Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Hi-Tec Snowdonia Boots - Review and Giveaway!!

***This giveaway is closed.***
Winner: Stacy

You may recall a month or so ago I asked for your help in winning a giveaway - and then I won!
I was SO excited when I got my Hi-Tec Snowdonia boots. Hi-Tec has been making footwear since 1974 and they are pretty darn good at it.

Even though they are super cute, these are serious winter boots. I gave them a real test when I wore them on our trip to pick out our Christmas tree. What I thought would be a half-hour walk at a tree farm turned into a three-hour trek through foot-deep snow, as we hit two different tree farms and ended up picking - no joke - the FURTHEST tree from the parking lot. At seven months pregnant, three hours of walking is a real marathon!

This is the tree farm on the day we went to get a tree! Major snow!

Despite the very deep snow, not a bit went into the tops of my boots. I was trying to walk in my husband's footsteps, but I think the drawstring at the top of the boots was the key to keeping my feet protected from ankle snowfall. (And who can resist the adorable pom-poms??? My husband calls them my "oompa-loompa" boots...)

They also are dry from the bottom and sides. No wetness, no complaints! I have been cursed with perennially cold feet, and to my amazement, my feet were not cold for one moment the entire time. I kept waiting for ice cube toes, and it never happened. The boots are super warm and comfy. Test PASSED! And, we finally did find the perfect tree -

Don't I look fierce? Ha! As if I cut down that tree. All my husband. Cadbury and I just watched.

One thing I noticed is that the boots are roomy. Perfect for fitting your thick winter socks into! I happen to be somewhere between a 6.5 and 7 shoe size and I think that you could safely pick the smaller size if you are between sizes like me.

I got to talking with Hi-Tec and learned that they were just in the process of launching their new Hi-Tec Canada Facebook page! How awesome. In conjunction with the launch, Hi-Tec has offered a pair of Snowdonia boots to one of my readers!!!

The giveaway:
One winner will receive their own pair of Hi-Tec Snowdonia boots!*

How to enter:
This is a two step entry, so make sure you follow the steps to qualify!
Put both of these in ONE COMMENT. This is the mandatory entry - do this first to qualify for bonus entries!
  1. Follow Hi-Tec on Twitter (leave your Twitter name)
  2. "Like" the brand new Hi-Tec Canada Facebook page (leave your first name and last initial)
Make sure I've got a way to contact you if you're the winner!

Bonus entries: (please leave an extra comment for each. If you already do any of these things, leave the comment - you do get the entry for it!):
  • Follow me on Twitter (leave your Twitter name!)
  • Tweet about this giveaway and leave me the link to your tweet! You can do this once a day and you can use this tweet if you like:
    #Win a pair of @HiTecUSA **Snowdonia Boots** at Emily's Latest! Warm and stylin'! @emilyisland US/CAN (Ends 1/26)
  • Follow my blog (publicly) – 2 entries, leave 2 comments
  • Add my blog button to your blog– 2 entries, leave 2 comments (please leave a link to your blog)
I will be verifying comments so please actually do the things you say you do ☺

Please be sure to include your email address if it’s not public in your blogger profile! Anonymous comments without a way to contact you will be rejected. Canadian or US mailing addresses only, please. Giveaway ends January 26th at 11:59 EST. A winner will be drawn within the next day or two (as long as I'm not in labour!), announced here, in a separate post and emailed!

*If the winner’s size is out of stock, Hi-Tec will replace with another style of equal or lesser value.

And, yes, I'm usually not a big fan of daily tweets. I know. It's not that cool. Just trying it out for this one.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Philips SatinPerfect Epilator Review

I've been a BzzAgent for a few years now and while I find the campaigns I'm invited to are few and far between, I was lucky enough to join the BzzCampaign for the Philips SatinPerfect Epilator.

I've tried sugaring and waxing, but can't take the pain of it (or the price), and I absolutely cannot stand the smell of hair removal creams, so I have always shaved my legs. It's a bit of a pain (especially now that I am eight months+ pregnant and can barely reach them) and I'm not fond of prickly stubble, so I shave frequently. Laser hair removal is tempting, but very expensive. I could see doing that for bikini and underarm hair, but I doubt I'd ever do it for leg hair. Unless I win the lottery - then, sign me up.

The Philips SatinPerfect Epilator may just be the solution for me. I've been using it for about 5 weeks now and am quite happy with the way it works.

