Moms-to-be, Zika-Repellent Clothing is Now Available (REVIEW)

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Texas is the second state in America to experience a Zika-infection based on a home-grown mosquito. Florida was the first though Miami has  recently been cleared of all Zika-carrying mosquitos.

Now although mosquito season has sunsetted for now, the scary outcome of local virus-carrying insects could mean that the rest of the US is susceptible for its mosquitoes to start carrying the dangerous virus which causes deformity in babies being incubated if their mom is bitten and become infected.


While the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention continue to study the epidemic, and issue warnings and advice based on its findings, everyday folks must remain vigilante and be sure to wear mosquito repellent. This precaution is especially necessary for pregnant women, including those that live in warmer climates where mosquitoes exist or are flying around.

In addition to repellent, some clothing manufacturers are beginning to produce clothes that have an added repellent effect. For example, Nobitech is a Los Angeles, California-based athletic apparel company that sells garments treated with Skintex MR III, which is the only apparel treatment approved by the Environment Protection Agency to repel mosquitoes using microencapsulated technology.

Some of the garments in apparel 2016 Rio Summer Games athletes wore had Skintex technology which repels ants, flies, chiggers and midges, and is touted as a supplement to repel mosquitoes that may carry the West Nile Virus, Zika and Lyme disease-carrying ticks.

As an avid runner, serial charity race participant and outdoor trainer and exerciser, I was quite excited to receive a complimentary  long sleeve pull over top with a zipper (retails: $32.85) and running pants (retails: $55.75) to review. They both are made 100% of  microfiber polyester pk maX and fit ultra comfortably while  looking quite stylish. You wouldn’t even know they had a dual purpose because they resemble any other athletic clothing on the market, complete with the inherent moisture wicking quality.

For running and biking in the late evenings, there is reflective tape in the front and back. I also think I looked super cute in it and had to take a selfie for the Gram. (smile)

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The clothing has a shorter shelf life than some because they are only effective for 25 washes. Afterwards, it loses its repellent effectiveness and that is because the durable carrier used to bind permethrin to the garment dilutes over time. Also, to maintain effectiveness, the clothing should be washed separate form other clothing or washables. After worn out, the makers suggest that the clothing not be re purposed but instead disposed of in the trash so it does not contaminate water, food, or feed for storage or disposal.

But there should be no fear over the treatment because it is that technology that makes it work. Chamber tests have shown a significantly lower number of bites through a shirt containing  microencapsulated permethrin versus one that has non-encapsulated permethrin.

The price point starting at just $19.95 is pretty decent and very competitive given that, when combined with wearing mosquito repellent on the skin, you’re getting extra protection from life-altering viruses when wearing Nobitech clothing.

There are no maternity sizes but they go up to XXL and the material has plenty of stretch to accommodate a growing tummy for those who are expecting and love exercising outdoors or who simply want the extra protection of mosquito repellent clothing when out and about.

It’s a good choice for those who may just want to stay holed up at home while expecting. This clothing should provide some extra level of comfort if anything because it’s just an additional step of precaution. Get yours on their website at Nobitech!

 

Review: Peel off that Baby Weight but Still Eat Deelish Bread with Thin Slim Low-Carb Foods

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Whether you’re trying to peel off some of your pregnancy weight, slim down for resort season or to fit into your New Year’s Eve dress, you may be cutting back on your carbs to achieve your optimum weight goal.

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I know I am right now!


Not only am I trying to slim down for a professional photo shoot I’ll like to have later this month, but I’m also heading to the beach for the holidays and would love to be able to wear a momkini comfortably.

And because of that, I’ve been eating lettuce, cucumbers and rabbit food lately. boooo!

So…that is why I was uber excited to get a break from eating low calorie and low carb bland food yesterday when I pulled out one of my faves from my Thin Slim Foods collection of food items.

About a month ago, this company that specializes in low carb foods, sent me a nice sample of their products. The best part is that they have some of the foods typically on the naughty list when you’re cutting back: breads, pasta, bagels and desserts! Eeeek! Yes!

I mean, a slice of bread with 1 net carb gram per slice? Seriously!? You cannot beat that at all. Insane!

