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Best Stationary Bikes Other Than Peloton

peloton instructors in front of a wall

Disclosure: This post may have affiliate links. If you purchase any item mentioned in this post, I will earn a small commission from the sale. 

With lockdown ahead, fitness fanatics will once again turn to interactive fitness equipment like Peloton bikes, and  fitness apps

As the country and the entire world goes back on lock down as cases of COVID-19 start the surge again, fitness fans and those of us working to unload some of our Quarantine 15 pounds will have to find at-home ways to exercise.

The new restrictions would mean workout apps like Beach Body On Demand, remote fitness equipment like Peloton bikes and on-demand online and mobile workout apps offered by gyms and exercise studios, large and small, will once again start to be the go-to source for fitness fanatics.

Not long ago, I counted myself among the super fit. I  would participate in charity road races every month. With work, life, family obligtions, I’ve fallen off the wagon but do plan to get back on the saddle.

I am familiar with the  Peloton revolution as I had downloaded the app so I could preview and explore the hundreds of free non-bike specific exercise classes which are available free for 60 days!

Peloton — at home fitness

Peloton Effect

I quickly began to understand the appeal to the disruptive spin bike company.

The bike comes with a 24-inch screen, access to world-class spin instructors and hundreds of fitness classes including 10-14 live daily classes and dozens of on-demand ones.

Early in the pandemic, a lot of people were like me and so much so that Peloton’s stock price jumped as sales soared durig the initial lockdown. While dealing with an order backlog, the company decided to forego participating in Black Friday this year and instead  decided to sell its world-reknown bikes which retails for $1, 895, a drop from its original $2,245 original price.

Beyonce x Peloton advert

The company upped its game again recently when it announced a collaboration with pop star Beyonce which involves Rides featuring her music.

Beyonce and Peloton worked together to create a series of themed workouts for her “Homecoming” HBO visual album, which is being held virtually this year due to the pandemic.

Additionally, Beyonce and Peloton are gifting two-year Peloton memberships to students at 10 HBCUs, and Peloton will also build recruiting partnerships with these schools.

Peloton bra model

Peloton Alternatives

While the idea of a 24″ HD screen that can rotate 360 degrees and a sturdy bike that can withstand the rigors of an intense rider sounds great, there are a few other bikes out there that will do the trick for less than half the cost.

Here are a few bikes that I have my eye on and am hoping some Black Friday sales come thru as well:

Bowflex

Bowflex C6 spin bike

Fitness equipment maker Bowflex‘s answer to the Peloton bike is its C6 which sells for  half the price of a Peloton bike at $999 and Bowflex throws in a pair of 3lb dumbells, adds an aditional 5-year mechanical warranty, a total of 10 years for its bike. The annual cost for the Bowflex workout subscription for the app service is $158 a year which is about 1/4th of Peloton’s annual subscription which is $468.

The C6 does not come with the monitor but it allows users to tether the bike with an app they connect to their Apple TV, a regular streaming TV or a phone or tablet.

Woman modeling Echelon spin bike

Echelon

A price point below that is the Echelon Connect Sport Indoor Cycling Exercie Bike which retails for $497 and is essentially a Walmart exclusive Peloton knock off complete with its own app  that comes with 1,600 rides included for 6 months of its subscription service.

Sunny Health

On the even lower end of the spectrum is the Sunny Health and Fitness SF-B1002 Belt Drive Indoor Cycling Bike which sells for just $369 but has excellent reviews and comes well recommended for being stable, able to accommodate 100mph speed, is quiet and easy to assemble.

'woman modeling SUnny spin bike

 

Like Orange Theory, Peloton riders, have a cult-like following. They buy the gear and wear the branded clothing. But sometimes, the tops the instructors wear catch the eye of female riders and a new style trend takes off!

I noticed on Facebook this weekend that three of my friends were wearing the exact same cut-out bra. The linking characteristics of these three friends? They each are avid Peloton riders.

woman in cut out sports bra

It is sold on Amazon for $15, but I found a similar one at Romwe for 9.95. The plus to both of these is that the bra is well constructed for the price and it comes with padding!

Woman in Rowe Sports bra

Alo, a California-based yoga studio with studios and shops in Cali and New York, sells a version for a slightly higher price ($54).

Woman in Alo Sports bra

It gets excellent reviews as well from verified purchasers who describe the bra as comfortable, edgy and stylish. Their only complaint is that it has no padding and my not be suitable for HIIT workouts but is great for everything else.

Woman in free People ruffle Sports bra

Free People makes the Ruffle Me Up Sports bra which is a whole lot of feminine mixed with sporty.

Woman in Urban Outfittrs Sports bra with dog on deck

Finally, Urban Outfitters comes thru with the sexy pushup version in its Year of Ours Victoria sports bra.

SHOP MORE SPORTS CUT OUT BRAS

The appeal  of the black cut out bra phenomenon is not necessarily new. Fitness pro Sylwia Wiesenberg wore a similar cut out bra in her Femme Fatale workout video back in 2014 and similarly, inspired thousands of women to go out and get a similar bra.

DIY Celestial Themed Teen Purple Room Makeover {REVIEW VIDEO INSIDE}

During the current pandemic, a lot of people are using their extra time cooped up at home to do thorough cleaning of junk stored in their closets, attics, garages and basements and to redecorate and upgrade existing spaces or to expand and enhance their outdoor living spaces.