Here's the package - I really don't find the package that appealing (hello, 80's), but this is what you'd look for in the store.

And, here's what comes inside: a storage pouch, the cord, three heads (one is installed on the epilator here), the epilator, and a cleaning brush.

Like any product there are pros and cons, so here is my take:

  • It works! The way it works is with a set of spinning discs that basically grab the hairs and pull them out. I would say that it is very effective.
  • It has a bright light on the front of the unit that shines on the area you're about to go over. The light reveals the fine hairs & means you can use it in a regularly lit room.
  • The cord is really long. It must be plugged in to work, so having the ability to plug it in across a counter and still reach the far end of your legs is important.
  • The unit is not too heavy, and comfortable in the hand. That's important because I find it takes me about 15-20 minutes to go over my legs with it.
  • It lasts longer than shaving (which makes a 15-20 minute session okay). I have used it maybe 3-4 times in the last 5 weeks, and the time will get longer between sessions. What happens when you start, if you've been shaving, is that shaving has simply cut all the hairs no matter what stage of growth they are at. With hairs growing quickly when they first appear and more slowly as they age, you end up with stubble that grows at different rates. Since the epilator needs hairs to be long enough to catch in the discs, it takes a while to get all the hairs to be at the same stage. So yes, I still have some stubble from when I was shaving - but less and less each week.
  • It is simple to use. It has two speeds, and comes with three different heads (basic, massage & hair-lifting). I've been using the massage head (which has rollers on either side of the disc), and I find the extra sensation of the rollers helps mitigate the minor pain of hairs being yanked out.
  • It is simple to clean. Really simple. The heads and the disc attachment pop off easily and it comes with a small brush to clean out any little hairs stuck in there. It takes no time at all. You can run the removable parts under water if necessary - I haven't found it necessary to do so, though - a quick brush has been enough to keep it clean.
  • It has a cute design. I know that's not hugely important, but I like the look of it :)
  • It comes with a storage pouch to keep everything together, and it's roomy enough that you're not fighting with the darn thing trying to get it in there.
  • It's a little painful, especially the first time you do it, and in sensitive areas like the back of the knees and thighs. It does get less and less painful, though, as you get used to it and as you begin to be removing younger (finer) hairs. I'm a bit of a wimp (see comment above re sugaring and waxing) and I can handle this.
  • It's loud. This is not something you'll be doing discreetly. It is louder than my hair dryer. Bzzz!
  • It doesn't do bikini or underarm areas (though there is another model that does that). That said, it would hurt like heck to be yanking those hairs out. Those brave women who get bikini waxes might be able to take it, but not me.
  • It is slower than shaving. But, you don't have to do it every day, you end up with soft, fine hairs coming in rather than prickly stubble, and over time you will need to do it less and less often.
  • There is the potential for ingrown hairs. This is something I am prone to even with shaving, and I am finding I do get more with this method of hair removal. However, to be fair, I can't be bothered to exfoliate.
  • It is awkward around knees & ankles. The size of the head makes it tricky to get into small, concave areas.
  • Stubble left from shaving lasts a while. As I mentioned, I've still got stubble 5 weeks in. You really need to be able to stand living with that until it is long enough for the epilator to pull out. Thankfully for me, it's winter and I don't really care that much.
  • That long cord is annoying to wind up and store. It's a pain to fold it all up and bind it so that it will fit neatly into the pouch. Maybe not everyone's as bothered as I am if the cord just goes in all tangled, but that drives me nuts, so I'm folding it every time.
Other comments:
  • It would be nice if it were cordless, or at least had a retractable cord for storage.
  • Learn from my experience - all those little hairs go somewhere, and if you use it over the floor that's where you'll find them. Use it in a dry shower stall or a dry bathtub, so you can rinse away hairs after (it is NOT meant for wet use).
Overall, I like it much more than I expected to. It means less everyday maintenance, just one 20 minute session every week or two. This is a product that I will definitely keep using (and I am happy to stop buying expensive razor cartridges too!). I think once I get past the remaining stubble on my legs, they will feel a lot smoother than before, even when I have fine hairs starting to come in. They already are smoother than they would be after a shave, because the stubble is reduced greatly. I also think that if I were a little more proactive about exfoliating, the ingrown hairs would not be a problem. Maybe once I'm not pregnant and can reach my legs again that will happen :)

Visit to learn more about the new SatinPerfect HP6570 and the rest of the hair removal line.