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I couldn’t really express my excitement in words over getting to eat yummy bread again, so I decided to post up a video review this round so you can get a feel for how much I enjoyed this product! I’m a believer. I’m going to have to buy my own when this runs out!

If you’d like your own, you can get some by clicking this link or any or the banner ads on this post. I’m a believer, for sure!

 

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Review: This Skincare System is Great to Fight Pregnancy-Related Skin Issues

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The husband and wife doctor and beauty expert team founded skincare line called Belli in 2002 which makes products especially for moms-to-be, hence its cute name. The company  recently introduced its Anti-Blemish Facial Wash, Acne Spot Treatment and Healthy Glow Facial Hydrator which one of our moms-to-be on staff reviewed in exchange for the product.

Fortunately for Sarah H., she has not experienced too many acne breakouts for her first pregnancy at 5 months into it, so she didn’t have to use the Acne Spot Treatment but to stave off potential problems, she washed her face with the Anti-Blemish wash. She said she felt her skin was refreshed and clean and clear after application.


The wash is touted to leave the skin clear and refined without over-drying. The facial wash doesn’t contain too many harsh chemicals in it that may be too toxic for an expectant mom-to-be. It does have lemon peel oil which is a natural anti-bacterial and skin brightener and green tea extract and cucumber, both rich in antioxidants. Those gentler ingredients, along with the lactic acid to cleanse and gently exfoliate acne-prone skin, make it easy to be used as a daily cleanser.

The instructions require you to leave it on your face for 5 minutes if you want an intensive facial ask.

Sarah H. said the facial hydrator was great and not too sticky but light on the skin. It is rich in botanical humectants to refine and soften the skin texture and it too has vitamin C which produces a boost of antioxidants to the skin. The formula includes grapeseed oil and it has a light citrus scent that is not too overpowering.

The Acne Spot treatment retails for $17, the Anti-Blemish Facial wash is $22; and the Belli Healthy Glow Facial Hydrator is $32 and comes in a 1.5 oz airless pump.

You can pick it up at Belliskincare.com, Ulta.com, Babies R Us, Buy Buy Baby andd other retailers nationwide. Overall, a great product for women looking for a gentle yet effective facial system to combat breakouts and moisturize the skin.

photosource: Belli, BabyKerf

Get These Tech Gadgets for Parents of Multiples

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It may be hard to believe, but those two (or more) heartbeats you saw on the ultrasound are now bouncing babies who are getting used to life outside of the womb. After an exciting pregnancy and birth, you are now back home with your darling infants and trying to settle into your new routine.

As you probably already know quite well, being the parent of multiples is both rewarding and challenging. From hoping they nap at the same time to trying to safely juggle two crying tots at once, this new lifestyle is definitely going to take some getting used to.


Fortunately, there are plenty of gadgets that can help make parenting two or more infants at once a bit easier. In those precious quiet moments when you can do some shopping online, you may want to check out the following devices.

Portable Home Monitor

New parents are often understandably extra concerned about keeping their homes and children as safe as possible. Thanks to the Nest Cam, you can solve both of these issues at once. The Nest Cam is easy to use and offers excellent video footage streamed right to your device. Just download the Nest app on your mobile device, like the Apple iPhone 7 smartphone, and plug in the camera in the room you want to monitor. Station it in your babies’ room and use it to remotely check on them during naps or bedtime. And when you head to the store with your tots to purchase more diapers and baby wipes, move the camera into a main part of the house to use as a home security camera. The camera will detect both audio and video footage in its range and send you notifications through the app of any movements or sounds it detects.

High-Tech Mobile

If you have older kiddos in addition to your newborns, you might remember the hand-cranked mobiles that you hung over the baby’s crib. While they played music for a few minutes as they wound down, the old school mobiles didn’t do much in the way of calming a fussy baby, or helping him to stay in dreamland. Thanks to the Dream Station by B Kids, your babies will be lulled into the land of nod with the device’s soft music and lights. As a major bonus, the built-in sensor can actually detect when your babies are moving less, and will react by phasing out the music and lights. When your infants wake up during the night, the Dream Station will respond by switching on soft lighting, which may help calm your babies enough to allow them to fall asleep again on their own. At the very least, the light will allow you to safely make it to their cribs without tripping over something on the nursery floor.

