tweedy's acoustic show - my swoony-swoon-swoon dream concert - which was made all the more perfect by an opening act I'd never before heard of, Snowblink. It was just two people occupying a small piece of a big stage lit only by a few lanterns and a dim downlight. It was hypnotic and beautiful - both the music and the set. Perfect music for a snowy day. Filled with tax preparations.

Take a listen.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Aden + Anais: Swaddle Tutorial

The lovely and amazing Aden + Anais Swaddle Blankets are back in the shop. Joining the three best-selling prints, Princess Posie, Jungle Jam, and Prince Charming, is my new favourite, Mela. Included in the 3-pack is a gorgeous wispy peacock feather print that is so sophisticated and yet unexpectedly apropos for a baby. Love!

It always feels like spring to me when the baby shower gift orders start flowing. When a customer asks for a gift recommendation I turn to Aden + Anais. Why? Because without advertising and without editorial coverage these blankets became a favourite of parents pretty much just through word of mouth. These blankets are that useful and that nice. In fact, I found that parents who receive Aden + Anais blankets often come back to buy a pack to give to someone else. Now that's a happy customer.

If you're still wondering what makes them so useful, it really comes down to two five things:

1. Each wrap is 47" by 47", so they're even bigger than the flannel blankets hospitals use to swaddle babies. The large size is key to getting a snug swaddle that won't unravel when baby moves.

2. They are big enough to use to cover a stroller on a breezy or sunny day and big enough to use as a light and simple nursing cover.

3. Muslin is light and airy. Parents like it and babies like it. It gets softer with washing and is really durable.

4. Packs of four are unexpectedly useful: Keep one as a swaddle wrap, one in the diaper bag, one in the laundry and one as a nursing cover or burp cloth.

5. Even when you're swaddling days are over you will still use your Aden + Anais blanket.

Whew. That was an unexpectedly lengthy and effusive introduction. Back to swaddling. Here's how you take care of business:

Step 1
Lay your swaddle wrap in a diamond shape and fold the top corner down to form a triangle. Place your baby in the centre of the fold with his or her head just above the fold of the swaddle blanket. Make sure your baby's shoulders are below the fold.

Step 2
Place your baby's right arm, slightly bent at the elbow, flat against his or her body. Take the LEFT side of the swaddle blanket and bring it across baby's chest. Ensure the arm is securely under the fabric. Tuck the edge of the swaddle under baby's body. This ensures a snug swaddle that won't come loose when baby moves.

Step 3
Fold the BOTTOM point of the swaddle up and over baby's feet.

Step 4
Finally, place baby's left arm, slightly bent at the elbow, against his or her body. Take the RIGHT side of the swaddle and bring it across baby's chest. Tuck the excess fabric underneath baby to secure the swaddle.

Sweet dreams!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

30 Day Twitter Challenge: Day One Continued

Hallelujah the hashtag is explained. But first, when did the # symbol get renamed? Does the fact that I had no idea the symbol-formerly-known-as-pound is now called a hashtag mean I am hopelessly behind the times? In any case, I learned that the hashtag is a way to tag Twitter topics, thus making it easier to track, search and organize topics of interest. However. How to actually make use of a hashtag remains a mystery. Apparently if I were, say, a frequenter of after-parties the use of the hashtag would be crystal clear. It's all too advanced for me and I am regretting jumping ahead to the hashtag portion of the tutorial.

I humbly retreat.

30 Day Twitter Challenge: Day One Unfolds

The Twitter Pledge is on: I am giving Twitter 30 days to prove itself or I will dump it forever with a clear conscience.

Signing up for an account was a snap, though I always freeze when it comes to creating an online user name. Everything I come up with sounds lame or earnest or literal. Like honeybunchsays. But I have no time to ponder the consequences right now, so honeybunchsays it is. I can go back and make a change later.

Onward and upward. Now to find some folks to follow. Under the interest tab of "Family" Twitterers I quickly found a dozen people to add. Within an hour my new homepage (called a Timeline in Twitter-speak) was populated with, um, posts:

coolmompicks says "thanks so much @designfiles! We're still getting used to it."
pioneerwoman says "me want cookies."
momfinds says "found the most awesome baby gift - I want one"

So the first one had me confused. This is why I don't like online forums: catching up with a thread of someone else's conversation is frustrating and feels faintly voyeuristic. The second post validates my fear of time suckage. The third one piqued my curiosity, so I bit and followed the link. But it took me to Cool Mom's website and I felt a little defrauded. You mean you found not just an awesome baby gift but "the most awesome baby gift" on your own website? Chuh.

Day One Twitter Report Card:
For ease of use and general site organization I give Twitter a B+. Twitterers? D

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Mom Inc. in today's Toronto Star

But what I really mean to say is my kids are in the paper! Check it out: the business section of today's Star has a lengthy feature on Mom Inc., the book and mom inc., the phenomenon. Vanessa Lu, a business reporter from The Star got in touch last week on the heels of the book launch. At the end of our conversation Thursday afternoon she asked if I'd mind being photographed for the story. Mind? I am never, never ever, photo-ready. I am always in between haircuts, always trying to lose 15 pounds, and always sporting down-to-the-quick nails thanks to days spent handling paper and box cartons. So truthfully I do mind having my picture taken, but I said yes because when you are running your own business these are the opportunities that you are equally afraid to accept and to refuse.

So here we were at 4:00 on Friday afternoon. Can you imagine a worse time for a photographer to arrive? The kids usually get home around ten to four, completely shagged out, starving, noses running and normally one of them is nursing a scuffed knee. That I turned it all around in ten minutes and have everyone looking peaceful and pulled together is, truly, my proudest accomplishment right now. I am Mom Inc.

It occurs to me that this confession is not the typical response of someone who is featured in the day's business section. Perhaps I'm meant to say something business-y or boosterish about honeybunch. Don't care. My kids are in the paper. I don't have a double chin. I'm good.