Saturday, April 17, 2010

I Need to Get Out More, Part II

Of the 16 different vendors at the Chicago Moms Blog event last night, there were two I was quite excited about -- in my most geeky way,of course.

First was the Energizer recharge. This should be required for every baby shower. The premise is so simple. This little device comes with four AA batteries, but it doesn't just recharge your batteries. It tells you how much energy is still left in your batteries. Why did this intrigue me so? Well, in our house we have a lot of toys with AA batteries. About half the time we find a bunch of batteries on the floor instead of in the toys. There's no way to tell which of the batteries are new and which are about to die out. Now we don't have to wonder if the batteries are any good any more. We can just check the rechargeable batteries in this device. I really like the idea, can you tell?
I have to say, though, that I did feel badly for the two young men representing Energizer. They were nice, polite and knowledgeable. They also seemed a bit overrun by the dozens of moms in the room. They would be in the middle of explaining their product when one mom recognized another friend, and then well...let's just say we had short attention spans. The nice, young men had to start all over again. They were very, very patient.

The other idea I really liked was from IGo Green. They had a product with a litium ion battery, so you didn't need an electrical outlet to charge your mobile phone/laptop/etc. Great idea, huh? It took me a minute to understand why this was such a good idea. Since I have a two year old phone (ancient in the tech world), I didn't realize how often iPhones, Palms, and Blackberries need to be charged. Some day I'll have a cool phone and I'll need this.

The product I liked the most was their Power Smart Tower. This device helps reduce stand-by power loss. There are outlets that shut down when not in use (like your flat screen TV), while others stay on (like your DVR). Think about how much power/money you could save if you had smart outlets like this? I was just thinking about how much phantom power we use. We have a tv in the living room that rarely gets turned on, yet every time I open the cabinet, I see the red "off" circle glowing. It bugs me, but I cannot move the entire cabinet to unplug the tv. The Power Smart Tower would solve this problem.

Perhaps the best part of the display was the "Suck Less" buttons IGo Green was distributing. It's part of a campaign to reduce phantom power use. I really wanted a button, but didn't think it was such a good idea since the girls would probably end up with it. Somehow I really don't think the school would appreciate that button, even though all the moms loved it.

I Need to Get Out More

One of the cool things about blogging is you get to meet some really interesting people. Today I visited with the other bloggers at a Chicago Moms Blog event. You know what I realized? I need to get out more. I don't mean the kind of get out of the house activities like grocery shopping or visiting the library. I'm pretty good at those. I mean the kind of getting out of the house just to see what's new in the world.

At the event tonight, I spoke to interesting women from the Avon Foundation. They have a new program called Army of Women. They are trying to bring together one million women to volunteer for breast cancer-related research projects. Some are easy; others are more complicated. I signed up to volunteer as soon as I came home. You know I will do anything I can to prevent the girls from facing down this disease. If my time can help future generations, let's do it.

There is a movie called Babies coming out on Mother's Day. It looks at the first year of life for babies in four very different parts of the world. There's a part of me that thinks the movie DVD would be a good gift for anyone with baby lust. You can enjoy watching the babies without having to change diapers.

I talked to the Peapod team, who had a very interesting registered dietician named Lara Field at their table. She and I chatted for a bit about the girls vegetarian eating habits. While they do eat a bit more meat here and there, I still wanted to check in with her about the best ways to get protein and iron into their diets. I like that Peapod offers more organic choices these days.

The eBay team now has a classified advertising site. For all the time I spend on the eBay site, I didn't know this. I looked at the site and it seems like eBay's version of Craig's List. We're talking about getting an L-shaped couch in the family room, so I need to sell our current couch. I think this will be a good test drive of the new site. After all, our friends and family are probably a bit tired of me trying to get stuff out of our house and into theirs. I'd say once or twice a month I'm trying to give away some stuff. In this case, we have an expensive dark blue, Lane micro-fiber, double-recliner sofa that needs to go. If I can sell it for a few dollars, I'd be a happy girl.

The team from 1-800 Baskets laughed when I told them that I order a lot of stuff from their site because they partner with uPromise. I think they thought I was kidding at first, but I was not. We use every opportunity to order from uPromise partners because every penny we can save towards the girls' college education counts. Plus, we've had good luck with their products. Why not stick with a good thing?

These were all interesting conversations and I learned a lot from each person. The most interesting thing I learned will come tomorrow. I know, you cannot wait...