Vibrating Mattress Pad

There is nothing like a car ride to get even the fussiest baby to sleep. As the parents of two or more tots, you may find that you are spending more time than ever cruising around the neighborhood, gripping the wheel and hoping your babies will just nap already. To save you time, gas, sanity and increase the chances that your infants will learn to sleep in their own beds rather in their car seats, check out the Lulla-Vibe vibrating mattress pad from Munchkin. The battery operated small pad slips under each baby’s mattress and will cause it to gently vibrate for about 30 minutes, which should be enough time to convince your babes to drift off to sleep.

Hope these are helpful!

Eco-Friday: 4 Organic Baby Products We Tested Out and Love!

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People often equate the term and concept of organic to foods but did you know that organic products can include items like clothing, furniture and other non-edible things?

For this eco-friday, we’re running down some of our favorite organic items for baby and for those parents who are cautious about their carbon footprint and who want to ensure that all products they use are safe for the environment and the earth.


Here are four products that we’ve tested out and love!

1 The Organic Onesie

We’ve blogged before  in 2010 and again in 2013 about organic onesies. Yes, that’s a thing.  I adore San Francisco Bay area company Colette Kids  that produces a collection of super cute unisex clothing for infants, toddlers and children up to 6-years old. The company individually screen-prints by hand each of its signature designs.

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My 7-month old niece and Goddaughter Aubrey looked supercute in this soft and stylish Organic Gunther Giraffe Onesie made of 100% USDA Certified Organic Baby Rib cotton that Colette Kids sells. Get your own at their site for $25.00 which is worth it because this item is double stitched and will last in the wash. The chocolate tulle tutu is soft and didn’t irritate her infant skin. They offer free shipping for orders over $50. Nice!!

2 – The Organic Bib

I also recently discovered organic bibs  made by another California-based brand, Monbrigo. Why buy sub par quality bibs that get destroyed after a few washes when you can get a top premium, quality, well-stitched, soft and absorbent bib that lasts? Also, Monbrigo gives half of its profits to various community goodwill project. The bib designs are created by undiscovered and unsung talented artists from the area. The company donates to food banks and projects that get healthy organic and farm fresh produce to low-income areas and food deserts. Love!!

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We partnered with Monbrigo in the past and it generously offered Bellyitch readers get an exclusive deal at checkout! 20% off with the code BELLYITCH.

3 – The Organic Crib Mattress

If you didn’t know, you can even get an organic mattress for your baby.  Eco-friendly foam and innerspring mattresses tend to be made with fewer chemicals, plastics, and PVC (vinyl), and a greater percentage of renewable and sustainable materials, such as cotton, fast-growing bamboo, coir, plant-based foam, and natural latex (rubber from tree sap that’s been injected with air). Some eco-friendly foam mattresses are made with soybeans or oils from other plants.

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Also, the manufacturing process for some eco-friendly crib mattresses tends to produce fewer carbon emissions.

I am a fan of partners Naturepedic . It sells the No-Compromise Organic Cotton Classic 150 crib mattress which is made from  “U.S.-grown organic cotton filling” and a polyethylene plastic waterproof surface that, the manufacturer says, is free of vinyl/ PVC, phthalates, lead, or antimicrobial biocides. It sells for $260.  In general, prices for eco-friendly mattresses are higher than regular mattresses.  But when you get a mattress that limits the exposure to toxins, you have to pay a premium for it. (smile)

4 – The Organic Mobile

Finally, love love products that have a social good aspect to them as well. Pebble by Kahiniwalla is a nursery collection of the cutest, Fair Trade toys, blankets, mobiles and other items. The Nursery Collection offers a wide variety soft, cuddly and unique toys, blankets and more are the perfect way to welcome baby into your home and family.

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Personally, I admired the intricate and delicate detailing of an Organic Bird mobile Kahiniwalla sent us to check out. It feels good to know that all of the painstaking time that impoverished women at an economic independence and job creation program in Bangladesh took to put this gorgeous nursery product together will actually benefit them. At $38.00, this handmade mobile is a wonderful bargain and it is unique and unlike any other. It adds some whimsical and care to any nursery.

There you have it. Four organic products we tested out and absolutely loved for their quality and goodness to the earth.