I am on that bandwagon and recently, I decided to finally upgrade the drab first floor guest room in my home which my daughter has been staying in as her personal bedroom. It lacked design and looked pretty rundown.

I wasn’t going to do it alone. My daughter had to put in some sweat equity into this project. I let her pick out the base color.

[HOW TO UPDATE YOUR DAUGHTER’ BEDROOM ON A BUDGET]

When I was a kid, my favorite color is purple and my daughter also considers that shade one of her faves so she decided that she wanted to have the walls painted purple. Purple is a color or royalty and is associated with celestial beings like the stars and the moon so we gravitated to that theme for the room.

The Budget

The total cost for the remodel: $500! Can you believe that?

My first investment was on good quality paint so  I invested in the PPG Timeless brand which can cost up to $100 per gallon but gets great reviews because you only have to use one coat.

The paint has a primer built in and is supposed to go on even and smoothly so you do not need to apply a second coat at all.  It was a little bit pricier than basic paint but still reasonable at $50, after shipping and tax for the gallon.

Next: Paint essentials!

Home Depot sells a reasonably priced paint kit that comes with a tray, liner, a couple of brushes, rollers and an edge brush for about $15! That’s a steal and while not professional quality, it was perfect for a small DIY job in a home.

Furnishings and Accents

We decided to keep some of the existing furnishings  in that  room or use some of the items I have picked up from Christmas bazaars and thrift stores here and there. Pre-Covid era, I used to like to purchase items that are heirloom quality or top quality when I see them when out and about thrifting or visiting yard sales on the weekends.

For example, I got the lamp and curtains in this photo above from a consignment shop nearby for about $7  each, or $15 total and I purchased the Ikea desk second hand for $20 from a local seller using Facebook Marketplace.  It was in perfect shape!

I had previously purchased a used office chair from the same guy and he offered me the desk though he hadn’t listed it at all. Sweet!

In lieu of just an accent wall, we decided to paint the entire room purple.

The Hiccup

Unfortunately, we discovered when we were done that the deep eggplant color was too overwhelming and too dark. My daughter and I decided to balance the dark wall with white or light colored linen and decorative accents.

I got a bed in the bag at Marshalls for about $60 and it included two accent pillows, a comforter, a flat sheet and fitted sheet, a sham pillow and a pair of pillow cases. We got it in queen size which is the size of the bed in that room. Kohls also sells these bed in bags for twin, full, queen and King sized beds starting about that the price I paid as well.

We diluted an entire wall by purchasing a white tapestry linen in a paisley print to drape that side of the room. It was only about $20 and was a popular brand, Ralph Lauren though Dormify sells plenty starting at just $11 for quality linen!

 

We let the celestial print in the bedding and tapestry drive the the theme and hung accent string lights from the ceiling and framed the wall and artwork framed in white with lights. The lighting also helped soften the dark colored purple walls too.

 

DIY Dresser Update

There was dark furnishings in the room before that we moved them out and to further lighten up the room via furniture, I decided to DIY spray paint a brown dresser in the room white. It was a bit of task because I did not have an electric sander and did not put enough energy sanding it with sand paper.

As you will see if you watch my video documenting the makeover, it was initially, a disaster because the first coat of chalk spray paint I purchased just ran over the sheen of the original paint job. Ugh!

I went to YouTube and found a video of a young lady, Desia Jean,who painted her furniture but who decided to skip the step of sanding it down first. I followed her lead and learned from her mistakes and subsequently, headed back to the store to pick up two more cans of semi gloss and that worked!

I really liked how the final paint job turned out. The paint was distributed evenly and without the blotches and sheer patches that were visible in previous coats. Phew! I had to have patience and trust the process!

I got new drawer pulls at the home design store that had a Victorian look to them for about $2 a knob (or $8 total) to tie in with the purple, mystical, celestial theme I was going for with this room makeover.

Luckily, I had already purchased some framed crafty cloth art work with green and purple in them which tied in well with the color scheme.

I went to Lowe’s and purchased a lamp shade a rustic old lamp we had in the basement for about $30 and we kept a steel grey side table that was in the room before because it blended in better with the new aesthetic than the old wooden chest and side tables that were in  the old version of the room did.

Decorating the Walls

While we were shopping for the linen and accent pieces, we found a large canvas sketch of a woman’s back and I thought it matched perfectly with a framed sketch of a ballerina’s back I had in my first apartment after college.

I fetched my old artwork from the basement and hung it up next to the white canva and framed it with the star string lights. Together, the grouping matched perfectly.

We got three other pieces of white framed artwork that cost about $15 each.

 

 

Finishing Touches

Finally, we picked up a couple of accent area rugs in white with a print and a light gray one at TJ Maxx for about $20 each and found the same brands online for similar price or slighty higher so I felt I got a steal, as usual!

I got wooden letters from the home modeling store and painted it white with the left over spray paint. The cost of the letters were abour $30 and the Command strips ran us about $20 for a few packs to hang up everything.

I got replacement blinds for about $40 for the pair at Home Depot as you can see in the video, the ones in the room in the before images was beat up and a hot mess!

The total output for the entire project is about $450 and maybe a little more. We love how it came out and it is a far cry from how it looked before! You’ll see it in the video of the project below but first a few other photos:

 

WATCH THE OFFICIAL VIDEO

Sporty Mom’s Guide to Chic Diaper Backpacks Dads Can Carry Too

Parker Baby Co changing pad

Diaper bags are traditionally feminine and come in nice pretty pastels.

