Retailer Impressions

Rocky's lost Santa gift

Now that the holiday shopping season is winding down, were there any standout retailers, good or bad, in your experience? I shopped plenty of different venues, everywhere from Amazon.com to my local Target. Here were some of my impressions.

First let’s get the bad stuff over with. Just a minor offense by our local Golfsmith store but they allegedly ran out of gift boxes in the first week of December, no doubt due to the swarms of golfers who hit the store so soon before Christmas. Really? You couldn’t estimate better than that? Old Navy lost points in my book because they were charging for their boxes. Even at Christmas time? Here’s the worst of it. Disneystore.com lost my child’s Santa gift before it even got to UPS. It was a Mickey Mouse bean bag chair I know he would like (were any of you lucky enough to get this one?), I ordered it a month before Christmas (just to be safe) and they still botched it up. Worse, they stayed in denial throughout all of my communications with them until it finally came down to the wire and then they had no choice but to fess up. By then the item was out of stock and too bad for me. Grrrrr. But wait, the customer service department, who annoyingly told me they wanted me to have a “magical experience” every time I corresponded with them could only muster enough magic to present me with a $10 voucher on Dec. 21 to be used towards shipping of another item. Do I really want to put myself through this again? I think not, the voucher didn’t even cover the cost of the 2 day shipping I would need. Upon further presenting my case, one sole rep decided I should get more for my trouble. My ears perked at the sound of this, I’ve been sick this week and didn’t particularly want to go out in the rain looking for that last minute item, I was hoping for a Disney pass or at least a decent gift card. I got a $12 plush Mickey to arrive on Christmas Eve. I’m not holding my breath on that one. I also found a couple of other friends who have had bad experiences with the online Disney store so scratch this vendor off my list.

Now the good. The JC Penney store, which, like many stores now, had to do away with their gift wrap department (so sad to see this service go) came through on the boxes, I even got extras just for the asking, no hassles. They put out some great coupons like $10 off anything (yes, you could actually get a $10 item for free) and had decent markdowns and lines that were tolerable. Macy’s had some super sales and huge discounts, boxes included as well. Nordstrom tends to be pricier and the sales less impressive but the customer service is usually right on and everything is so nicely folded in tissue and placed in great sturdy bags. Online stores Sears.com and BarnesandNoble.com came through with my orders in a timely manner, everything packaged nicely and bonus points/special offers were received. Sears has a club that’s free to join and Barnes and Noble has a free kid’s club that allowed us some extra discounts. Free shipping was a plus as well as the ability to return gifts at their local stores.

That’s a wrap for me. Happy Holidays!

Advertisements

A Visit to a Build-A-Bear Workshop

Our New Jedi Bear

I never really entertained the idea of visiting a Build-A-Bear Workshop because I figured it was all just a pricey gimmick. And it kind of is. But on this occasion Rocky, hubby and I were walking by one of the stores and saw a sign announcing the new Star Wars line. It also happened to be my birthday and Rocky decided it would be a great gift for him/me.

It took me a few minutes to figure out what was what but basically you pick an unstuffed body and go from there. The official Star Wars bear body (meaning it says Star Wars on the foot) cost $22 without any accessories. We weren’t concerned about the logo so we picked a plain brown bear for $12. Rocky got to help stuff the bear using a cool machine and inserted a little heart. I selected a little music box to place inside the hand that played the Star Wars theme, realizing too late that this cost extra ($6). Our Jedi bear was sewn and then we picked his outfit (another $15), registered him and received an official birth certificate. I decided to forego the little boots (still debating whether to go back and get them) so the total cost was about $36.

In hindsight I’m thinking I should’ve just bought the outfit to fit on one of our existing stuffed animals. But it was fun to go through the whole process just this once. If you are thinking of trying it, go for the less expensive bear bodies and spend on the outfits instead. Aside from the Star Wars stuff, the holiday wear is really cute and the sports bears (pick your favorite team) make a fun gift even for an adult. I also thought the military bears were a great idea for anyone with a relative in the armed forces. For a small fee you can create a sound box with a 10 second recording of your voice to put inside the bear. Very comforting if you have to be away from a loved one for any period of time.