EcoFriday: Fight Fall Allergens with This Tiny-Silent Air Purifier (REVIEW)

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So we are officially into the Fall allergy season and my family are suffering! We live in an official tree city (as designated by the National Arbor Day Foundation) which also means that we are exposed to lots of tree pollen and other seasonal allergens. We are fighting fall ragweed pollen season over here.

And we’re not just dealing with outdoor allergens, but indoor ones too.


For us, Autumn is also the season that we wash and put away old clothes, give away items to Goodwill and do some dusting of the fans and airing out the rugs. All of these things accumulate airborne particles, and contain microbiological antigens that make up our household air pollution.

We utilize air purifiers to circulate the air in the home so dust doesn’t settle but the one we have are a bit on the noisy side, and they are pretty large and look like a portable air conditioner unit.

We partnered up with the makers of AirFree, a tiny purifier that sterilizes the air without the use of a filter and allows air to flow in and out while safely and effectively eliminating  dangerous dust particles. They provided us a unit to test out for our opinion.

Recent literature from the Environmental Protection Agency suggests that exposure to air pollution during pregnancy can cause adverse birth outcomes and health problems for the mother and child.

So, we handed off the unit to our reviewer, Lauren C., who is expecting a third baby this November, to test it out in her room. She plans to transfer it to the baby’s nursery when he arrives.

One thing Lauren pointed out was how quiet the Airfree unit was. “You can’t even tell it is on.”

But it is on and according the makers, which claim that Airfree is the most tested purifier on the market, it does its job almost silently.

Airfree takes in our indoor air and uses high heat to destroy all airborne particles, allergens, mold spores and microbiological antigens and returns it to the environment, providing you with clean, sterile air.

A louder unit may disturb baby as he sleeps so it’s pretty cool to know that Airfree is on the job and keeping the room fresh and pure every day, around the clock.

That’s some great assurance and I may need to order a few units for a few rooms in our home as well!

 

Review: This Larimar Stone Pendant Would Make a Great ‘Push Gift’

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Whether you are a first time mom-to-be or a veteran mom having a second or third child, you may or may not have heard about the new trend growing in popularity in the United States called “push present” or “push gift”.

Essentially, it is a gift that a spouse or partner gives the expecting mom before or right after she gives birth. And even though the term references the “pushing” that happens in the delivery room, women who have C-Sections are also presented with a reward.


Often times, it is a piece of jewelry, though some have gifted spa or girls get-away trips, automobiles and other luxury items. For those on a limited budget, we’ve heard of some new moms given gift certificates to their favorite restaurant, flowers or hand-made gifts.

There is controversy surrounding it as some women who consider themselves to be feminist consider the new tradition as a chauvinistic one but not all agree.

I’m all for them and wish they were a trending thing when I was growing my family over 8 to 14 years ago.

Fortunately though, I got a chance to check out a new jewelry company that sells items that I think would make perfect push gifts because they have a secondary value.

Larimar Bliss handcrafts Larimar jewelry for women. In case you’re unfamiliar with Larimar, it’s a strikingly gorgeous turquoise gemstone that can only be found in the Dominican Republic. Other than widely being considered the Apex of turquoise stones, it’s also believed to have holistic healing attributes.​

I’m a firm believer in holistic and Eastern medicine and certainly the power of stones crystals.   Ancient civilizations have utilized the power of crystals to release mental, physical and spiritual blockages which are thought to also facilitate the free flow of throughout the body. On a cellular level, our bodies and quartz crystal are both made up of mineral silicon-dioxide. Because of this, we are naturally receptive to the vibrations of crystals as they transmit, reflect, store light and receive energy. When crystals and stones are placed directly on your body, they have a powerful vibratory effect that surges from the stone or crystal to you. According to the law of physics, thoughts direct energy and energy follows thought. The stones or crystals are thought to be a tool to help the thoughts of our consciousness connect with our body.

I partnered up with Larimar Bliss which sent me this gorgeous Curve Pendant (retail: $249) to review. It has a unique and whimsical shape and delicately houses the stone in the middle. The piece is certainly a conversation starter.

I first wore it to a casual event when I felt I would benefit from the good vibes that would eminiate from the stone. I certainly felt mindful and connected to the stone as I went about my day that day.

