Saturday, April 4, 2009

The new canisters from Clorox - Review

I knew you wanted to see a picture of my bathroom! Right? lol.

I was a lucky winner of a try-me-free coupon for one of the new Clorox canisters of wipes. Have you seen them yet? They come in a bunch of different styles that actually look good enough to leave out on the counter (where hopefully they might get used by someone besides me to clean once in a while!). I had a little trouble tracking these down, but finally found them at A&P where they retail for about $5.69. Later I spotted them at WalMart (by the cashier, nowhere near the cleaning aisle).

If you look closely you can see the one I picked out in the corner there. It has green leaves on it which go with my bathroom colour scheme of green and purple. (It sounds gaudy but I swear it's subtle). The walls are still builder beige, one of these days I will get around to painting.

I've been using Clorox wipes for years and usually pick the Lavender scent which I really like. So I was pleased that these have a very fresh, not overpowering or chemical scent to them.

The container is recyclable (where possible, it says - it's not marked with a plastic type though so I have a sneaking suspicion that it will be refused by our recycling service).

This is a disinfecting/anti-bacterial wipe so it does contain toxic chemicals and is not a particularly green product. The container is not recommended for reuse, and the wipes are garbage, not flushable or compostable. Like most wipes this is the kind of product I will use for messes that really require a disinfectant and not as a general purpose cleaner (I prefer to go with a washable cleaning cloth and a natural, biodegradable spray like Method or Attitude for that). But some things just need that extra cleaning power.

Thank you to Momma In Flip Flops2 for the opportunity to try these out!

Saturday's late post

I stayed out too late last night. I hate getting older! 1 A.M. is WAY past my bedtime if I want to be functional the next day. Also I do NOT recommend the movie Blindness... I wish I could erase that movie from my memory.

Some things to check out today:

For baby:
  • Guess what? It's another See Kai Run giveaway! Yay! Check out Manic Mother for your chance to win a pair of these cute baby/toddler shoes. Enter by the 15th of April.
  • Oh! One more See Kai Run giveaway to tell you about. Head over to Northwest Mom Finds by April 11th to enter to win a pair!
  • Win a rockin' onesie or tee from Rowdy Sprout at One Bored Mommy! When your baby has been listening to Aerosmith through the belly for 9 months, they're already a fan. Ends April 11.
For the ladies:
  • Win Cream perfume from Simply Stacie! This is day 3 of the Cream Perfume giveaways. Ends April 5th!
For mum or dad:
  • This could be for baby too if you are looking for crib sheets, or for your pup if you want a little outfit for the beast! But I like Pure Blanks' organic clothing for men and women. Simple, smart cuts in comfortable styles. I could see myself happily wearing these clothes every day. Enter to win a $25 gift certificate to the Canadian store Pure Blanks from {Natural} Mommie! Ends April 11th.

Friday, April 3, 2009

A note about US contests and Canada

Recently I won a contest where the sponsor was an American company. They shipped the prize (quite quickly) through UPS. The prize had a value of $62.95. When it arrived at my door yesterday, UPS wanted me to pay $40 in brokerage, duty and taxes!

I asked the delivery guy to hang on to the package and give me a phone number and tracking number so I could try to sort things out with UPS. For anyone who doesn't know, contest wins are not taxable in Canada, unlike in the States. When I called UPS they suggested I follow up with the sponsor to see if that company would pay the fees. A quick email later, the host of the contest got back to me quickly saying she would follow up with the sponsor.

This morning the sponsor emailed me to say they could not pay the fee. I called back to UPS and while they said they could reduce the preparation fees as an act of goodwill, the fees would still be $20.

What it came down to was that I can't afford to pay, the company refused to do so, UPS would not waive the fees and I ended up refusing the package.