They’re often offered in floral prints and some have cute geometric shapes and target moms who prefer soft aesthetics in accessories. This targeting leaves  out the outdoorsy, on-the-go, sporty type moms.

The yoga mom or mom who enjoys running and hiking for fun may be less inclined to purchase bags with soft color palettes.

Similarly, I think those former rocker girl or hip hop loving dame turned mom may prefer a bag that is functional and in darker shades. They may also perfer gender neutral designs.

The solution for me when I was starting my family was to invest in a black leather diaper bag by Coach which had a neutral design but lots of structure. I also invested in a cross body bag.

The benefits of having a non-gender specific styled baby diaper bag is that dad can pick it up and cart it with him when collecting the baby from her grandma’s house.

A diaper back pack is the ultimate compromise between bags that have to be carried over one shoulder and that mimic a handbag and a cross the chest messenger bag which is a style common in men’s bags.

Finally, when it comes to color, you cannot go wrong with black.

Black is stylish, sleek and matches everything. It’s a fave of moministas amongst and stains are hard to spot on black items.

When you add all of these characteristics together, a few bags come percolate to the top of the list.

Here are three:

Obersee Diaper Bag

Obersee Diaper bag

The award-winning  Obersee Rio Diaper Backpack is top of mind.

This back pack is made by the same family-owned company which got its start selling leotards and gear for gymnasts. As you can see from the photo above, it targets the adventurous outdoorsy type family which prefers to keep hands free to actively participate in whatever action is around them.

 

Obersee diaper bag

The backpack has plenty of interior room and comes with a Baby Bottle Cooler and Changing Mat, Shoulder Baby Bag, Food Cooler, Clip to Stroller.

Overall, the diaper back pack gets great reviews for durability, quality of material and sturdiness of structure online.

Obersee diaper bag

There is plenty of space within the interior of this bag and atop is a mesh compartment that can be used to store a pacifier, stuffed animal or wash cloth that is airing out to dry and won’t soak the other items in the bag.

15% OFF Back to School Sale at Obersee.com! Hurry! Promo ends on August 20. CODE: SCHOOL1520. SHOP HERE

Obersee diaper bag changing pad

And for moms and dads who routinely go and explore off the beaten paths, there is an extra large changing pad.

You  can be spread it out when there is no available diaper changing station. The size of this pad is extraordinarily large.  Exploring outdoors, socially distant, is a great idea during this pandemic!

Obersee diaper bag inside

There is a separate compartment in the front that separates blankets, change of clothes and other items. This compartment soiled by spilled foor or drink. The bag has a metal ring that you can use to attach to the stroller and also has a top strap for grab and go functionality.

The best function of this bag is its detachable cooler. You can house baby bottles or snacks in it. The removable cooler comes in a variety of colors if you want to mix and match.

Obersee diaper bag features

Parker Baby Diaper Backpack

Parker Baby Birch Diaper Backpack

A second functional and stylish neutral diaper backpack bag is the Birch Bag Birch Bag by The Parker Baby Co.

This bad is super large and comes in a chic grey with tan trim,  silver hardware, insulated pockets, stroller straps and a good sized changing pad. I wish the changing pad was a little larger but is it sufficient.

mom changing baby with Parker Baby Birch Diaper Backpack changing pad

There are ten functional pockets including a “mommy pocket” with key ring, insulated pockets, a laptop/tablet sleeve, changing pad (included) and more. The convenient stroller hooks allow you to connect it to your stroller while you get out for some fresh air after being cooped up inside the house too long.

Parker Baby Birch Diaper Backpack mom and baby

This bag is also made with a neutral design and for the modern mom and dad in mind. The Parker Baby Co is a family-owned business headed by parents of twin girls, a toddler and a sweet baby boy, which claims to “strive for simplification” when designing products. It gets mainly 4 to 5 star reviews on Amazon.

Parker Baby Birch Diaper Backpack dad

Hap Tim Diaper Bag Backpack

Hap Trim Diaper bag

The Hap Tim Diaper bag is a less costly alternative to the previous two which has upper mid price range. This is also cloth bag but is made for the rugged outdoorsy family who don’t mind being out in inclement weather. The bag is waterproof! It wicks moisture in light rain.

As with the other two pags, the shoulder pads on this bag are padded and extra wide for ergonomical comfort.  It also has plenty of space and compartments inside to chuck all the various things you have to carte along when you take baby out!

This bag also boasts a double design, meaning there is a separate section made to be removable. It can store items as well similar to the Obersee.  The bag is very large and spacious even without the front compartment.

It is also has 18 pockets that you can easily organize all the different things you schlep on trips short and long: your keys, mobile phone, laptop, bottles, change of clothes, burp cloths, receiving blankets, and more.

 

Finally, for the fan of designer bags, you have the Herschel Settlement Sprout backpack. This sleek yet highly functional back pack features integrated storage for diapers, wipes and toys, with an easy-access folding changing mat that stows in a custom compartment.

It is 17.5 inches deep so if you plan to take your laptop to the park or cafe (when the pandemic is over) you can securely fit it in this bag. It’s 100%woven fabric in the signature of this brand. This bad has large storage in the front pocket and external zippered side access to the changing mat when you don’t have two hands to manever the bag.