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I then sported the stone to a formal reception and party this weekend during date night with my husband.

I styled it with a black mini dress with a flare skirt and a square plunging neckline that revealed the pendant. It was the pop of color to my black dress which I paired with nude patent leather pumps and a tan crocheted clutch. It was a little bit of warm weather for the transitioning season as Summer comes to a close.

I thought to wear my hair up to showcase the pendant more but eventually opted with wearing it down and using it as a double frame around the pendant.

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I think it worked well. I loved the look overall.

For function and purpose and style, this Curve Pendant was perfect. Larimar Bliss has a large collection of other pieces. Customers leave positive feedback on the pieces all the time. Definitely consider Larimar Bliss!

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I Tried on that Highly Buzzed Revolutionary ‘It Bra’ and I liked it! (REVIEW)

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I didn’t think it would be possible, but I’ve actually discovered the perfect bra that I want to wear every day and everywhere! Actually, it discovered me when I was offered to review a sample of the Knix Wear 8-in-1 Evolution Bra, a high-tech functional yet fashionable sports bra made of moisture-wicking, odor-absorbent fabrics.

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The material is seamless and fits perfectly over your skin with no underwire or other extra elements. It’s like butter, baby. I mean, I love the way it felt while wearing it. It’s an athletic type bra and one that I’d feel comfortable wearing to the gym and everything.  Since it arrived in my mail box, along with some samples of the Knix Fresh Fix Technology underwear, they have been my go-to undergarments of choice.

Back to the bra. It is the brain child of Toronto-Canada-based Joanna Griffiths and her co-founders who tested the bra on 70 different women with varying cup sizes and of all activity levels, during yoga, swimming, sleeping and working. When complete, they launched a crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo and raised $60, 000 before later raising $1.5 million in funding from other sources and scoring major partnerships with elite brands like Spandex and the like.

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The bra was created with functionality in mind and comes in sizes 32A to 38DD, and cost $55. That’s a generous and reasonable price point for a virtually everyday bra. I wasn’t privy to all of the marketing and hype that accompanied the brand’s release (it’s been featured on virtually every media outlet and was the most successful online crowdsource fundraising campaign in Canada, at one time) so I didn’t have the high expectations that others had. I searched the net and saw a few skeptics, but that unawareness was good because my feedback and reaction to the product is from the perspective a genuine first time user.

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“We have created a product that women have been waiting for,” Knix Wear founder Joanna Griffiths told Mashable. “The bra, like its construction, is a chameleon: part fashion, part function, part everyday, part sports bra.”Knix claims the bra will cut down your bra count by half given that the average woman owns about 9 bras, according to SkinMag online.

The innovation behind the bra is similar to the line of underwear Knix invented that I mentioned earlier in this post, the Fresh Fix Technology, and they too come in a variety of styles,  from the lacy Knixy thong to comfy seamless boy shorts.

Typically, because I am pretty modest, I avoid posting photos of myself in my underwear, but this bra is so tastefully chic that I was even cool showing it off here (well with some blur effects! lol)

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…And even to wear it under a top and having it show through like with this striped shirt dress. Score! Overall, I highly recommend this bra and would even gift it to friends and family!

 

Nab These School Supplies that Also Give Back to US Schools In Need

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I was doing some last minute back-to-school shopping with my children at Target and I bumped into the Yoobi social good company’s display of products. Yoobi is a company that sells colorful, vibrant home, office and school supplies that give back.  For every Yoobi item purchased, Yoobi donates an item to a classroom in need right here in the U.S. Together with the Kids In Need Foundation, Yoobi has impacted more than 1.5 million kids nationwide.

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The Yoobi x iamOTHER folders I purchased from Target

This Summer, the company announced a partnership with producer, businessman and recording artist Pharell Williams and his umbrella media company called i am OTHER, a creative collective specializing in music, film, television, fashion and technology.


The resulting initiative is called Yoobi x i am OTHER  and according to a press release I received in July, it embodies a positive message about self-acceptance, individuality and motivation to meet one’s potential while giving back to those less fortunate.

