An Uncommon Mother’s Day (Review)

Note: This is a sponsored blog post. In exchange for blogging about my experience with UncommonGoods, I received a free product to review. All opinions expressed are my own.

Mother’s Day is coming!

I know you’re thinking, “Shut up, Crystal. It’s only April!”

BUT, Mother’s Day is coming fast – it’s on May 10th. That’s only 25 days away. And if you’re living a life that resembles mine in any way, shape, or form, then that feels like tomorrow. It is going to sneak right up on you if you don’t get on it now!

It can be a huge struggle to decide what the heck to buy your mom (or another special mom in your life) for Mother’s Day. She either has everything already or she is impossible to buy for or after a few decades of Mother’s Days, you’ve just plain run out of ideas. You want to get a gift for her anyway, though – even if it’s only a small token of the deep appreciation you feel for her.

Or maybe YOU are a mom and your kids or significant other are pushing you to tell them what you want. You want something unique and different but also useful because you have a hard time doing nice things for yourself. (Mmmm hmmm.)

Possibly it’s none of those and you just like to shop on the internet and find new things to buy.

Whatever the case, you need to check out Uncommon Goods. They have come up with a huge collection of gifts for Mother’s Day – you can browse by recipient or by occasion. The site excels at finding creative and unique items from individual sellers. They also strive to be environmentally conscious and socially aware. In their own words:

Founded in 1999 and headquartered in Brooklyn, New York, UncommonGoods is an privately-owned retailer that endeavors to feature unique designs and handcrafted gifts created in harmony with the environment and without harm to animals or people. We run all our operations out of the historic Brooklyn Army Terminal, including our warehouse where the lowest-paid seasonal worker starts at 50% above the minimum wage. We make it our mission to support and  provide a platform for artists and designers; in fact, half of what we sell is made by hand. Most of the products we carry are created right here in the USA, and about one-third of our entire collection incorporates recycled and/or upcycled materials. At the core of our company is a great respect for the integrity of the creative individual and the belief that it is our responsibility to use our business to impact the world in a positive way.

I’ve been a fan for years. They are my go-to site for housewarming gifts and for anyone who is tough to buy for. Many of the items end up on my Pinterest or just straight up in my house. I LOVE the fact that the company supports charities like RAINN and Women for Women International. They are just all kinds of good!

For this post, I’ve taken a look at the curated gift lists on UncommonGoods and pulled out a few of my own favorites  to create my handy-dandy Pinterest Board – Uncommon Mother’s Day.

Follow Ewokmama’s board Uncommon Mother’s Day on Pinterest.

UncommonGoods let me choose a gift of my own for Mother’s Day. It was so very hard to choose ONE thing I wanted, but I went with the set of 8 Bicycle Glasses. They are absolutely gorgeous – each has a brightly colored bicycle silhouette screen-printed in epoxy ink.

20905_bikesThey have a good weight to them, so they don’t feel too fragile OR too heavy in your hand – just sturdy and comfortable. And they are dishwasher safe, so they are still practical (satisfying the mom in me). I’ve already run them through the dishwasher a few times and I can attest that they came out looking as good as new!

Now, if you know me you know I do not exercise. At all. So a set of glasses with bicycles might seem like a strange choice, but bicycles have meaning in my house. When I met David almost seven years ago, he biked to work every day. Coincidentally, we worked down the street from one another, so he would ride by my office on his way to work, and I’d run downstairs to get a hug and kiss every morning. He also rode his bike over to my office at lunch so that we could picnic together under a tree we nicknamed Fred (Fred the Palm Tree). As an ode to our lovey-dovey early days, I’ve incorporated bicycles into our home decor in a few ways – we have a bicycle print I bought on Etsy hanging in our living room and our dishes have a bicycle chain pattern. Adding these bicycle glasses to the mix just made sense!

Now I just need these tall, customized tandem bike glasses to match. (Honey, are you reading this?)

So, look…I’m giving you a head start on picking out a gift for that special mom in your life for this upcoming Mother’s Day. Go forth and and find awesomeness at UncommonGoods.

And come back here to tell me what YOU are going to buy (or ask for) this Mother’s Day!

Disclosure: I was provided with the above-referenced product in order to provide my review but have received no compensation for this post. For more information on my reviews, please see my disclosure page and my summary of sponsored content.

AT-AT Attack Battle Game Review & Giveaway

Are you ready for Star Wars Day? If your family is a lover of Star Wars, you can celebrate this epic day (May the Fourth) by winning the Angry Birds Star Wars AT-AT Attack Battle Game by Hasbro!

Now, we don’t play Angry Birds at our house. We tried the app – both Jack and I – but it just made us too angry. It is aptly named. Something about those pigs laughing at us hysterically when we don’t beat a level is too much. It was better for us to erase the game than it was to slam our phone and iPad against a wall.

We do love the concept of Angry Birds, though – a puzzle game where you fling birds at jerky pigs hiding in cleverly configured bunkers. Puzzle games and snark are right up our alley! When the Angry Birds Star Wars game came out, I really wished we did like the game (even if they did leave out the ewoks). So I was delighted to see that Hasbro created a physical game to putter around with. Who doesn’t love flinging flying objects in order to knock things down?!