I was sent several coupons for $10 off your purchase of this product (for Canadian stores only). If you want one, let me know in a comment or email me your mailing address and I'll send one over. They expire on January 31st, so make it snappy :)

I tried this product for free but was not paid for my review.

The Bump at 36 1/2 weeks

I haven't shared a bump photo in ages, so here it is. I'm 36 weeks plus 3 days (or 5 days, depending who you ask!). Pretty close to full term. My husband is convinced she can come any time now. Me, I'm getting a little more apprehensive about the birth.

This morning I was trying to visualize what I would feel like if the contractions started today - and I got pretty excited about the prospect of finally meeting our baby girl.

I am afraid of the pain, afraid of having to get a c-section, and afraid of losing the baby still, but I'm also confident that I can get through it, whatever happens.

She could come any time between now and February 16th... what a window! I think the suspense is the worst part!

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Prenatal classes and cloth diapers

We attended prenatal classes this weekend. The educator was Lamaze-based, but the course went way beyond the "breathing" which is what most people think of when they think of Lamaze. That was about 5 minutes out of the two-day course.

During the diapering part of the class, there were a few cloth diapers available for people to try on the baby dolls, but 7 out of the 8 couples went straight for the disposables.

We were that eighth couple.

The instructor gave very little information about the cloth diapers, and I ended up actually giving a demo to some of the couples, and then sharing information about cloth diapering to the whole group for a few minutes. Me, a first time almost-mom who has NO hands on experience with it (though I have done two year's worth of research and feel that I have learned a lot. I can talk knowledgeably about the different types, different materials & absorbencies, various brands, how to do laundry and stain removal.).

Two of the men seemed interested and actually came over to see me demonstrate the different types that were there (they had some fitteds and covers, and AI2's). NONE of the women were remotely interested and several said they didn't consider cloth diapering for a second.

We could see on their faces that they had no interest in the cloth. My husband and I mentioned the environmental benefits, the financial savings, the possibility of using a diaper service if the extra laundry was a turn-off, the reduction in diaper rashes and earlier potty training. That you never need to do a midnight run to the store for diapers - because you've always got them handy.

We talked about how you are supposed to empty poo out of disposables into the toilet, too, so there's really no difference in a diaper change, only instead of the CD's going in the garbage, they go in the wash (everyone seemed shocked that you are supposed to do that with disposables. RTFM, folks). We talked about the chemicals in disposables, and the fact that even though they go in the "Green Bin" (municipal compost bins), the diapers end up separated from the compost stream and head to landfills. We talked about baby knowing when she's wet and letting you know, so you actually change the diaper when it needs to be changed and don't have baby sitting in a chemical soak of urine-saturated gel. Which means you can keep better track of baby's wetting and ensure she's meeting the goals for adequate feeding - and leads to that earlier potty training.

I really found it disappointing that they seemed so closed-minded about the idea. I guess I should have expected it, but the community of bloggers and tweeters that I read and relate to are so pro-cloth diapers - so I guess I've surrounded myself with like-minded people - and it came as a shock that the instant reaction to CD's in this group was "NO" even before they knew anything about them.

Anyway... I don't mean to rant about it, it just made me realize how prevalent the convenience factor is, and how resistant people are to "new" ideas - not that cloth diapering is a new idea, it's just been pushed so hard and fast out of the media in the last, say, 4 decades, by the money that goes into marketing disposables. Even though there are so many pros for cloth and so many cons for disposables. Ugh.

Otherwise, the classes were good - I think we already knew much of the information, though. My husband did a lot of care of his younger siblings in his youth, and I did a heck of a lot of babysitting, and spent one summer as a nanny in my youth/young adulthood. I think I've read about 14 pregnancy/labour/birth/baby care books in the last 8 months. (One of these days I'd like to do a comparison review of the books I read, and talk about which ones were the most helpful and informative, and which were not so great. I've linked to a couple of my favourites in the Amazon widget at the left.)

So, if anyone in the York or Durham Region is looking for prenatal classes, I can recommend one to you (just leave me a comment, I'll email you with the deets). It covered from labour through to aftercare. The instructor was good and even took the time to email me some info outside of class based on a conversation we'd had. It's a good overview of what to expect, if you haven't read a zillion books already :)