Pharrell Williams described the purpose behind the collection, “Being OTHER is knowing that that which makes you different is what makes you special, and that when unique individuals come together, collectively there’s a lot of power in that.  The goal of this Yoobi x i am OTHER collection is to inspire kids and give them the confidence to celebrate their uniqueness.  We also want to inspire kids to take care of others and give back to their communities.  When I think back to my time in school, I realize how important having the right tools were in my life which is why I relate to Yoobi’s mission. It is hard enough for a child in a compromised school and educational system to do well. We need to be able to provide them with the tools they need to succeed because education is everything.”

The items are available exclusively at Target, Yoobi.com and Yoobi’s flagship store.  The collection features over 50 unique items including a wide range of i am OTHER designed notebooks and binders, backpacks, pens and pencils, folders, lunch bags, and more.

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“This is a complicated time in the world. We wake up every day with a responsibility to make our kids feel safe and to answer their challenging questions.  Now more than ever it is important for them to feel supported and empowered to embrace their differences and sameness, their faults and perfections. Knowledge isn’t just what is taught in books, but teaching tolerance, acceptance, love and most of all, compassion for others. Teachers today have a lot on their plate, and together with

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Yoobi’s CEO and Co-Founder Ido Leffler chimed in: “Pharrell and i am OTHER, we want to help make a part of their job a little easier – by providing the right tools to ensure everyone starts on the same playing field and has the same opportunities to succeed, while sharing a message that we believe will resonate and inspire.”

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The items were created with the input of children who participated in a focus group. Learn more about the partnership, Yoobi and iamOTHER here:


And at a recent launch this August 10 that I missed getting my invitation to, I noticed that our blog subject alums Christina Milian and Mayte Garcia attended the Los Angeles, California event.

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Singer, actress & Reality TV star Christina Milian attends Yoobi x iamOTHER LA launch event

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Mayte Garcia and daughter at Yoobi x i AM OTHER launch event in LA.

Here are some of the items you can get:

Yoobi x iaO Lookbook_LR.pdf56 Yoobi x iaO Lookbook_LR.pdf1

Review: VTech’s New 2 Camera monitor lets You keep an Eye on Two kids at a Time

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Baby monitors have come a long way since I last had a baby. My interest was piqued at learning about one of VTech‘s new monitor that had a temperature sensor, split-screen viewing and the option to monitor more than one child or room at a time.  My goodness! Parents can now have a virtual high tech security system just to watch their kids nowadays.

We wanted to get a closer look and took up VTech’s offer to give a review sample for a spin. One of our Bellyitch readers, Lauren, a third-time mom-to-be tested out the VTech Safe&Sound Bear 2 Camera Full-Color Video Monitor (VM341-216).


First off, she said she thought that the teddy bear-shaped camera was cute and would look great in the baby’s nursery.  It’s white and matches the decor. There was a second camera that she placed in her 8-year old son Ethan’s room so she could keep an eye on him too after she’d send him to bed at the end of the night.  Both cameras feature automatic night vision and full-color video that display on a large 4.3-inch LCD. Lauren found the size of the screen was ample and  she didn’t have to squint or lean in closer to check in on the kids.

For the baby, there is a built-in lullaby and soothing sounds setting so baby can be comforted without having her enter the room. It  would be perfect when it is time for sleep training. Also, given that a big cause of concern over SIDS death is overheating, the monitor’s temperature sensor can help mom make sure the nursery isnt’ too hot.

Again, she too found it neat that you can choose from multiple viewing options, including single view (one camera only), split-screen viewing (all paired cameras at once) and patrol mode (single view that transitions to a different camera every seven seconds). Very convenient and inventive!
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With the talk back intercom, Lauren can give her 8-year old instructions from downstairs. The sound and transmission worked two stories down, Lauren said.

The unit can be placed on a table or mounted to the wall to avoid tumbles. It has 9-level of sound indicator and if she is working in the backyward or folding clothes in the basement, she can clip on the receiver to her waist and keep it moving. Multi-tasking is where it’sat!

Feedback/Final Thoughts: Lauren’s favorite feature is the monitor and the fact that the screen is large enough and she can see the baby even in the dark. It was easy to assemble and set up straight from the box. The retail price is $199 which Lauren said she thought was actually reasonably priced for what you get. The sound came thru for her loud and clear for her and she said she would recommend this product so people can kp an eye on baby while in another room.