Here is what I have learned, that might come in useful to any of us Canadians and any US sponsors for the future.
  • Canada is the ONLY country that allows a small exemption on items sent as gifts but all 3 of the following criteria must be met - AT THE TIME THAT THE ITEM IS SENT - for that exemption to apply:
    1) The item MUST ship from a personal address to a personal address ( anything that you buy or win and have sent directly from a company to your recipient will not qualify)
    2) The waybill AND commercial invoice must BOTH be marked stating that the item is a gift.
    3) The value of the items must be under $60 Canadian - anything over that $60 will be assessed all duties and taxes. (This explanation is from Momoforever on, I have edited it a little but essentially it is her information, credit where credit is due!)
  • The difference between a courier company and the postal service (USPS linking with CP at the border) is that courier services are obligated to report every shipment while CP can pick and choose at will, thus often CP will let packages through that would get dinged with a hefty charge if sent UPS. UPS is apparently the WORST for brokerage/duty fees. when I look at the invoice for the package I refused, the brokerage fee was $29.55; about 75% of the fees they wanted to charge me.
  • With Canada Post, you also have the option to appeal any fees. Recently I got a package through CP with a $10 fee on it. $10 happened to be affordable at the time so I just paid it, knowing that I could fill out the form on the back of the customer copy of the shipping invoice, send in copies of the emails I received from the contest sponsor and in all likelihood get my money back. UPS - no option to appeal, or, if there is (which would be through Canada Customs directly), they sure don't make it easy. You can't appeal the brokerage fees, that's for sure. The duties I imagine you could try to deal with Canada Customs but looking on their website, it is not easy to find out how. You'd have to call and work your way through the automated system.
Summary: Send it as a gift, value it less than $60 CDN, use a home address as a return address. Send it USPS instead of by courier (the extra time is worth it).

I was thinking that maybe the host of the contest would simply draw another name (a US winner this time) and the sponsor would send the prize to them. Or perhaps the unfortunate conclusion would be that the sponsor had tried to fulfill their end, it didn't happen, they were done with the whole thing.

But neither of these things happened. I'm going to end with the good news that the sponsor has very kindly decided to go the extra mile and, once they get the UPS package back, they're going to re-send the package using a different method. I haven't mentioned the sponsor's name or the host but if they are reading they will know who they are. I want to extend a big thank you to them for following up and really going above and beyond my expectations! Both were extra nice to deal with and truly helpful in resolving this!

Friday, I'm in love!

my husband... what a sweetie. I hope you are experiencing a great relationship, too! Give someone a hug today!

Here are the fab finds for Friday!

For baby:
  • Win an aqua/green Safe Sippy from The Soothie Ranch sponsored by Calamari Baby. I kind of like the idea of a little squid baby. Takes water babies in a whole new direction! Calamari Baby is also a source for many baby products besides the Safe Sippy! Ends April 14th.
  • Enter for a Bamboobino After Bath Hat at {Natural} Mommie! This little tot topper keeps them warm after bathing. Bamboo, my favourite fiber! And from a Canadian company to boot. Ends April 9th.
  • Win a Spa Time Baby CozyCare Cape from The Morris Bunch! Ends April 16. I won a CozyCare mat and cape recently and while I am still waiting on the cape, I have received the mat and it is awesome. The quality is really good. The fabrics are soft and thick, the water proof panel does the job, and it's cute as a button. It even comes packaged so nicely you could give it as a gift without even wrapping it. My husband was even impressed and let me tell you he is not as into the baby stuff as I am (funny how baby fever hits us girls!). So while I am not entering this contest, you should!
  • Win two outfits and a set of books (a Welcome Little One Baby Gift Set) at Mom in the City! There are even runner-up book prizes. Ends April 30th.
  • Classy Mommy has the same prize up for grabs, the Welcome Little One Baby Gift Set! Ends April 24th.
  • One more time for the Welcome Little One Baby Gift Set at Now What Baby, ends May 3rd.
  • Win a Lili's BeBe changing pad from Project Nursery! A non-slip changing pad, for those slippery, wiggly little babes! Ends April 10
  • Win a hooded towel from Tess & Tellulah at BabyLuxe! Ends April 10th. These look really cute, plus will keep tots and kids warm as they get out of the bath, pool, sprinkler or lake!
  • Win a swaddling blanket from Aden and Anais at Ohana Mama! These are made of a breathable muslin fabric. Ends April 10th.
For baby / child:
  • Win a $25 gift certificate for Atterdag Kids from Frugal Mommy of 2 Girls! They carry everything from gifts to clothing for babies and children. Ends April 10th.
  • Win a set of Sprig Toys (eco-friendly! yay!) from Dexter's Super Savvy Mommy as part of her Earth Day Extravaganza! Ends May 10th.
  • Win See Kai Run shoes from Parents Gear!!! I'm a big fan and loving all the opportunities to win these cute baby/toddler shoes lately. Ends April 15th.
For Mama:
  • Win a set of cloth panty liners from Knickernappies at Life Starring Ellie & Eve. These are different from any I've seen, with a separate liner and shell. Very innovative! End date unknown (probably in a week or so is my guess).
  • Win Cream perfume from Simply Stacie - this one ends at 11:59 EST TONIGHT so get over there!
  • Simply Stacie has added a second round to her Cream perfume giveaway that ends April 4th, one more chance to win a fragrance!
  • Win a Hip-T from My Mom's View! These are brilliant to bridge that gap between your t-shirt and your pants. They look like layering but don't add the bulk! Ends April 9th.
  • Win a navy organic Lauren top/dress by Toggery at My Organized Chaos! It's a top - it's a dress - depends how you wear it. Ends April 14th.
For the Home:
  • Win natural laundry soap from Wild Child Naturals! It's their first giveaway! Ends April 15th.
  • Win a pretty set of handmade cotton cloths from The Simple Life in spring colours. I use this kind of cloth for dishwashing but they are great for general cleanup or even washcloths! This one ends at 11:59 EST TONIGHT, hurry!