Because it is more of an adventure seeker backpag, it has a waterbottle pocket and a mesh container for yoru accessories.

buy from herschel

 

I also like this non diaper bag version that is sold at Smallable.

smallable herschel

There you have it! I hope this review was helpful to you and even if you don’t invest in one of these three bags, I hope this post gives you some ideas on what to look for when shopping for your sporty chic diaper back pack!

Good luck, parents and parents-to-be!

Germ Guardian Portable UV-C Light Sterilizer and Sanitizer for Dorms and Small Spaces {Covid-19 Era Review}

Evidence and data support the fact that UV-C light cleans and disinfects germs and bacteria within seconds of contact and therefore air purifiers that use that technologyy are a hot commodity these days.

In the mom groups I am in, those of us with college-bound kids are sending them with portable air purifiers and cell phone cleaners like Phone Soap which reminds us that hospitals and laboratories use UV light to keep their facilities sterile and so phones are perfectly fine being used in that product.

Coeds can be messy and fail to clean their rooms and let them get musty, dusty and funky and all of that can impact air quality and also create an environment that is not conducive for clear breathing.

During this coranvirus pandemic, clean and uninfected air quality become even more necessary than in previous years so it was a no brainer to hop on this bandwagon!

I ordered the Germ Guardian portable UV-C air purifier which gets tons of positive reviews on Amazon.com from pet owners, ashtmatics and more. According to blogger BeCalmingHaven who reviewed another version of this brand’s purifier, “UV-C lamp roasts any microorganisms in the purified air, reducing the chance of sinus and lung infection spreading from one roommate to another.”

He added: “Any sneezing or coughing produces droplets that hang in the air and infect the roommate, who then gets to reinfect you. This cycle tends to be hard to break, which is where one of these puppies come in.”

It came this weekend and I took it out of the package to test it out in the room that houses the family guinea pigs and kitchen. So far so good, but here is my initial unboxing and set up:

Book Your Pre-College Drop Off Quarantine Stay STAT {Vrb v Airbnb}

As some colleges and universities start to open up their campuses, many in states like New York managing their COVID cases well are requiring students arriving from hot spot states to quaratine 14 days before the first day of classes.

The problem is that not all schools have plans to open up their dorms two weeks ahead of the launch of the fall season, leaving parents scrambling for options and places to say.

My husband and I found ourselves in this peculiar conundrum as our state of Maryland, which had been making steady strides towards flattening the coronavirus new cases curve took a turn in the opposite direction recently.

I decided to turn to my old stand by resource for booking vacation properites Home Away, now called Vrbo (Vacation rental by owner).  It is similar to Airbnb which was the original distruptor in the vacation accommodations industry, and is now the world’s largest online marketplace for lodgings, with listings growing more than 100% each year, one study found — hurting the hotel market in the process.

Home-sharing services exploded across the globe over the past decade, as millions of people decided sleeping in a stranger’s bed was a worthwhile price to pay for living like a local in a given city. Airbnb is now the world’s largest online marketplace for lodgings, with listings growing more than 100% each year, one study found — hurting the hotel market in the process.

Vrbo also has a pretty substantial footprint in America and has been around since 1995. The biggest difference is that all of its 2 million properties in 190 countries are entire homes, meaning, you cannot just rent a room or floor in the home.

As with Airbnb, Vrbo also lets you book your stay via its app or website. Y0u can filter location, dates, number of guests and get to view an interactive map with a digital push pin showing you on the map the location of the rental property.

Vrbo also stands out from Airbnb in the fact that you can also do a deeper level of filtering: Travelers can search 25 different types of homes (ranging from apartment to castle), 13 location types (like oceanfront or downtown), safety and accessibility features (like wheelchair accessible and low-allergen environment). You can also filter by neighborhood, rating, features and amenities, nearby activities and more.

Prices depend on the quality of property, demand and inclue a guest service fee whhc is between 12-13% of thecost of the rental. Because of Covid, all home owners have added in an additional $100 for a deep cleaning fee in between uses. Both services include payment protection, 24/7 customer service, and rebooking assistance for last-minute cancellations.

Because our entire family will be accompanying us on the journey to college drop off, an entire house rental was a better option to a hotel especially given we will have to house all of our son’s dorm furnishings and supplies for days in advance until his move in date.

With so many things in flux and in the air because of these uncertain times, it is a great idea to purchase the vacation insurance which is usually under $100 and totally worth it. You never know what will happen day to day.

If you’re a parent of a college bound kid, consider these two options for accommodating your family pre-move in this year and do BOOK fast as properties are flying off the market given the demand.

Search for your stay for FREE on Airbnb

Or you can search for FREE on Vrbo!

Now If Your Mom (Or Pops) Didn’t Teach You How To Clean House…

Last week, I blogged about a dad who started a YouTube channel to guide kids and young adults who are growing up without a father figure so today, I’m blogging about those of us whose mama didn’t teach us certain things about keeping house.

Just in time for Sprie I get accused of being anti-feminist. Here is some back story:

My roomate in college grew up in a military parent household. Her dad learned how to properly make a bed and crease the corners perfectly . She was great at folding laundry. Her shirts were exquisitely creased. Her socks drawers were meticulous as well. Her mom, I assumed, was all about organization and order and structure.

I envied my friend Richiey, who I had also went to high school with before we both matriculatated to the Unviersity of Maryland at College Park.