If you don’t have a store nearby, you can peruse and order any of their products online at buildabear.com.

***The Gen X Moms are no longer writing as a group (too many scheduling conflicts) but you can continue reading about my adventures with Rocky on my new blog at:

http://www.jedismama.com

Rainbow Hair Kids Styling

Its been a wile since we’ve reviewed some place.  So if you’re not in the OC area, I apologize, but hopefully you have one of these by you.  I take both my kids to Rainbow Hair kids haircutting in Fullerton.  This place is wonderful.  Not only is it totally kid friendly with a playhouse and toys in the waiting room, but each of the “styling” chairs entice the child to sit on it.  The chairs are shaped like cars.  Each station also has a little TV monitor playing your kids favorite shows, our usually has an episode of Yo Gabba Gabba playing.  When the child sits down for their haircut they get a little bucket of toys to occupy them and distract them while the stylist cuts their hair.  If you have a little girl, you are really lucky because they do the cutest little flowers in their hair.  At $18 a haircut its not on the cheap side, but its worth every penny!  We love Maria, but all of the stylists are fantastic!

Rainbow Kids Hair Styling
127 West Orangethorpe Avenue
Fullerton, CA 92832-2901

(714) 441-1016

Make sure to let them know the Gen X Moms Blog sent you if you decide to check them out!

We’ve moved!

Gen X Moms is movin’ on up to the East Side! We now have our own shiny domain and some fun stuff on the horizon. Please join us at www.GenXMomsBlog.com. See ya there!

Grand Opening of the Sprouts Photography Studio

Gen X Moms has moved to www.GenXMomsBlog.com. Don’t forget to update your bookmark!

And now its time for a shameless promotion from the Photo Addict…

Sprouts Photography, an Orange County photography studio specializing in babies, children and families, is officially opening “The Garden” a full service photography studio for moms and families.

Grand Opening party will showcase our products, the shooting space and our mommy & me area.

Grand Opening of "The Garden"

Grand opening activities include:

  • Free mini shoots all day long
  • Light appetizers
  • Free 4×6 photos from party photos
  • Each family attending receives a $100 gift certificate
  • Fabulous giveaways
    • LUSH Gift basket
    • Anaheim White House gift certificate
    • Belly Sprout gift certificate
    • Custom TuTu from My Baby Bug (our official supplier of all things frou frou.)
    • Cookie Lee
    • Arbonne
    • Hair styling
    • Facials
    • and much more!
  • MOMS!  Get a mini makeup touch-up next door at Belly Sprout before your photo shoot.
  • DATE: June 5, 2010

    TIME: Open House style, 11 am to 3 pm.

    LOCATION: The Garden

    RSVP on Facebook.  Don’t miss this fun and exciting event!

    Green Valley Lake, CA

    Gen X Moms has moved to www.GenXMomsBlog.com. Don’t forget to update your bookmark!

    One of the things I love most about Southern California is being near both the beach and the mountains. You can actually go surfing in the morning, hop in your car, and hit the ski slopes all before tea. There are many little mountain communities, and I’d like to tell you about one of them: Green Valley Lake.

    Train Guy and Mouse love hiking year-round

    At 7,000 feet, Green Valley Lake is the highest community in the San Bernadino Mountains. Never heard of it? Neither had I until I met Train Guy and learned that his grandparents own a cabin there. Green Valley Lake is roughly in between Big Bear and Lake Arrowhead and is tucked away into a small, private, not-crowded area. There’s a nine-acre manmade lake for fishing, boating and swimming, a small general store, a couple of little shops and real estate agencies, and the Malt Shoppe restaurant.

    Green Valley Lake is what you think of when you think of “mountain getaway.” The area is clear and peaceful, residents are friendly, and there’s no traffic or commercialism to spoil your stay. It’s within easy driving distance of the more touristy Lake Arrowhead and Big Bear, but if you’re looking for a nice place to relax and forget about the city, Green Valley Lake is the perfect destination.