Thursday, April 2, 2009


I had this awesome Ben Affleck dream last night! Plus in my dreams I hit a BodyFlow class (which I miss desperately - when, when are they going to open a decent gym around here?!). So it was a good night, hopefully leading into a great day!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Heads Up!

The Earth Day Extravaganza has begun at Dexter's Super Savvy Mommy! Daily (sometimes more than one a day) giveaways that run until May 10th! WOW. Follow the rules on each giveaway post to enter!

Please help me out and say you saw it here, at Emily's Latest!

Don't forget, there's a set of current & upcoming giveaway events in my left sidebar!

Finds for Wednesday

For Baby:
  • Two lucky people are going to win organic onesies from BabyBe at {Natural} Mommie as part of the Spring Giveaway Event on {Natural} Mommie's blog. These are charming! Ends April 7th.
  • The Mommy in Charge is giving away your choice of a BumGenius 3.0 diaper, or a pair of Bical Grippers in their Great Online Easter Egg Hunt! Find the Easter egg daily to enter. Winners are notified Easter weekend.
  • Win a light pink/cream Bundle Me (use with car seats, strollers, and joggers) from The Posh Passy! Ends April 15th.
  • Win a set of 6 organic bamboo velour cloth wipes from Northern Baby at My Mom's View! This one ends tomorrow (April 2) so hurry up!
  • Win a set of Bummas wipes from The Morris bunch! Ends April 11th.
  • Win a CozyCare Cape from Annie's Home and Spa Time Baby! I have to say I am not entering this one as I won one a little while back! I have the CozyCare Mat already and the quality is amazing. You want these for bath time! Ends April 9th!
For Family:
  • Win a set of SnackTaxi re-useable bags for snacks and sandwiches at Grab Bag Reviews! Great idea. Ends April 14th.
  • Win a set of Wonder Thunder Happy Vegetable Reusable Vegetable Bags at Oh How Lovely! Ends April 5th.
For the Grown-Ups!
  • Win an Earthly Delights Gift Tin from Eden Fantasys at Simply Stacie! Ends April 13th.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

New look

I'm learning... getting a new look for my bare-minima blog with a new blog header and button featuring one of my handmade felt bunnies... Not that I have any available in my Etsy shop just now, but I am going to work on some soon. Meanwhile I hope you like the new look!

Be an early adopter! Grab my button over on the left!

Huddy Buddy onesie

Still my favourite onesie from Huddy Buddy! What a great message (and love the colour).

Monday, March 30, 2009

Otter Bottle Review!

Otter Bottle is a Canadian company (yay!) that was started by a young mom to fulfill her desire for re-useable, BPA-free, stylish and safe bottles. Otter Bottles are 100% stainless steel (no plastic lining) with a #5 plastic lid. They are designed for cold liquids.
A very short while ago I was the lucky winner on Optimistic Beauty's blog - I won an Otter Bottle. I loved the look of the Yellow Green Flower Power bottle! We go hiking a lot and the 500 mL size is perfect for me - light enough to carry yet it holds enough to quench my thirst. Well, it arrived today and I had some thoughts that I wanted to share with you about the bottle.

First off I was happy to see that the mailer was 100% recycled and recyclable! It was a padded envelope made from paper fiber.