While I always have considered myself a neat and orderly person, I could not match the pristine way she was able to keep her things and phsyical space in tip top shape all the time.

She was the best roomate.

Now as for me, my mom worked as a housekeeper when I was a child  so you’d think I would have learned a thing or two about cleaning from her. Nope! After a day of cleaning hotel rooms, she had no energy left to teach me the proper way to clean house.

That is why I was so excited to receive this book called “Home Comforts: the Art and Science of Keeping House” from my law school class mate years later as a wedding present back in 1999.

It was a hardback book, not too fancy but amazingly went through everything in painstaken detail. They do not sell it any longer though you can still probably get a softcover version HERE!

I have a full review on the blog you can read HERE. I recently did a quick video review that you can watch here:

Bedtime Story: ‘So Much’ by Trisha Cooke {Video}

Today, I’m reading one of my favorite bedtime story books I used to read to my children when they were little: “So Much” by Trish Cooke. You may recognize the illustrations because they were done by Helen Oxenbury who is world famous for her board books for babies like “Tickle, Tickle“, “Clap Hands” and “All Fall Down“.

It was published in 2008, but  I enjoyed this book so much that I purchased several copies for my family and friends and shipped them out to them so they could read it to their kids!

If you enjoy this story, you can purchase a copy from Amazon so you can read it to your own kids. It only costs a little over $5!

Parents: Solution to That EFC/Family Contribution Sticker Shock? {College Backer Preview}

woman shocked face

 

woman shocked face
When we were starting our families, a lot of us then-young parents really did not place a high enough value on the importance of investing in a college saving 529 plan when baby was born.

At that time, we might have been two income earners with young families but we also like going on Summer vacations, saving for our first home, and were busy paying off our own school loans.

Each year, we would say to ourselves, “next year” and next year came and went. We might have opened up an account but did not fully fund it. Then would come the day our kid is finally applying and getting accepted into colleges and he or she fills out the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) that all schools require to determine how much aid an applicant would qualify for and then we’re hit with that dreaded EFC.

The EFC stands for Estimated Family Contribution. The number represents what the government believes you can contribute towards your child’s college expenses each year.

Middle class parents earning close to or above $100K annually ( an amount that is barely enough to get by in many cities) quickly learn that they are expected to shell out $30,000 or more!

The sticker shock!

Boy would that 529 come in handy now even if its use is limited to colleges within the home state, those funds could also be used for other expenses like books, travel and boarding fees.

Well, once bitten twice shy. If you are like my husband and I and have other children, we have another bite of the apple.

This time, in lieu of a 529, I’m considering CollegeBacker, a service that is part crowdfunding, part remote investment portal and part 529 plan. In short, College Backer allows your family and friends to pitch in towards your child’s education.

In lieu of a birthday, graduation, Bar or Bat Mitzvah gift, they can contribute towards your future rocket science.

The San Francisco company behind CollegeBacker is called Principly and has been around since September 2016

What is CollegeBacker?

There is no fee for the service though some investments you select may have modest ones. And there is also a tip jar option that is not mandatory.

How is it Similar or Different from 529 savings plans

CollegeBacker is similar to state-run 529 college savings programs that have tax deferred benefits, meaning the gains from the investments are free from capital gains and dividend taxes and can be withdrawn without penalty so long as they do towards  qualified educational expenses like tuition, books, housing, and school supplies. The funds curated from one state’s plan can be used universally in a qualified school in another state and at more than 6,000 colleges and universities in America and over 400 abroad.

CollegeBacker is different in that it is one singular program that can be contributed to via a single link provided by CollegeBacker to make one-time or recurring contributions, and payments can be made via credit or debit card, or a bank transfer.

SEC-registered Investment advisers walk new users through opening up the plan, give advice on low cost funds to reduce the investment risk and because the entire process is automated, users never really even have to actually speak to an investment adviser over the phone to be upsold to.

And while at first blush, I can see concerns over the security of financial information being shared online, the platform is said to be run on cutting-edge encryption and security practices to safeguard your personal information.

No contribution limits

There’s no minimum contribution but the IRS only permits gifts up to $15,000 per child per account to be given tax free for each tax year.  And separately, each state has its own max contribution limit with some as high as $500,000, in South Carolina and Virgina, for example.

While I found out about this platform when the company was pitched to me to become an affiliate partner with this blog, I’m all on board. I’ll share my own personal onboarding journey when we start.

If you would like to check it out, please do so via this affiliate link which earns the blog a small commission should you elect to open an account.

I used to foolishly think crowdsource campaigns would not add much to a $50K annual college bill but every bit of help helps.

Here are the Strollers Celeb and Posh Moms Use

celebrity stroller

It has been 10 years since I last posted the annual Bellyitch Most Expensive Strollers post. It was a yearly blog post staple and used to get tons of traffic because, honestly, I think people, generally, are obsessed with knowing what baby items are used and coveted by the super wealthy and celebrities.

Since the last post, a few stroller companies have gone out of business. RIP to Orbit, Maclaren and newer brands 4Moms and iCandy, which were once considered “it” strollers in their day but no longer manufacture luxury strollers.

In 2013, I published the list as part of the Bellyitch 100, a book of the top crib makers, maternity wear designers, stroller makers and baby clothes brands.

You can get your Free Copy of The Bellyitch 100 here!