    Because it’s so high on the mountain, if there’s snow to be had, there’s snow in Green Valley Lake. I absolutely love snow now that I don’t have to live in it. There’s nothing more fun on a cold winter day than sledding and having a snowball fight and then curling up with some fresh hot cocoa in front of the roaring fireplace. I love to check the Green Valley Lake webcams before we come up to see what the snow level looks like. You can cross-country ski right there in GVL, but if downhill skiing or snowboarding is your thing, it’s also super-close to Snow Valley and the other mountain ski resorts.

    Sledding on the BIG hill

    We’re so lucky to have a cabin available for us, but GVL is the perfect place to rent a cabin with family or friends and just have a weekend away. It’s a particular treat for the Southern California kids who don’t normally get to play in the snow. At less than 2 hours away from LA and Orange County, it’s difficult to believe that such a nice little community exists right under our very noses.

    Tonight we ate dinner at the Malt Shoppe (yep, we’re up here right now!) and what a cute little place that is. More than just malts and burgers, the Malt Shoppe features full meal menus. For dinner, I had a delicious filet mignon with veggies, fries, and shrimp bisque (which Mouse loved). It was a very pleasant surprise to have this nice place to eat right here at the top of the mountain.

    Green Valley Lake is the perfect place to get away from it all, relax, and unwind.

    The Scrivener

    It’s Fun to Play at the YMCA

    Need a break from the kids? Check out your local YMCA. Mine has been a godsend for me. The prices are reasonable and they have this wonderful place called the Kid Zone where you can drop your kids off for up to 2 hours while you exercise. I can do Pilates in peace and my boy has a great time visiting with the other children and playing both indoors and out. He has become so familiar with the staff that he is like Norm walking into the Cheers bar. Everybody knows his name. I’m just glad he is having fun so I can be comfortable leaving him there while I take classes.

    Swimming at the YMCA

    Swimming at the YMCA

    My YMCA primarily serves families and senior citizens. This is great because I feel in my element with fellow moms and dads. For a small fee (some are even free with membership) Rocky can participate in plenty of kid classes geared towards his age group. He’s tried basketball, soccer and t-ball. They even have a class that introduces kids to all three. We have also dropped in on Mommy and Me dance classes which are pretty funny. The teacher of this class says Rocky is the only child to make it all the way through the class without quitting. Usually it ends with only the moms dancing but this kid can hold his own.

    Rocky currently takes swim classes in the wonderful heated pool on the premises. He’s not sure if he likes it yet but the instructor is very patient with him as he gives long-winded explanations about why he doesn’t want to float or put his head under the water.

    As for me, I am free to take any of the classes on the roster and can swim whenever they have open swim hours. I don’t swim but it’s nice to know that I have the option. They offer everything from yoga to zumba (a Latin dance class) to spinning and I am not tied to any particular schedule. I just go whenever it’s convenient for me. I don’t fret about missing any classes. I just take an alternate class at another time or on a different day. On the rare occasion I’m feeling ambitious (or feeling guilty after eating too many pieces of cake) I can stay for two classes. Or I can simply use the equipment in the gym which is another plus.

    Just for visiting you can get a free one or two week pass to try it out. My YMCA also has a friend referral program that I have used to get a free month’s membership. Going through tough financial times? Your family may qualify for financial assistance. They also offer YMCA memberships to eligible military families and personnel who may not have access to a nearby military facility.

    The YMCA’s mission is “to put Christian principles into practice through programs that build healthy spirit, mind and body for all”. It is a non-profit organization that contributes to the communities it serves which is awesome.  I can feel good about using the gym because I’m also supporting a larger cause.  Works for me!

    The Librarian

    ***The Gen X Moms are no longer writing as a group (too many scheduling conflicts) but you can continue reading about my adventures with Rocky on my new blog at:

    http://www.jedismama.com

    Works-For-Me Wednesday

    Myspace Comments

    Thanks to everyone who participated in our Buddha Bunz wipe solution giveway. This week’s winner is…

    One Southern Gal!

    Send us an email to claim your prize!