We received the Angry Birds Star Wars AT-AT Attack Battle Game to test out. Here’s the description from Hasbro:

Stack, launch, and destroy with the AT-AT ATTACK BATTLE GAME, which includes 21 blocks to create the signature AT-AT, a LIGHTSABER LAUNCHER and 12 ANGRY BIRDS STAR WARS figures — including two that are exclusive to this set! Players can also unlock ANGRY BIRDS STAR WARS in-app content with a special code in each pack. (Approximate retail price: $39.99; Ages: 5 & up. Available: Now)

Now, I know this doesn’t have anything to do with the actual playing of the game, but I have to give a shout-out to Hasbro with regard to the packaging. There were no zip-ties and only one plastic tray to contain the bird and pig figures – the rest was cardboard folded in creative ways to keep the pieces in order. We got the whole set out of the box in about 30 seconds! THIS is frustration-free packaging!

My friend Sabrina and I went to town setting up the pieces for Jack (we were excited, okay!). The plastic headpiece for the AT-AT was a bit tough to put together, but it is sturdy so I think it will outlast many wallopings by flying birds. There is a beginning suggestion for how to set up the pieces on the AT-AT platform but there are a bunch of different configurations you can come up with – it’s a bit like Tetris. I’m sure if you’ve played the app enough, you can mimic some of the set-ups you’ve seen there.

There are four birds and eight pigs that come with the set. Each of the birds has a hole in the bottom that you place on the peg on the launcher (it looks similar to a sling shot). You hold the base of the launcher with one hand and pull down the lever with the other, then let go. The launcher sends the bird flying right at the AT-AT and those jerky pigs! It’s REALLY satisfying to knock down a bunch of blocks and see the pigs fly. Bonus: If you miss, the pigs don’t make a peep!

Launching things is one of Jack’s favorite past-times these days, so this game had his interest right away. He didn’t seem to have any complaints, although it took him a few tries to figure out how to aim the launcher and determine the necessary distance for his target. Once he got the hang of it, he didn’t want to stop.

I could see older kids getting bored with this ‘game’ somewhat quickly, though – it doesn’t have any rules so it’s more of a toy than a game. Also some may be bothered by the fact that it takes much longer to set up the blocks than it does to knock them down. Jack thinks setting up the blocks is part of the fun, though.

Side note: At a $40 retail value, I would have loved to see this game come with a carrying case because once you assemble the head of the AT-AT, it won’t fit back in the box it came in. If you have babies or toddlers in the house, you’ll want to keep the pig and bird figures away from them as they may present a choking hazard.

Do you live in the U.S. and want to win the AT-AT Attack Battle Game and have your own Hasbro GameNight? Entries will be accepted through May 4th. Modes of entry:

Mandatory:

  • Tweet about this post OR share it on Facebook or Google+ (leave a comment with your tweet URL or Facebook/Google+ info) – 1 entry

Additional Entries:

Good luck and May the Fourth be with you!

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Disclosure: I was provided with the above-referenced product in order to provide my review but am receiving no compensation for this post. All opinions expressed here are my own. For more information on my reviews, please see my disclosure page and my summary of sponsored content.

Product Review: Ecostore USA Bath Products

I recently got a chance to try some new-to-the-US bath products and wanted to share my thoughts here for anyone else looking for something eco-friendly, animal-friendly, and chemical-free.  Ecostore USA makes bath and body products for babies, adults, and pets, as well as household cleaning agents.  They got their start in New Zealand 20 years ago and are now entering the US market through internet orders and Meijer stores.

For Jack I got the Baby Shampoo and Baby Body Wash.  I’ve been searching for some bath products that would work with his dry, sensitive skin.  Even at almost 3 he still has issues with “cradle cap.”  Luckily he has a ton of hair to cover it up but we have tried Johnson & Johnson, Method, and DHC products and none of them has made an impact on his scalp.  We tried the Ecostore baby shampoo this weekend and I totally fell in love.  It was extremely easy to rinse out (which is awesome because Jack has absolutely no patience for having his head rinsed) because it it not overly sudsy and sticky.  His fine hair was soft and shiny when it dried and there was a huge improvement in the dryness of his scalp.

I also got the Manuka Sandalwood Shampoo, which is marketed as helpful for dry, flakey scalps.  David and I both have dry skin issues and have difficulty finding products that don’t strip our natural oils or cause the opposite problem – greasy hair – so in my neverending pursuit to find a product that is just right, I decided to try this one.  Again, I totally love this product.  It doesn’t dry out my hair or cause crazy amounts of frizz (yet there is still body!) after using the shampoo.  The smell is divine and great for both genders.  I like the fact that a little bit goes a long way and the shampoo suds up, unlike some other organic products that I have used.  Even with the suds, it is not difficult to rinse out.

And now it’s contest time!  If you would like to win a $25 gift certificate to the Ecostore website, please leave a comment by Friday, April 17, and I will pick a name at random!

Also of note: Ecostore is offering free shipping on all orders over $25 for the month of April in celebration of earth month.