Anyway, so I used to publish the Most Expensive Strollers list at a time when I was raising a young family and brands would boast that they were on the list.

My social circle at the time included professional working women, stay-at-home moms, and mom bloggers, several who were affluent and looked at the stroller as a status symbol.

Here is another secret about what happens among moms at the park, at the school pick up lot, in the mall and other social places where mommies congregate. They check out what strollers they’re pushing a baby or child in and make judgments.

Yes, there is a definite hierarchy in quality of strollers and believe me when I tell you that certainly check out what stroller another mom’s child is being pushed in and make judgments.

When I was raising my children as a young lawyer, I went through 6 strollers, which is a low number considering many of my friends at the tiem had way more.

Our first stroller was a Peg Perego  which converts from a baby carriage or pram to a push stroller. At the time, it was among the best. Then, when my first born turned into a toddler, we ordered the Inglesina Swift umbrella stroller from the Italian stroller manufacturer. It had a great run!

To pair with the Inglesina, a sturdy Italian brand, we got a lower cost Combi umbrella stroller for travel, a stroller we could beat up which was so much less that so that we wouldn’t mind if it got lost by the airline or damaged during travel.

Then, when I was expecting baby #2, I got as an amazing shower gift from my co-workers at my old job: a Peg Prerego Aria double stroller!

By the time baby number 3 rolled around, the Inglesina had hit the dirt, we left the Combi on some island we visited for vacation once and we had loaned out the Peg Perego Buggy to relatives who didn’t take good care of it.

The wheels on the double gave out and we opted to give to Goodwill rather than try to fix it or get the company to repair it.

B.O.B.

We opted for a lesss expensive Graco Snug Ride for Baby #3 and a B.OB. jogging stroller (the air-filled jogger stroller with hand activated rear wheel brakes that can ride smooth on any terrain) when I was ready to get back in shape.

Now, while we didn’t get any of them to make a statement, I have had many moms and dads comment on the pricier high end ones while walking in the parks, malls etc. People are always looking for a status symbol and there is a preconception that most expensive means the best!

It’s no wonder, you can see celebrities strolling their children in many of those on this list. The celebrities know that too. That is why Jennifer Lopez and Marc Anthony sued Silver Cross from publishing on their website an unauthorized endorsement which featured a People magazine photo of them pushing their twins in two Silver Cross prams.

People flock to buy whatever celebrities purchase and that stroller companies know that endorsement mean lots for their bottom line.

Anyhoo, on to the list. Of course, as a disclaimer, this list is not exhaustive. As usual, this list is based on my own personal research and I urge readers to point out other vehicles that should grace this list. Certainly, I would amend the post to reflect corrections.

In the meantime, check out this year’s list of “it” strollers pushed by the most Poshest of moms and celebs out there (I’m updating this list with a few more after the initial post so come back and ping me on Twitter if you don’t see one you think should be on this list)

SILVER CROSS

DESCRIPTION: For over 128 years, Silver Cross has been handcrafting traditional prams in Northern England. This hallmark company is known for being pushed by Royals in the UK and across Europe and beyond.

The Silver Cross Balmoral Pram model boasts three coats of high shine lacquer, English leather and is painted by hand and individually numbered.

GET IT FOR: $5,000 at the company website

There is another less expensive line you can get for $4,025 from an exclusive line of Aston Martin Silver Cross strollers.

If you like the look of a British pram but not the funds to shell out $5,000, you can still get the Limited Edition Doll Pram from Harrod’s for just $902

CELEBRITY OWNERS: Jennifer Lopez and Marc Anthony, Geri Halliwell Horner (“Ginger Spice”), Nicky Hilton

MIMA

DESCRIPTION: Mima® is an established Dutch designer and manufacturer of strollers and high chairs and a favorite brand for European new parents that want high-end design, functionality and a very chic aesthetic.

This relatively new entrant to the market makes a very functional and innovative stroller that features a patented “carrycot inside” system.

The popular Xari Black Chassis Stroller can be used as a carrycot or as a stroller and comes with a reversible seat that allows your baby to face you or the world ahead. It has one of those super fancy simple fold mechanism. It is very stylish and chic and has a design that grows with your child and provides enhanced convenience for parents.

CELEBRITY OWNERS:  Kourtney Kardashian, Alex Curran Gerard

CYBEX

DESCRIPTION: CYBEX delivers Versatile, elegant and convenient line of top-notched quality strollers, many that features a reversible seat, one-hand seat recline, and a quick-fold chassis usually in an ultra premium, lightweight design that adapts to your growing family’s changing needs. This American-made Massachusetts company makes renowned products.

The Cybex Priam Cherub Stroller is part of the Cybex Platinum Priam range in collaboration with renowned designer Jeremy Scott, this 3-in-1 stroller has been made from high-quality fabrics with a smart, luxe appearance. Its flexible frame can be turned into a travel system with matching carry cot, combined with one of the brand’s award-winning infant car seats, or transformed into a luxurious stroller sporting a reversible seat unit. A vibrant cherub print and golden wing attachments offer a heavenly touch to suit your little angel.