The bottle itself is just like the image on the website. Very pretty, very "me" pattern, and the paint looks like it's solidly on there and not about to chip or wear off any time soon. The bottle comes with two lids, both threaded to screw on: a lid with a closeable drinking tube (and removeable flip top cap), as well as a stopper. The bottle is dishwasher-safe, and the lids are hand-wash, which is ok with me. A metal carabiner clip keeps it all together, or can be used to clip it on to a pack or bike.

The tag states for each Otter Bottle sold, a contribution is made to the David Suzuki Foundation. ♥! What a great Canadian organization to support.

The next thing I realized was that there was a lot of plastic accompanying this environmentally-friendly product. The bottle was encased in a plastic sleeve. I understand the need to protect the brand new bottle during shipping/production, but I would have liked to see a different material used (recycled paper? hemp fiber? a re-useable cloth bag?). The little loopy thing that held the tag on the bottle was plastic as well. I hate these plastic loops and would rather have seen a string or ribbon that I could re-use in the garden for tying up plants, or for gift tags on presents. The tag with the Otterbottle info and the information about the David Suzuki Foundation is printed on bleached, new paper stock (as opposed to unbleached recycled) and is inexplicably coated on both sides in plastic, making it garbage rather than recycling. Huh? Not so cool.

I do love my new Otter Bottle though. It will get a lot of use on our hikes and camping trips! I like the two tops that it comes with and I love the way it looks. I love that it's Canadian, BPA-free, contributes to a worthwhile foundation, and comes in a variety of sizes. This is definitely the kind of thing I would consider as a gift as well - who really can't use one?

I wish I knew more about the contributions to the DSF - like, how much did they contribute last year from sales? How much per bottle is donated? I can't find info like that on their site. I wish the packaging fell in line with the product in terms of re-use and sustainability. That said, the packaging was pretty minimal by today's standards. I can find a way to re-use the bag, at least.

Overall I'm pretty thrilled with it. Thank you Otter Bottle and Optimistic Beauty!

Heads Up!

A couple of giveaway events are coming up... get excited!

Dexter's Super Savvy Mommy is having an Earth Day Extravaganza with giveaways EVERY DAY in April!! Wow. Check out the list of sponsors/giveaways so far here. There are things for Mama (check April 2! oh, my!) and baby, as well as other green/organic items up for grabs. I've added the event button on the left hand sidebar, where you'll find all the giveaway event buttons organized by date.

There's another upcoming event to check out too, Monkey Mayhem's Virtual Baby Shower and Birthday Party! I added that event button there on the left as well; it runs April 5-11.

Shoes, baby!

A few giveaways for baby shoes for you!

See Kai Run
  • Win a pair from See Kai Run's Smaller or regular line at Jamie's Precious Peas. This has fun extra entries where you get to pick your favourite boys', girls', and Smaller line shoes. Ends April 12.
  • One more pair of See Kai Run shoes at The Matthews Family! This one runs until the 13th of April.
  • ...and one more pair from See Kai Run at dkMommySpot - you can enter daily on this one until April 6th!
  • And another! Win a pair of See Kai Run shoes from Babes and Kids. This one ends on April 1st so hurry up!
  • *newly added: Yet another! For the Love of Baby has a pair from See Kai Run to give away as well. Ends April 16!
Jack and Lily
  • Just to change it up a little, enter to win a pair of Jack and Lily shoes from Monkey Mayhem, from the Original or My Shoes collections. This one ends April 3rd.
  • *newly added: My Mom's View is holding a giveaway for Jack and Lily shoes as well! Ends April 6th
BabyBug Designs
  • *newly added: The Shopping Mama is giving away a pair of BabyBug Shoes. Enter by April 3rd.
I have mine all picked out :) How about you?

Just had to share...

I got U2 tickets!!! yay!

My DH is a BIG fan. He's seen them in something like 5 different cities on different tours. In September we'll add one more to his list :)

And just ignore this bit, lovely readers:

Confirmation Code: GNCVBHM11368047

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Bumbleride at MomDot!

Enter to win a Bumbleride Queen B Stroller from MomDot! There lots of entries already but you never know. This would be a great one to win! Contest ends March 31st.

Boob Maternity at Life Starring Ellie & Eve

The March Maternity Jamboree continues at Life Starring Ellie & Eve. Today's giveaway is for two dresses in size small from Boob Maternity. You really should see these clothes if you are shopping for maternity clothes. I love the Tieback Sundress (not one of the ones you can win, but gorgeous!). All of their clothes really flatter the body. Sexy, stylish and comfortable! Love. This giveaway ends April 8th.