CELEBRITY OWNERS: Serena Williams, Rosamund Pike, Anne Hathaway, Olivia Wilde, Irina Shayk 

STOKKE

DESCRIPTION: The StokkE brand of stroller is an “it” stroller indeed. And about a decade ago, this Norweigian company’s strollers slowly replaced the Bugaboo as the favorite or wannabes, posers and the nouveau riche. The babies inside these strollers are decked out in mini-adult Designer clothes. The diamonds on the hands of the moms pushing these things can put your eye out, I mean the shine is that bright. And they are being folded and thrown in the back of Land Rovers. Pretentious? Naaaah! Their owners just appreciate a gorgeous quality crafted stroller, that’s all (wink).

The Stokke™ Xplory® Complete baby stroller is the only stroller you’ll ever need to buy! The Stokke Xplory Complete is an innovative urban stroller that adapts to your changing needs.

CELEBRITY OWNER: Chris Hemsworth, Sienna Miller, Stacey Keibler

BUGABOO

DESCRIPTION: This Dutch company has had a major mark in the business since the early 1990s. The strollers Bugaboo manufacture guarantee a full of smooth ride, no matter the surface, city street or bumpy park. The brand has long been considered a posh status symbol and continues.

The classic Donkey buggy is fully loaded with push handle to shift the wheels to tackle any terrain, 5 harness straps, multiple recline position, a spacious under carriage bassinet, as well as a reversible, fully reclining seat.

CELEBRITY OWNERS: Leelee Sobieski, Amy Poehler, Julianna Marguiles, Jon Stewart, Matthew McConaughey and Gwen Stefani 

PHIL & TED’S

DESCRIPTION:  Phil & Ted’s is a small New Zealand company that has made children’s products for over 20 years and about a decade ago was known for its super sturdy brand of tough terrain buggies and strollers for the rugged athletic and sports enthusiast parent who takes baby out on jobs and mountain hikes. It is still the market but has retreated to a smaller share given new competitors on the market.

Its Sport Stroller line feature a smart handle with one touch brake, smart fold, aluminum frame, and top quality tough, washable cloth.

CELEBRITY OWNERS:  Jessica Alba and Cash Warren, Liev Schreiber and Naomi Watts

JOOLZ

DESCRIPTION: Joolz is a very new entrant to the market. This Australian company hinges its products on sustainable and eco-friendly renewable design and materials.

The Joolz Geo² Studio Complete Stroller features a modular design that offers 3 different configurations that make it the ultimate stroller for any family adventure. The award-winning design captures ergonomic comfort, ease, style, and maneuverability. It can be used as a toddler stroller, a modern pram for newborns, and an infant car seat carrier

CELEBRITY OWNERS: Harry Judd, Carey Mulligan

UPPA BABY

DESCRIPTION:

Another American company is Boston, Massachussets-based UPPAbaby which makes innovative, high-quality strollers and car seats that fit the needs of parents, while appealing to the sense of style they’ve always had.

The VISTA convertible stroller allows for multiple configurations to transport up to three children, making it a great choice for growing families. The included bassinet features a longer, ventilated mattress, while the toddler seat is perfect as your little one grows. It has a telescoping handlebar and a large, easy-access under-seat basket that holds up to 30 lb. make the VISTA fuss-free for parents.

CELEBRITY OWNERS: Reese Witherspoon, Drew Barrymore, Katherine Heigl 

PEG PEREGO

DESCRIPTION: When I started having a family, the Peg Perego was the it stroller. It is an Italian family-owned brand which makes baby strollers, car seats, high chairs and kid-sized riding toys for children and babies all over the world.

The versatile and agile Duette Piroet inline double stroller by Peg Perego can easily pass through narrow places, folds compactly, and is travel system ready. Comes with two independent adjustable seats with reclining backrests and two-position footrests. Peg Perego Duette Piroet features a versatile and extremely agile Italian inline double stroller design that can easily go through narrow pathways and allows various seating configurations for twins or different age siblings

CELEBRITY OWNERS: Rachel Zoe, Minnie Driver, Gwen Stefani, Heidi Klum

BABYZEN

babyzen yoyo stroller

DESCRIPTION: This is another relatively new arrival for city dwellers and traveling families. Babyzen manufactures and markets baby products and designs, produces, and sells collapsible baby strollers. Babyzen offers its produces to retailers throughout Europe and internationally.

The BABYZEN YOYO+ comes ready to roll, complete with the YOYO Newborn and Seat Color Pack Fabric Sets. The YOYO+ is an incredibly lightweight, compact stroller and steers easily even with one hand, allowing you to navigate corners and tight spaces. An underseat storage basket makes a convenient spot for on-the-go items, and an included travel bag is perfect for storage.

CELEBRITY OWNERS: Eddie Redmayne, Amanda Seyfried , Justin Timberlake, Keira Knightly

QUINNY

Quinny

DESCRIPTION: Yet another Dutch stroller manufacturer whose name has been synonymous with top quality is Quinny. This company is among Europe’s most respected stroller brand and set the standard for engineering, design and trendsetting style.The Quinny line offers clever solutions for the confident parent of today; solutions that are made with parents and their lifestyles in mind.  Stroll with ease and in stylish comfort with the rugged and innovative

The Quinny Mood Stroller features a unique hydraulic system that automatically unfolds stroller, plus never-flat, all-terrain tires that allow you and baby to conquer any terrain.

CELEBRITY OWNERS: Allyson Hannigan, Ali Landry

AUSTLEN

DESCRIPTION: This is another American baby product company. The Austin, Texas company boasts a staff of in-house engineers, mostly made up of parents, that make products to accommodate the daily lives and frustrations of new moms and dads. They’ve stopped at nothing to create intuitive, purpose-driven, well-made products that make family life easier and more fun — giving parents more freedom to live in the moment without being overwhelmed by more and more.

The flagship model, the Entourage, is perfect for families on-the-go. This one-handed expandable frame has three positions, 5 recline positions, a market tote and expandable lower storage area, giving you the freedom to travel anywhere in comfort.

 

THULE

DESCRIPTION 

Thule is an established Swedish outdoors and transportation products manufacturer that is a leader in cargo carriers for automobiles. It recently expanded to get into the stroller biz.

The Thule Sleek is a stylish stroller for on-the-go travel adventures with the ever-innovative, marvelously multifunctional which features a ventilated canopy, a convenient window, a reversible seat, generous seating options and more.

 

MAXI-COSI

DESCRIPTION: Another Dutch company is Maxi-Cosi which started in the 1980s as one of Europe’s first permiere car seat manufacturers. It has since expanded and updated its quality of strollers to the point that is competes with the other exquisite brands out here.

Travel everywhere with ease with the Lila Modular Stroller is a convenient, compact and extra comfortable, making it great for dining out, shopping or vacation that is good with maneuverability and can accommodate an infant seat. It’s perfect for a growing family because it can easily turn into a dual stroller.

BABY JOGGER

DESCRIPTION This Richmond, Virginia-based company launched one of the first jogging strollers in the 1980s. It designs and manufactures jogging strollers and all-terrain strollers and offers strollers and joggers, such as urban use and three wheeled all-terrain strollers; and accessories. The company also provides dependable push chairs for children and adults with physical disabilities.

The City Select LUX is a rugged yet streamlined stroller features an extra seat with a telescoping handlebar adjusts to just the right height, while the hand-operated decelerating and parking brake provides additional peace of mind.

CELEBRITY OWNERS: Toby McGuire, Ellen Pompeo, Elizabeth Banks, Miranda Kerr

NUNA

DESCRIPTION: This Dutch company started out as a baby furniture maker and expanded to strollers. Today, it is a premiere must-have stroller for the upper echelon. I love the logo.

The Nuna MIXX Travel System includes a stroller and the company’s featherlight PIPA Lite LX Car Seat which makes one superb travel system. An ideal set for you, but especially for your little one.

CELEBRITY OWNERS: Gwen Stefani, Molly Sims, Jaime King

There you have it! Good luck stroller shop or social climbing, whatever floats your boat!

cover photo Cella Jane, Pinterest

The Journal That’s Helping Me Beat Procrastination {Review}



I was watching social media coach Vanessa Lau on YouTube who recommends among other tools for keeping her business Intelligent Change ‘s Productivity Planner which incorporates elements of The Pomodoro Technique or method for achieving optimum progress in  your day.

As a compulsive list maker who is addicted to planners and journals, I’ve spent a tremendous amount of time, money and effort trying to be more productive, procrastinate less and advance my goals efficiently.

From bullet journaling to digital online tools like Evernote and Trello, I’ve tried it all to varying levels of success… or non success.

I purchased the  5 x 8 journal from Amazon and it cost just $24.99 which is quite reasonable compared to many other similar journals I’ve found out there.

The Pomodoro method requires you to set a timer for 25 minutes and breaking down tasks into 25 minute intervals separated by short breaks.

Each interval is known as a pomodoro, from the Italian word for ‘tomato’, after the tomato-shaped kitchen timer that creator, business coach Francesco Cirillo, used as a university student.

laundry detergent

To put The Pomodoro Technique into effect you’re supposed to:

  1. decide what task needs to be accomplished (it can be school work, house work, business or anything)
  2. disable all distracting alerts, pop ups and possibly uninstall or delete addictive social media apps like
  3. Set the pomodoro timer, ususally using an app or your mobile phone or Alexa or whatever 
  4. Work on the task.
  5. End work when the timer rings and check it off
  6. If you have fewer than four checkmarks, take a short break (3–5 minutes), then go to step 2.
  7. After four pomodoros, take a longer break (15–30 minutes), reset your checkmark count to zero, then go to step

A goal of the technique is to reduce the impact of internal and external interruptions on focus and flow. A pomodoro is indivisible; when interrupted during a pomodoro, either the other activity must be recorded and postponed

Intelligent Change’s planner offers two different types of methods for checking off tasks: the “Get It Done” and the “Hit the Target” methods.

In the former, your job is to do the task, in 25 minute breaks, no matter how long it takes. You just keep working until it’s done. With the latter, you predict how long it will take or assign a specific number of pomodoros to the task. As you complete one, you fill in a bubble then when you’re done, note down how long it actually took you to complete the job.

laundry detergent

At the end of the week, there are pages that let you jot down weekly wins, what tasks were accomplished and which were not and what learned, then goals and targets for the next week.

There are also inspirational quotes, mini motivational passages interspersed in between the daily journal pages.

I had a rough start and struggled to complete my list each day, but am still working through it. I’m determined to get better each day.

laundry detergent

What I love about the planner so far is the accountability. It forces me to track how much time I spend on my tasks and forces me to be more efficient.

Each day has a rating system for you to give yourself a 1-10 rating on how well you did with a few lines for you to explain what happened. It’s great for keeping yourself honest.

And also, you don’t even have to use the method if you don’t want. I love it!

Consider investing in your own! Get it at Amazon for  just $24.

productivity planner